It’s easy to forget, such has been the meteoric nature of his rise to prominence, that Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has made just 18 professional appearances in his young career. His display yesterday at home to Arsenal proved once more that the 20-year-old is far more than a flash in the pan, leaving me to wonder just how good he could go on to become.
Having seen him awarded the Man of the Match award by WhoScored.com, I felt it only right to look a little deeper into his statistical performance on the day and quickly saw exactly why he was deemed to have fared better than anyone else on the pitch.
Whilst his primary job is and always will be defending, his grounding as an attacking threat when part of Palace’s academy has left Aaron with a natural desire to press forward, as shown by his five successful dribbles from the seven he attempted over the course of 90 minutes. Having linked up well with Andros Townsend throughout the current campaign, it’s clear that Wan-Bissaka is now developing better instincts as to when he should press on or sit back and it’s coming through in his weekly numbers. Danny Welbeck and Wilfried Zaha were next best on the field with two apiece, highlighting the impressive nature of his display.
Defensively, Wan-Bissaka was just as dominant, winning all six of the tackles he attempted during the game, tying Arsenal’s Matteo Guendouzi at the top of the rankings for most of any player on the field. Incredibly, he also led both sides in terms of interceptions with four, drawing attention to his mind-boggling comfort at Premier League level.
In his 18 games as a professional, the academy graduate has faced Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool (twice) and Arsenal, without looking overawed on any occasion, prompting many both inside and outside the Palace bubble to suggest that he’s a player destined for the very top of the game.
WhoScored currently have him as the eighth highest performing player of the 2018/19 Premier League season with a rating of 7.40; indeed Manchester City’s Benjamin Mendy is the only defender above him as things stand. Defensively, there has been no one who’s come close to Wan-Bissaka this term, if he can hone his final ball in the weeks and months to come, we’ll have a genuine world class talent on our hands.
The lad is special.