Enzo Fernandez has recently become a hot topic after his consistent performances in the Primeira Liga and the Champions League for Benfica. Primeira Liga has become the home for up-and-coming talents, and the Argentine is the newest addition to the family.
Benfica currently sits at the top of the table in the league and is tied on points with PSG in their Champions League table. (They haven’t lost a Champions League match this season, having played PSG twice.)
In this article, we will be using data to evaluate Enzo’s performance in all departments and his impact on the Benfica side so far.
- Defensive Ability
- Conclusion and Final Word
One of his best qualities and probably his most famous one as well. Enzo is incredible at passing the ball at a very young age. The 21-year-old averages 88.12 successful passes per 90, while he attempts 98.28 passes per 90. A passing accuracy of 89.6-percent is impressive to say the least.
His passing ability isn’t restricted to just side or back passes. He is an excellent progressive passer.
The Argentine has completed 80 successful progressive passes so far this season at a rate of 6.83 per 90. The pass map above shows all his progressive passes in Liga Bwin and the Champions League.
One key observation that can be made from the above map is that he is able to penetrate the penalty box with his passes.
In the league, he ranks in the 97th percentile for progressive passes and 84th percentile for passes into the penalty box.
Another excellent quality that he possesses is his ability to pass the ball from deeper locations into the final third.
The youngster is averaging 11.53 passes into the final third per 90 in all competitions this season. It is pretty impressive because no one in the top five leagues in Europe, with a similar amount of minutes played (more than six 90s played), has been able to replicate that number.
Other important statistics: (league only)
- 0.4 expected assists per 90.
- 0.3 expected threat per 90.
- 1.9 chances created per 90.
While he has assisted only 1 goal this season, his underlying numbers are impressive. His passing has all ingredients required to make an elite passer. He can make long passes to the players in wider areas, get the ball into the penalty area and create chances for other players.
Ball-carrying isn’t the best of Enzo’s abilities, but he is still quite good at it. He ranks in the 73rd percentile for progressive carries, 84th for carries into the final third, and 51st for carries into the penalty area. He is averaging 3.4 progressive carries per 90 in the league this season.
We get a complete and progressive midfielder combining his passing ability with his carrying ability.
Ball recovery is an essential aspect of the game, and Enzo excels in this field as well.
The Argentine averages 7.26 recoveries per 90 across all competitions. As seen on the recovery map, he recovers the ball from nearly every part of the pitch. From the defensive third to the final third, he is everywhere.
Thiago is one of the best at ball recoveries, and during the 2021–22 season, he averaged 12.7 recoveries per 90 (League and UCL).
While the 21-year-old is incredible, or we can say prodigious, in the above categories, he isn’t that good at defending. This certainly doesn’t mean that he is terrible.
On average, he wins 1.37 tackles per 90, but he also loses 1.45 per 90. The young Argentine is in no way afraid of losing challenges. His tackle map clearly shows that he is eager to go for the ball in every part of the pitch.
One concerning thing is that he has lost 7/17 of his tackles in his own third. We will have to wait and see if it is a trend that continues or not.
He isn’t an actively aerial player. So far, he has only contested in 14 aerial duels, winning six and losing eight.
On the other hand, he is pretty secure in possession and is also good at intercepting the ball.
One of the qualities that I personally admire in a player is their ability to intercept the ball in the opponent’s half. This is one thing that Enzo has shown signs of, but it may be too early to conclude.
He gets dispossessed only 1.19 times per 90, but once again, the cause of concern is that he loses the ball in areas that are somewhat dangerous.
Conclusion and Final Word
The 21-year-old has rightfully garnered interest from the top clubs all over the world. He has everything that a club like Liverpool needs right now. Under the right coach and in the right team, Enzo is bound to reach the highest of highs.
- Ability to get the ball into dangerous locations
- Aerial Ability
- Losing the ball in dangerous locations
Data from Opta, Liga Bwin App and Statsbomb via FBref.