Barcelona signed Franck Kessie in the summer to bolster their squad. But a move to the Catalan capital has not been very fruitful for the midfielder. Kessie, who was the backbone of the AC Milan midfield, has been reduced to a substitute who rarely gets a chance to play. Franck Kessie brings a different dynamic to the Barca team than anyone else does. The difference in style of play has been given as one of the reasons why the 25-year-old is warming the bench for the Blaugranas. We look at some stats to understand why the move to Barcelona has not worked out well for Franck Kessie.
Franck Kessie has only played only seven matches in La Liga this season and hasn’t scored or assisted yet. He had six goals last season and 13 the season before. But this season, Kessie has neither the stats nor enough match time to prove his mettle.
Franck Kessie usually plays as a central midfielder for Barcelona. But he has only gotten very few opportunities to prove his worth to Xavi. Kessie combines fairly well with other players and keeps the play going. He has a good passing range and finds the right pass almost invariably. He also occasionally enters the box to create a goal threat. The former AC Milan player has enjoyed an average of 2.89 touches in the penalty box this season but hasn’t managed to score a goal or assist one. Moreover, Kessie is not a player who plays the one-two and gets forward. Barcelona has players who are much more capable of doing that, and that has contributed to the lack of game time.
The two visuals with infinite contrast sum up how Kessie’s move to Barcelona has gone. The first visual shows the penetrating carries made by Franck Kessie last season, while the second visual shows the same from this year. This figure has dipped from 50 penetrating carries to a shocking one carry this season. While it is to be considered that he has only played very few minutes this season, this figure is shocking. His dribbles have also decreased from 1.71 dribbles per game with 51% success to 0.72 dribbles per game with a 50% success rate.
Lack of goals
Kessie has not managed to open his scoring sheet for Barcelona yet. He did combine with Aubameyang and score in the preseason. But he couldn’t even register a shot on target this season. The 25-year-old has tried five shots this season, with three coming from inside the penalty box. But none of them were on target.
Kessie scored six goals in Serie A last season, two of which came from penalty kicks. He tried 28 shots last season, with 15 of them coming from inside the penalty box. He also attempted a total of eight shots on target. Kessie averaged 1.3 shots per game last season, which has also come down to 0.71 shots per game this season.
Another frightening contrast in visuals is the high regains made by Franck Kessie. From making more than 100 high regains last season, his figures have dipped to zero recoveries this season. A rather embarrassing visual, which does not do justice to the player he is. Kessie has made an average of 3.6 interceptions per game across all competitions this season. As the visual, which shows the high regains suggests, Kessie has not recovered the ball in dangerous positions or through pressing, which might be another reason for his lack of playing time.
Why Gavi is preferred over Kessie
The above visual compares the radars of Franck Kessie and Gavi. The latter, 18-year-old and golden boy award winner is preferred over 25-year-old Franck Kessie and the above visual might just tell us why. While Franck Kessie is an amazing player, Gavi has better stats in dribbles, passes, duels, and positioning. Kessie has better stats in shots and defensive duels won. But Barcelona is a side that plays in a certain way and Gavi, having grown through those steps is automatically given the nod ahead of Gavi.
Franck Kessie is different from other Barcelona players. He is more physical, gets into the box, defends well and has good passing range as well. However, things have not quite worked out for him at the Catalan capital yet. But his unique profile will be important for Barca in more physical matches. Meanwhile, Kessie, who got a break during the World Cup will be hoping to improve and earn the trust of Xavi.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine