Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been talked about ever since being given a starting role at Crystal Palace by Roy Hodgson. The 21 year old has been simply unbelievable and the numbers back that up. Considering AWB started was a winger all the way through junior football and only moved to fullback recently, his speed and dribbling ability in attack come as no surprise, however, it’s his pure defense which makes AWB so special.
In a time where tackling is slowly dying out of the game AWB is someone who tackles for fun, very successfully. Here are some defensive stats from last season:
158 tackles (68%)
303 Duals won - 152 lost
74 successful 50/50s
5 shot blocks
52 aerial battles won - 40 lost
His defence is so good that Wilfried Zaha was screaming in anger during a Crystal Palace training session because he couldn’t pass him. Zaha even said “I was kind of shocked at how good he was. I don’t understand how you can go from being a winger to being a right-back. He’s so good at defending.”
In terms of AWBs offense, he has great ball control and is fairly quick. He engaged in 7.27 offensive duals a game. For comparison, Walker and Alexander-Arnold failed to engage in 5 per game. He made an average of 2.12 crosses per game with a 33% crossing accuracy. Let’s compare once again, with the premier league’s “best” crosser Alexander-Arnold who had the exact same crossing %.
In regard to passing - he made 1,368 passes this season with a 77% success rate. His passing % is very good when you consider Crystal Palace’s reliance on long diagonal balls from their fullbacks. The only fullback with better passing statistics this season was Manchester City’s Kyle Walker who is utilised in Pep’s tiki-taka city machine.
In conclusion, these statistics show that Wan-Bissaka is a different breed of fullback compared to modern fullbacks. He doesn’t neglect defensive play in order to attack. He focuses and thrives defensively and then the offensive aspects of his game follow suit.