Benfica did some good business in the recently concluded transfer window. One of the new signings for the Liga Portugal powerhouse is Goncalo Guedes, whom they acquired on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers. As a result, the 26-year-old has now returned to the club where he started his football career. After seeing limited playing time and performances with Wolves, the Portuguese international will be keen to display his talents in Portugal. Guedes has the vast experience of playing for top European clubs, but he flourished the most during his time with Valencia. Since returning to Liga Portugal, he re-introduced himself in style in his first match for Benfica by scoring a goal against Santa Clara and has also provided one assist against Arouca. Below are some stats that show why Roger Schmidt’s side noticed the necessity of signing the skilled forward.
Goncalo Guedes is a versatile centre-forward who can play in any position across the front line. He made 13 appearances for Wolves in the current Premier League season, starting eight matches. He scored one goal and provided one assist for the team. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats from the Premier League 2022/23 compared to other centre-forwards. It can be observed that the 26-year-old ranks highly in the possession department and some of the defensive parameters. However, his overall numbers in the attacking department are not too good as he has played in a Wolves side that has struggled to get attacking returns.
Last season, Guedes played for Valencia in La Liga and had one of his best campaigns in terms of goal contributions. The Portuguese forward made 36 appearances for the Spanish side and scored eleven goals along with six assists. The above pizza chart shows that Guedes had much more impressive stats in the attack as well as in the possession department. The player had very low defensive contributions last season, but this season he has contributed more while defending.
Gameplay in possession
Besides leading the attack from the front, the versatile centre-forward makes major contributions to his team with build-up play when in possession. The viz above shows the progressive passes attempted by Goncalo Guedes in the last two seasons, and most of them have been attempted from wide positions on either flank. The player has averaged 20.82 passes per 90 minutes this season and has a 76.1% accuracy rate. These include 1.39 passes to the final third with a 58.3% accuracy rate and 1.62 passes to the opposition’s penalty box with 50% accuracy.
During the 2021/22 season, he averaged 24.65 (68.5% accuracy) passes per game along with 2.69 passes to the final third (67.1% accuracy) and 3.58 passes to the penalty area (48.7% accuracy).
A mobile forward, Goncalo Guedes possesses some key qualities of a good winger, which include dribbling and crossing ability. The above viz shows the winger actions performed by the player during the last two seasons. He attempts most of his dribbles in the final third and likes to breach the opponent’s penalty area. He also sends in a decent amount of crosses into the box from either flank. Currently, Guedes averages 3.12 dribbles per match with a 40% success rate and delivers 1.74 crosses with accuracy. Last season, he averaged as many as 6.11 dribbles (52.3% success) and 2.82 crosses per match (24.7% accuracy).
Another way in which Goncalo Guedes contributes to the team is by recovering the ball in the attacking half. On average, the 26-year-old makes nearly three recoveries per 90 minutes. He has made 44% of these recoveries in the attacking half, including eight inside or near the opposition penalty box.
Best performances in a season
The Portuguese international achieved his best goal-scoring figures during the 2021/22 La Liga season with Valencia. He reached the figure of 11 league goals from a total xG value of 6.12 (excluding penalties). As seen in the viz above, he scored most of the goals from close range and also attempted many shots from outside the box, with three of them finding the back of the net. He scored at the rate of 0.35 goals per game with an xG rate of 0.24 per 90. Additionally, he averaged 2.2 shots per match with 39.1% accuracy.
In addition to his respectable goal-scoring records that season, Guedes also provided six assists for his Valencia teammates, with a total xA tally of 4.25. The shot assists viz above show that these assist attempts came through crosses and progressive passes delivered into the box. The forward averaged 0.16 assists per match while averaging a similar xA value per 90. He also created seven big chances while averaging more than one shot assist per match.
Role at Benfica
The addition of Goncalo Guedes has added more reinforcement and quality to Benfica’s attacking line. Amid injury concerns for players like Rafa Silva and Goncalo Ramos, the 26-year-old was brought in as a timely inclusion to the squad. He can provide a capable backup option for Benfica attackers while also giving them competition for a starting role. The above viz is a comparison between Goncalo Guedes and Rafa Silva. While Silva currently outperforms his counterpart in the attacking stats, Guedes has the upper hand in some of the passing parameters as well as defensive contributions.
Overall, Goncalo Guedes is a versatile forward who poses a significant threat going forward and also contributes with his creative and accurate passing. The 26-year-old will have an important role to play in Benfica’s attacking department for the rest of the season, with the club trying to win their first league title in four years and ensure a Champions League berth.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine