This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
You’d think that the numbers would be a little closer, but that’s not really the case.
Having started off the season on the bench, Yuri Ribeiro has found himself in and out of the side in recent weeks, battling it out with Jack Robinson to nail down that starting left-back spot.
It’s something that seems to be developing among the rest of the Nottingham Forest side, as Sabri Lamouchi hasn’t named an unchanged eleven in the league since the opening two games of the season against West Bromwich Albion and Leeds United.
In light of Garry Birtles’ comments that the team against Luton Town needs to be unchanged, it’s worth looking at whether or not Ribeiro is actually the best choice going forward for the club. And whilst Lamouchi might pick him for this weekend’s game against Derby County, when the squad returns from the international break, who should be the team’s starting left-back?
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If you take a look at the raw data (all stats provided by WhoScored) you start to wonder how Ribeiro even made it this far into the season.
Let’s look at their defensive numbers first, where Ribeiro is currently averaging 0.8 tackles per game, compared to Robinson’s 2.5.
He’s also lagging behind him in terms of aerial duels won, 1.3 compared to 2. It’s not even like you can make the argument that he ‘brings more to the attacking game’, because Robinson has him beat there as well, with a pass completion rate of just 70.1% compared to 77.5%. and 31.2 passes completed per game as opposed to 34.4.
So either there is something that’s intangible that Lamouchi sees in Ribeiro that is forcing him to pick him on a semi-regular basis, or he just simply doesn’t trust Robinson to be the left-back of the future.
With that in mind, he could simply be easing the Portuguese defender in slowly rather than throwing him in at the deep end, but the numbers so far just don’t back that idea up.
So when Lamouchi is done with his chopping and changing to the starting line-up, hopefully, he realises who the better player is, because the numbers are staring at him right in the face.
Ribeiro is under threat.