Edinson Cavani - Player Watch
Inside Forward, False 9, Raumdeuter.… all attacking roles that have been invented or re-popularised in the modern age of Football. Sometimes though, you just a need a good old-fashioned striker up top to put the ball in the net. Edi Cavani is that man.
One of a dying breed, El Matador is a classic No.9 who gets in the box and is able to score goals in a variety of ways. Header, right foot, left foot … you name it, Cavani will score by all means necessary – the complete goalscorer. At the time of writing he has 15 goals this season and has also racked up 6 assists in all competitions, underlining his influence in the attacking third. Don’t let Cavani’s poaching instincts fool you, he is capable in defence and hustles for his team mates out of possession even at 34 years of age shown in key statistics in my infographic below.
We all know his finishing is top class but I want to focus more on Edi’s movement today. Cavani has the uncanny knack of knowing exactly when to burst into space in order to stay onside and combines that with running in on the defender’s blindside so that he arrives unmarked. He has almost turned it into an art form. Look at my clip below how he runs from out to in, behind the defender (on his blindside) in order to receive Bruno’s pass at the perfect moment. Then, the execution of the header is sublime.
When the possession is not near the opposition’s box, Cavani often steps behind the defensive line so he is offside and the defenders aren’t focused on him. Then he will quickly step onside when the ball is active in order to receive a pass giving the defenders as little time to react as possible. His game IQ is on another level and he brings out the best in his team-mates because they know he will make those perfect runs.
Despite his attacking heroics, one of my favourite things about Cavani has to be his mentality and determination which makes his nickname 'El Matador' self explanatory. Every time he steps out on that pitch he gives 100% for the badge and as a fan that is a big part of what endears you to a player. You don’t continue playing at the highest sporting level at this age without incredible work ethic and professionalism. Every team needs experienced players who the youngsters can look up to, admire and learn from. Cavani has definitely shown his worth in mentoring Rashford and Greenwood not only from a technical aspect on the pitch but in the example he sets in and around the club.
As Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rightly said “We want the experienced players to step up and he definitely has done.” What a revelation after coming in on a free transfer, winning the April Player of the Month for the club was much deserved and he has also broken the no.7 shirt curse. I know I and my fellow United fans out there are absolutely delighted El Matador is staying on for another season. Vamos!