A detailed analysis of the role of the Cameroonian international, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in Fulham’s Revival this season
We’ve have got to almost half way of the season, and there’s one statement which can sound absolutely surprising if you haven’t watched the Premier League frequently this season; Zambo Anguissa has been a standout player for Parker’s Fulham, who are enjoying a mid-season revival following a difficult start.
In short, Zambo Anguissa is a powerful operator; he is 10th in the league for dribbles completed and 8th in the league for attacking duels won. His primary strengths include ball carrying and intelligence in movement and possession. This article analyses Anguissa’s role in Fulham’s revival.
His distribution highlights his abilities to progress the ball from deep (often in transition) into the second phase and final third. He often looks right when progressing, seeking to find the perennially overlapping Bobby de Cordova Reid. He isn’t limited to certain passing angles though, unlike Manchester United’s Nemanja Matić for example.
Ground Covering When out of Posssession
The Cameroonian international covers a vast expanse of ground out of possession. Fulham have been fairly resolute in their zonal settled shape, which allows Anguissa to roam and pressure opposition players while whoever plays out of Mario Lemina or Tom Cairney acts as more of an anchor.
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Zambo Anguissa’s abilities to disrupt opposition in possession is exemplified by his impressive volume of interceptions like in the 1-1 draw against Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday. His industrious performance contributed to Fulham holding on to a point, despite being down to ten men for about 35 minutes after Joachim Andersen’s red card.
Ball Winning and Ball Carrying ability
He didn’t just relieve the pressure on Fulham’s defence with his ball-winning abilities, but his ball-carrying in transition frequently drove Fulham up the pitch. Anguissa eats up the ground so quickly on the ball, penetrating space so effortlessly as well.
Zambo Anguissa- An excellent game reader.
Zambo Anguissa can create opportunities for his team, but he also has the intelligence to read the game state and aid ball retention over attacking penetration if Fulham are holding on to points or need to retain possession to relieve opposition pressure.
Additionally, Zambo Anguissa’s accomplished performance can be found in the fact that he made the joint highest successful dribbles for Fulham in that draw; he was phenomenal in all phases of the game.
One particular example that stood out was in the 69th minute when Zambo Anguissa picked up the ball in transition. He carried the ball 40 yards up the pitch, before passing into space ahead of Ademola Lookman. This maintained the fluidity of a potential counterattack. He then feinted to sprint beyond Lookman, before dropping off.
This showed intelligence for two reasons: it left Lookman 1v1 without dragging another man into his periphery but also left Anguissa as a passing option for Lookman to use if Fulham were to switch to the underloaded side.
His powerful run prior to this had dragged three Newcastle players across to this side of the pitch, highlighting the gravity Anguissa has on a football pitch. He can disrupt even the most organised of sides with his ball carrying abilities.
And this disruption was even more evident against league leaders Liverpool. Fulham out-played Liverpool for large parts, showing press resistance in the form of Anguissa bursting out from the defensive shape in transition to drag Fulham up the pitch.
Just as aforementioned, this aided Fulham not just in possession, but also defensively as they sought not to surrender territory to a Liverpool side who manipulate space and dominate territory so well. Anguissa was joint second for accelerations in this game, which could help to show his explosivity in transitions.
Expected Goal Contribution
His ‘expected goals’ contribution was atypically high for a player that mainly operates in the second phase, but it only adds to the repertoire of skills Anguissa has presented in recent performances.
Conclusion on Zambo Anguissa
To conclude, Zambo Anguissa’s role is as a functional cog in a physically dominant, defensively astute zonal midfield. He has shown tendency to play aggressively out of possession, roaming to pressure and harass opposition players.
In transition, Anguissa drives Fulham out of pressure, and up the pitch. He often lays off to attackers (for example Lookman) in the final third than going for goal or making key passes. The tactical maturity he shows in his decision making and positioning now is extremely impressive too.
The next step for him is most certainly to join a mid-table/top-half team, who often sit in a good settled shape and look to create in transition. A move to Arsenal, Everton, Southampton or Leicester could be favourable (although Southampton don’t quite fit the mould in terms of a medium-deep block shape).
In any case of Fulham’s fate this season, Zambo Anguissa looks set to probably raise his stock significantly in 2021. Will be a massive positive for Cameroon who will be hosting the AFCON this same year. Time is ticking and Zambo Anguissa is getting ready to make himself have a reputation he deserves after his strong spell at Villarreal.