This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sometimes it’s easier just to look at the numbers.
Writing in his ‘Team of the Week’ column for BBC Sport, Crooks gave the nod to Ricardo Pereira as the team’s right back, saying that:
“Eight wins in 10 league games and the best defensive record in the Premier League says it all. Exactly how much of that is down to Ricardo Pereira is difficult to quantify. What I can say is the Portugal international was outstanding against an Arsenal team who looked in total disarray.”
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Well luckily for Mr Crooks, it is possible to quantify just how much Pereira brings to the team, and exactly why he currently holds down the spot as the best right-back in the Premier League right now.
The first place to look is at his defensive record, where he currently ranks third overall in the Premier League when it comes to average tackles per game, coming up with 4.5 per game, behind only Aaron Wan-Bissaka and teammate Wilfred Ndidi who average 5.3 and 5.4 respectively.
Not only that but he averages 1.7 interceptions per game, but 0.4 blocks, 2.9 clearances and 1.3 aerial duels won per game, so he does a great job of keeping the ball as far away from the goal as possible.
One of the main reasons teams don’t score against Leicester is because they can’t get the ball off them, and Pereira certainly contributes to that.
With an average pass completion rate of 79.5%, and 58.9 passes per game (more than the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and teammate James Maddison) it’s hard to get the ball away from him once he gets going.
He could offer more in terms of the attacking third, as he’s yet to register an assist this season and only averages less than 1 key pass per game (the league’s best in 3.9), but overall it’s clear to see how he’s growing ever more vital at the King Power.