Results, game ideas, dubbed by Bielsa … « Pat ‘ » Vieira seduces for his debut at Crystal Palace

After a contrasting adventure in Nice, the former French international is enjoying a promising start with the London club.

A striking return. Living legend of Arsenal, Patrick Vieira made his comeback in London this summer after his successful stint between 1996 and 2005. More exactly in the south of the English capital at the neighbor of the Gunners, Crystal Palace. Despite a mixed experience on the bench at Nice, the adopted Londoner had a successful debut in the Premier League, a championship where he left lasting memories.

A positive balance sheet

Arrived with great fanfare at Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira needed a few weeks to infuse his style with the Eagles. For the opening of the championship, Wilfried Zaha’s teammates bowed heavily on the Chelsea lawn (3-0). In the process, Palace left the Carabao Cup prematurely against Watford (2-1). The trigger for Patrick Vieira and his men came on September 11. After four unsuccessful matches, Palace receives championship leader Tottenham. A London derby which will turn to the demonstration for the proteges of Patrick Vieira who win 3-0.

A capital success which will grant a lot of confidence within the team. Gradually, the Eagles will move up the standings and achieve a few strokes. Faced with the champions of the championship, Crystal Palace holds the dragee high, evidenced by its victories against Spurs, Manchester City (0-2), and its draws against Leicester (2-2) and Arsenal (2-2). Under the leadership of their new coach, the Eagles will string together seven games without a loss in the league, a record tied in the Premier League for the club, with the series of 2018. A successful introduction, which is also shared by its players at the like Wilfried Zaha. « It’s a bit surreal when a legendary player becomes your manager. There are so many things you can take from him. He has a lot of ideas, and if you buy into it, like everyone else has, you can see it makes a huge difference.« 

Eleventh, with only three defeats in thirteen days, Crystal Palace has made a good start to the season in terms of accounting. Results that have their origins in the game played under the orders of the French coach.

A popular playing philosophy, Bielsa under the spell

Already noticeable at his beginnings with Nice, Patrick Vieira advocates a clearly identifiable playing philosophy. The former midfielder of Juve, asks his team to start again short from the back, to deprive the ball to his opponents, and to have a football turned towards the offensive. A style of play that strongly reflects that of his predecessor, Roy Hodgson. Ideas in the service of the result, which were praised by Marcelo Bielsa, the coach of Leeds.

« He changed the style of the team. It is a team that carefully manages the ball and has clear and positive results. The job of a coach is to get his team to play the way they want. It’s admirable to see how well he was able to install his ideas at Crystal Palace.« 

A remarkable mastery in the game which is visible in the statistics. Despite honorable results, Crystal Palace underperformed, and should have garnered more points according to the statistical tool expected goals and expected goals against (measures the percentage of scoring a goal on a strike and conceding a goal on a strike) . In the Xpoints ranking (measuring the difference between expected goals and expected goals against), Crystal Palace is fifth. In this line, the Eagles are ranked third in expected goals against.

In short, they concede more goals than they should concede according to this statistical tool. Friable on set pieces, the Eagles conceded 10 of 19 goals in this area of ​​play.

Offensively, Crystal Palace is the seventh attack in the championship with 19 goals. Efficiency rediscovered in a sector in difficulty during the previous financial year.

Attacking football

Crystal Palace has a leading attacking arsenal. The style of play allows a plethora of players to find themselves in good scoring conditions. Wilfried Zaha has been the centerpiece of the Eagles’ attack since 2014. Regularly coveted by large English cars, the Ivorian is an essential part of Patrick Vieira’s system.

Happy in this system, the former Manchester United player praised his coach for having set up an offensive style of play. « He changed things quickly because everyone is ready to change and understand the new techniques we can do to improve our game. We’re not just that counter-attacking team anymore, we’re keeping possession. Now, when we advance, if we counter-attack, it’s not just with one or two players against four defenders.« 

Patrick Vieira has also given a lot of confidence to Christian Benteke, author of 4 goals since the start of the season. The Belgian international is used as a pivot and allows the Zaha or Ayew arrows to be launched on the wings, which bring down a considerable effort.

« In the air, he’s the best in the Premier League »

Patrick Vieira

In playmaker, Conor Gallagher, loaned by Chelsea, is the keystone of Vieira. Involved in 7 goals in 12 Premier League games, the English midfielder is the technical guarantee in the midfield. A wealth on the offensive plan, which is also illustrated by the success of Odsonne Edouard, author of three goals, but also the presence of extremely promising young wingers with Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze. An important offensive capital that Patrick Vieira seeks to highlight. Only four lengths from the top 6, the French coach can count on his offensive weapons to review the ambitions of a club, used to fighting for maintenance.

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