Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez is enjoying a real resurgence under manager Antonio Conte this season.
The Spanish international was on the periphery for large parts of the previous campaign and struggled for consistency as a result.
However, he’s been ever-present for Chelsea in 2016/17 and here’s why.
Excessive pace perfect for counter-attacking style
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is enjoying success with a counter-attacking philosophy that Pedro is currently thriving in. The Blues get the ball from front to back in speedy fashion and sting sides on the break with Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez’s pace. Pedro is selfless in his running, stretching the opposition wide to create space for others and isn’t single-minded and wasteful taking low percentage shots when a pass would be the better option.
He runs without the ball more than he dribbles with it, which keeps opposing defenders on their toes and finally looks at home at Stamford Bridge with this style. In Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation, Pedro can take up an advanced position when his side are defending to be an out ball to lead a counter charge. He’ll often lay the ball on to a nearby teammate and spin away to get in behind the opposing backline.
It’s worth noting Pedro averages less shots per game than defender David Luiz, wing-back Victor Moses and defensive midfielder N’Kolo Kante among many others, and has made more assists than the rest of the Chelsea squad despite averaging a paltry 16 passes per game. Pedro’s game is all about running and moving the ball quickly for his teammates to ensure he’s not cheaply relinquishing possession.
Hard-working Pedro defending from the front
What often goes unnoticed is how hard Pedro works to get the ball back for Chelsea. The Spanish forward is pacey and energetic which makes him very effective in pressing the opposition. When Chelsea are looking to apply pressure on the opposition, Pedro has been effective at turnovers, making more tackles than the likes of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and wing-back Victor Moses.
And while enthusiastic to get the ball back for Chelsea, Pedro isn’t giving away cheap free-kicks in the process, making just five fouls in 10 Premier League appearances this season. Pedro averages a tackle or interception every 18 minutes in the top-flight and has been effective in keeping Chelsea’s tight defensive record as he is in turning defence into attack by capitalising on opposition mistakes. Chelsea are 2/1 to win the Premier League title this campaign. How effective has Pedro been in their bright early season form?