Chelsea’s Levi Colwill has been playing in various positions this season. He started as a left back in most league games but played as a centerback in the EFL Cup against AFC Wimbledon and Brighton & Hove Albion. He’s been getting a lot of praise, especially for his passing skills, but let’s take a closer look at how good his passing really is.
So, what makes someone a good passer in soccer? Is it about making tough passes, or is it about consistently making decent passes? Should we judge a player by their ability to make really long passes, or how often they can do it accurately? The problem with just watching games is that we tend to remember the flashy moments more than the consistent ones. It takes a keen eye to notice how often a player’s passes don’t work out. Of course, we should also consider what the coach tells players to do, but even without knowing that, we can make educated guesses based on the team’s style of play. Last season, Colwill was an excellent passer. He ranked very high among centerbacks in the Premier League for making progressive passes and contributing to his team’s attacking threat. He was really good at keeping possession.
However, this season, when he played as a left back, his passing performance dropped significantly. This is something many fans didn’t pay enough attention to when evaluating his performance this season. In the EFL Cup, where he played as a centerback, his passing accuracy was only 90%, and his accuracy in making long passes was only 25%, which is not good for a centerback. He often tried to make the same type of pass: a low, hard pass down the center or left flank. The problem is that the center of the field is usually crowded, so opponents can easily intercept passes like that, which they did quite often.
In the league, Colwill’s progressive passing numbers went down both in terms of quantity and proportion compared to last season. Last season, his progressive passes made up 6.8% of all his completed passes, but this season, it dropped to 4.6%. In fact, his passing has been so poor that he ranks quite low among centerbacks in the Premier League. His ability to create scoring opportunities from open play has improved, but that might be because he’s playing as a fullback now. Still, his overall passing accuracy has dropped. He completed only 36% of his long passes in the league and just 40% of passes longer than 30 yards, compared to 71% last season.
So, while Colwill might still be considered a good passer, his passing hasn’t been great this season, and it’s okay to recognize that.
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