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Soccer
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Plenty of Positives from Wells' Performance

IslandStats.com
There was plenty to be positive about in Bristol Cityís 3-1 win against Middlesbrough last night, not least the performance of Nahki Wells.

The Bermudian has an excellent goalscoring record in the Championship but hasnít really looked settled since signing from Burnley last January, with his form over the past few months of particular concern.

Last night he looked a different prospect completely, there was more energy, more quality in his final ball and attempts goal, and more conviction in everything he did Ė helping him finish a goal and an assist.

Nigel Pearson will be hoping that he sees more of this Wells during his tenure and playing him as a striker, rather than out wide as was often the case under Dean Holden, will surely help.

Ned Holmes from footballleagueworld.co.uk, examined the 30-year-old stats from the 2020/21 campaign to investigate what it says about his season so far and how he can improve.

On the surface, itís been a good year for Wells when you stack his numbers up against many of the other players in the City squad.

In fact, no player in the squad has more goal contributions than his 13 (eight goals and four assists), while only Famara Diedhiou has outscored him this term Ė though it is important to factor in that heís played more minutes than any of the Robinsí other offensive players.

He averages just 1.4 shots per game, which is disappointing generally but perhaps understandable when you take into account thatís the most in the squad bar Andreas Weimann and that City take fewer than any other side in the Championship.

An area that requires improvement, however, is his involvement in play in general. Too often, the forward goes missing in games and thatís illustrated by the stats.

Wells averages just 2.95 touches in the opposition penalty area per game (Wyscout) and the third-fewest passes per game among players with more than two starts.

He averages just 1.65 passes to the penalty area and just 1.76 passes to the final third per game, indicating his lack of involvement and link-up play with teammates in the final third.

We saw in last nightís game that when heís at his best, heís linking up with teammates, feeding them in and around the box, and popping up in dangerous positions more often Ė as his five touches in the Boro penalty area are evidence of.

City would love to see more of that in the last few months of the campaign.

Defensively, itís no huge surprise that Wells ranks among the worst in the squad for tackles, interceptions, clearances, and blocks (Whoscored).

Admittedly, thatís not what the 30-year-old was brought in to do but you wonder whether that level of effort will stand under Pearson.

At Watford, the likes of Troy Deeney were important defensively as part of the high-press and counter-pressing that were often part of the 57-year-oldís tactics.

Should Pearson look to utilize a similar system with the Robins, heíll want a striker that can do that and Wells will have to prove heís that man to remain a key player.
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