When Brais Mendez decided to sign for Real Sociedad after spending five long seasons with Celta Vigo, he wouldn’t have predicted that his first season with La Real will go perfectly according to plan. After 14 matches, and 1221 minutes, Brais Mendez is their top scorer this season with six goals in La Liga, two in the Europa League, and one in the Copa Del Rey. The 25-year-old has managed to maintain his form from his time at Celta Vigo and has quickly become one of Sociedad’s most important players. Calm and composed under pressure, and elegant on the eye, the left-footer plays very attractive football and is a central piece of the Real Sociedad midfield. We take a look at his stats to understand how Brais Mendez has already become a vital cog in the Sociedad midfield.
Brais Mendez has played in all 14 matches this season, starting 13 of them. He has six goals and two assists under his belt and is an assuring presence in the midfield. Moreover, his goals in the Europa League and the Copa Del Rey have also been crucial for La Real.
The above graph shows the percentile rank of Brais Mendez compared to other right-central midfielders. He has great attacking stats and is ranked in the top 95.4 percentile for shots per game. He is also ranked in the top 81.8 percentile for entry into the opposition penalty box. Mendez has decent passing stats and is ranked in the top 68.1 percentile for passing accuracy and passes per game. He also excels in defensive duels and positioning, ranking in the top 72.7 and 70.45 percentiles, respectively.
With an accuracy of 86.8%, passing is one of Mendez’s strengths. The above visual shows his pass map from the current La Liga season. We can observe that he makes a lot of small passes on the right side. He makes around 41.28 passes per game and makes around 5.16 passes into the final third with a success rate of 80%. He also has two assists and makes around 2.95 passes into the penalty area with 60% accuracy.
Another way in which Mendez helps his team is through his high regains. Playing as a right-central midfielder, Mendez helped Sociedad regain possession high up in the attacking half. Brais Mendez has made 29 counter-pressing recoveries and nine dangerous recoveries this season. He has made around 6.71 recoveries per game, with 48.4% of them in the attacking half. These recoveries have helped Real Sociedad switch from defence to attack.
The above visual shows the xG map of Brais Mendez from the current La Liga season. He has scored six goals in the league and is their top scorer. Mendez has attempted 28 shots, out of which 12 were from inside the penalty box and 12 were on target. The 25-year-old also attempted an average of 2.06 shots per game with 42.9% accuracy.
Brais Mendez has already surpassed his goal tally from last season. He had four goals to his name in the last season from 52 shots. Out of the 52 shots, 16 were on target. His shots per game have improved from 1.45 shots per game to 2.06 shots per game. With the improvement in the number of shots, Mendez has also improved his shot accuracy, which has risen from 30.9% last season to 42.9% this season.
Did Brais Mendez deserve a World Cup spot?
The above visual compares the radars of Brais Mendez and Carlos Soler. The latter was called up to the World Cup squad but the former was left out. We take a look at their radars to get an understanding of whether Brais Mendez would have been able to contribute something different to the Spanish team. Mendez has better passing and defensive stats while Soler does better in the attack. Soler has better stats in goal contributions, shots, dribbles, and entry into the opposition penalty area. Brais Mendez, on the other hand, has better stats in passing, duels, and positioning. If he was selected, Mendez would have provided a much-needed balance between attack and defence in the midfield.
Brais Mendez’s move to Real Sociedad has worked in favour of both the player and the team as he has quickly become an important player for them. His efficiency in the final third and defensive awareness has helped Sociedad incredibly well. He was named in the La Liga team of the season in 2019 when he used to play for Celta Vigo. Mendez has managed to take his form from Celta Vigo to Real Sociedad and has been impressive.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine