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Allan Saint-Maximin tops king of the dribble stats despite cynical Liverpool tactics

2 days ago
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Allan Saint-Maximin was one of the big talking points at the weekend.

In the first half in particular at Anfield, the French winger’s willingness to run at Liverpool was by far Newcastle’s biggest (only?) threat.

As much as his flair, the Liverpool tactics to try and stop Allan Saint-Maximin were an equally as big talking point.

Cynical challenges to halt ASM in his tracks and bookings for Liverpool players, Newcastle fans questioning whether Fabinho should have walked, having made zero attempt to play the ball.

Considering that Liverpool were pretty successful in kicking the Newcastle winger out of the game, Allan Saint-Maximin doing little in the second half, interesting to see this stats table below from the weekend….

A table has been published by ‘The Other 14’ (who specialise on stats/tables etc on the 14 clubs who aren’t the ‘Big Six’) which shows the Premier League players who have been most successful when it comes to dribbling in the latest round of Premier League matches:

As you can see, Allan Saint-Maximin had at least twice as many successful dribbles this past week than all but Bissouma of Brighton, who had six to ASM’s eight.

The thing is, almost all of ASM’s dribbles must have been before the break as well, as he picked the ball up time after time and ran at the opposition (usually with zero support from teammates!).

On the subject of dribbling, this is what Allan Saint-Maximin had to say 11 months ago when talking to France Football – May 2020:

Lack of competition and lack of football (during lockdown):

“I have fun dribbling my children, making outdoor routes by setting myself challenges.

“I also make (dribbling) challenges with my dog​.

“He has his eyes riveted on the ball, the feints of the glance, that does not take with him. But that’s good, it allows me to keep in touch with the ball and for me, it’s essential. ”

His reputation as a gifted player rather than a hard worker?

“People think that I do nothing, that I live on my ‘natural’ qualities.

“I am not someone who likes to show what he does, who shows up every time he goes to the room, posting photos, videos. Perhaps because I am a believer too and in my faith it is not necessarily good to always display what we do, as a form of vanity.

“And then we have to agree on the concept of work.

Lionel Messi for example, OK, he certainly has extraordinary coordination qualities. But when you look at his ball handling, which is so special, I am convinced that it is because he had to walk around almost constantly with a ball.

“His touch, his frequency, his ankle flexibility were refined during all these moments.”

The freedom the dribbler must achieve:

“I would say that a dribbler must gain his freedom.

“Because if you too often fail (when on the ball), you compromise everyone.

“As a youngster, you don’t really need to gain this freedom because it is football without real constraints, so when you are good, you are given credit.

“In professional football, you must have a real performance and not put your team in danger for your game to be accepted.

“This is what I like for example with Kylian (Mbappé) : his game leaves you no choice. He’s so strong, so effective, you have to give him the ball.

“This is what you have to achieve, that it is so obvious that naturally you are given the ball. Let your freedom be imposed on others.”

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