Connect in the back of the net

Let’s take a look at Riyad Mahrez as he has has now scored four goals for the season with only three games gone. So far, arguably, he is the player of the season and will be a contender for player of the month.

However, there is one great floor in his play and it could prove to be his undoing.


His possible undoing

That floor? His inability to pass. Sure, some of the greatest players were known for their dribbling abilities and their lack of passing, however, the great players actually contributed a lot more than just goals. Look at Messi’s & Ronaldo’s assist stats from last season.

I am not saying Mahrez is along those lines but he has one very noticeable characteristic: when he runs with the ball from the wing, he isn’t looking to cross the ball.


Doesn’t look to cross

When I say he isn’t looking to cross the ball, I mean it. He has one thought in his mind and it is to work a shot. Of course this can pay off and so far this season it has, but it means that he becomes predictable. Some players, such as Messi and Robben, still manage to beat their man despite their predictability, but again, Mahrez is not Messi.

Soon, his team mates are going to stop making the runs that allow him space, at that point, defenders will find it easier to stop him. Even if the runs are still there, defenders are going to cotton on to the fact that he is always looking for the shot and better defenders are going to stop him from getting his shot away.

Then he is going to start squandering decent opportunities to score for his team and will make the team restless, and the fans. He will then lose confidence, angering his team mates, the fans and himself. In turn, the manager will have to decide whether his occasional flares of brilliance are worth his starting position.


Needs to adapt his game

It could be that Mahrez continues to score consistently in which case, hello Barcelona. However, he needs to adapt his game and get his head up in the final third if he really wants to continue his good form.


Written by Jonny Troy

Follow Jonny on Twitter @Jonny_Troy

Check out his excellent football blog: The Players Only Club

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