Danny Cowley has enjoyed a positive start to the 2021/22 season, with his Portsmouth side sat on 10 points after five matches.
The former Huddersfield coach had the perfect opening three games of the campaign as his team won each time without conceding a goal. They then ended the month with a slight drop-off in form as they endured a draw and a defeat.
Pompey beat Fleetwood, Crewe Alexandra and Shrewsbury before drawing with Doncaster to make it four clean sheets out of four. However, the ended August with a 1-0 defeat to Wigan, which could give them the motivation to immediately get back to winning ways this month.
Despite their strong start, there are areas in which Cowley can analyse the team and look to improve upon, with John Marquis in particular struggling during August.
He started all five of Portsmouth’s games and averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.64, which was the second-lowest in the squad behind George Hirst, who is yet to start a league match for the club. This suggests that the 29-year-old was the worst-performing starter in the side, according to SofaScore’s metrics.
Taking a deeper dive into his statistics from August, it is easy to see why he has been rated so poorly. The towering centre-foward scored just once in 392 minutes of action across five games, whilst missing one big chance and taking six shots. He also only created one chance for his team-mates in five matches, failing to demonstrate creativity in the final third.
As per SofaScore, the 29-year-old lost possession of the ball 45 times in five matches – nine times per game. This was from 24.8 touches per match, which means that he gave the ball once every 2.75 touches. Cowley will surely be frustrated that his striker failed to provide a reliable outball for his teammates to hit, as he relinquished possession to the other team all too frequently.
The forward also lost a dismal 70% of his duels on the pitch. He won 41% of his ground duels and a mere 12% of his aerial battles, suggesting that he was well off the pace in terms of the physical battle against Portsmouth’s opponents in their first five games.
Along with his lack of cutting edge in front of goal, his failure to keep hold of possession and his lack of creativity highlights that he struggled throughout August and frankly had a disaster of a month. Hopefully September will bring more joy for the former Millwall man.