Three underrated players in La Liga

Three underrated players in La Liga

We all know that there are players who do not have the status they really deserve if we focus on their performance. At Driblab we are putting the emphasis on some underrated players, guys with very good numbers who go unnoticed. After passing through the leagues of Germany, France, Italy and England, it is the turn of La Liga in Spain. As with the other lists, this one features profiles from different parts of the standings.

The first of them is Yangel Herrera. Despite the injuries of Montoro, a key player in the team’s latest promotion, Granada have found a valuable stability in the duo formed by the Venezuelan and Maxime Gonalons. They combine very well, they know when to be passive and when to activate the pressure. They are also being very effective in individual disputes. In fact, Herrera is even having a higher success rate than his partner in those tasks. He’s one of the best midfielders in the league in defending one-on-one situations, with a 69.5% success rate in tackling actions, and he’s doing very well in the air, winning 2.14 duels per 90 minutes.

Herrera belongs to the Venezuelan class that reached the final in the 2017 U-20 World Cup. And in his second loan in Spain he has played at a level even higher than in the first one; being one of the biggest names of La Liga in terms of ball recoveries, with figures that are not far from those of men like Kondogbia or Casemiro. He is a player who does not stand out in the metrics of possession, but surely he would complete more passes in a team that elaborates a bit more his plays. What is clear is that he has adapted excellently to the plans of his coach, Diego Martinez.

Our next name has to do with the good work done by the sports management of Eibar in recent years. José Ángel ‘Cote’ arrived to the team in 2017 without a transfer fee and since then he has been one of the most regular full-backs in the Spanish tournament. He has been above average in almost every parameter we take into account in this position and has been very productive in the last third of the field. Whether in open play or on set pieces, the Asturian player has averaged 1.75 completed crosses per 90 minutes.

His only statistical weakness has been the passing, but in some ways his low percentages are a consequence of Mendilibar’s vertical style of football. We are talking about a player who is very difficult to dribble, with a 74% success rate in the tackle and very few fouls, and who suffers very few steals while in possession of the ball.

If we search at a higher place of the ranking, it is easy to look at Real Sociedad, which has performed well above expectations this season. Although he does not make as many headlines as Odegaard or Oyarzabal, Portu is one of the most effective players in the San Sebastian team when it comes to hurting in the final metres. This winger has not shot many times, but he has been very effective when he has done so. Counting his minutes in the League and the King’s Cup, he has scored 7 goals with attempts that only added up to 4.8 xG. He is also being very prolific in creating chances, with 0.26 expected assists per 90 minutes. Portu is one of the many players who develop in Spanish Second Division and end up competing at a very high level in La Liga. His years at Girona had already been quite good.

We are Driblab, a consultancy specialized in the statistical analysis of players and teams; our work is focused on advising and minimizing risk in professional football decision-making in areas related to talent detection and footballer evaluations. Our database has more than 130,000 players from more than 120 competitions, covering information from all over the world. Here you can learn more about how we work and what we offer.

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