This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
A fresh start.
That is what Nottingham Forest defender Yohan Benalouane will be hoping to get from boss Sabri Lamouchi when he eventually comes back from injury.
Speaking to Nottinghamshire Live, Lamouchi explained that although he has yet to play under him at the City Ground, he’s very aware of what the Tunisian can bring to the table.
He stated that he knows him from his time in Italy as well as during his stay at Leicester and that he “can be important” for the side. The manager also gave an update on his current injury, suggesting that the defender is nearly approaching full fitness.
So based on those words, it looks as if Benalouane is going to be given the chance to show what he can do under Lamouchi, as opposed to being allowed to leave like Alex Milosevic.
But just where does he stand in comparison to the rest of his Forest teammates and does he have a realistic chance of breaking into the first team?
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If you take a look at his statistics and compare them to his teammates (all from WhoScored), he certainly makes a case that he should be a regular starter.
He comes out on top in regards to tackles completed per game, with an average of 1.7 whilst his closest competitor is club captain Michael Dawson with 1.3.
He also beats them all out when it comes to interceptions, averaging 2.4 per game with Tobias Figueiredo coming the closest at 2.2.
So when it comes to players and the ball in and around the box, you can rely on Benalouane to stop either of them getting near the goal, at least in comparison to the rest of his teammates.
However, those are the only areas that he leads the team in, as the 6 foot 1 centre back falls flat in comparison to the rest of the team in other areas.
He ranks second last when it comes to aerial duels won with 1.8 per game and also ranks dead last when it comes to pass completion percentage with an average of 73.9%, which in the modern game when you want players passing out from the back is a bit of a worry.
So it’s clear to see that he does offer some benefit, but isn’t quite the complete package.
He’s unlikely to break up the tried and trusted partnership that has been developed since the start of the season between Joe Worrall and Dawson, but he could slot himself into that third centre-back slot on the bench as cover for either of them should an injury occur. However, as far as his chances of starting are concerned, they might be dead in the water.
With Figueiredo and Chema both fighting it out for that spot as well, he’s going to have to put in some effort in training to get ahead of them, especially because Lamouchi has seen what they can do in his system and what they can offer.