One of the standout performers of Liga Portugal 2022-23 to go under the radar is Pedro Malheiro, who currently plays for Boavista as a right-back. The young Portuguese signed his first professional contract with Boavista in 2020 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. He started to gain some regular game time with the first team last season, but the current campaign is proving to be his breakthrough season. Malheiro has made 24 appearances in all competitions this season and provided five assists. At the age of 22, he is proving himself an indispensable player for the Panthers and is also starting to be seen as one of the top full-backs in the Portuguese top flight. Below are some stats that capture Pedro Malheiro’s performances from the current season that have earned him prominence.
Pedro Malheiro has played in all 20 matches for Boavista in Liga Portugal 2022–23, accumulating 100% of the available minutes. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats in comparison to the other players featuring as right-backs in the current season of Liga Portugal. We can observe that Malheiro dominates in the possession department by ranking highly for pass attempts, accurate passes, and received passes. The player also enjoys a high rank under attacking indicators like shots and dribbles. Finally, a couple of other areas where he impresses are in contesting and winning defensive duels.
As a right-back, Pedro Malheiro’s primary role is in defence, but he also enjoys going forward and contributing to the team’s offensive output. From the viz above we can see that his average position along the defensive line is well within his own half. He moves up and down the pitch and engages in a lot of defensive actions on the right side. The 22-year-old makes 8.68 recoveries and 5.19 interceptions per match. He contests 9.1 defensive duels per match with a high success rate of 65.7%. Furthermore, Malheiro attempts 2.21 aerial duels per match with a decent success rate of 35.4%.
Pedro Malheiro has helped Boavista massively this season by providing key assists and creating openings for the attackers. Thus far, the Portuguese right-back has provided five assists in Liga Portugal 2022/23 but is yet to register the first goal of his career. Currently, his xA rate per match stands at 0.10, and he is averaging 0.5 shot assists per 90 minutes.
The 22-year-old also plays an important role in moving the ball around and connecting the plays. Malheiro attempts 41.85 passes per match with 78.3% accuracy. Additionally, he makes 4.96 passes to the final third and 2.48 passes into the opposition penalty box per match, which leads to key scoring chances for his Boavista teammates. He has created five big chances this season.
In the 2021/22 season, Pedro Malheiro made only 15 appearances in Liga Portugal, starting in nine matches. He was devoid of any goal contributions, which highlights the massive improvement in his creative gameplay this season. He was creating 0.33 shot assists last season and making 26.80 passes per match with 74.3% accuracy. The right-back is having his best season in terms of attacking returns but will be keen to open his scoring account for Boavista.
Pedro possesses the characteristics of a modern attacking full-back who can progress with the ball and breach the opposition’s defensive line with effect. He sprints up and down the right flank constantly and likes to attack spaces nearby and inside the penalty area, as seen in the above viz. The right-back has made 56 penetrating carries into the 18-yard box so far in Liga Portugal this season.
Playing as a fullback, Malheiro creates overlaps on his flank and also drifts into inside channels to deliver pin-point crosses. The viz above sheds light on his proficiency at putting crosses into dangerous areas inside the penalty box. The 22-year-old delivers 3.12 crosses per match with 23.5% accuracy. He also attempts 2.94 dribbles per match with nearly 60% accuracy. Last but not least, Malheiro averages 0.46 touches in the penalty area and makes 1.1 progressive runs per match.
Pedro Malheiro has emerged as one of the top performers in a Boavista shirt this season. He is steady in defence as a right-back but also displays a lot of attacking prowess with his ability to deliver key goal contributions. Boavista will be expecting the same consistency from the 22-year-old in their quest to secure a top-half finish in the current Liga Portugal campaign.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine