Charlton Athletic will be hoping to maintain their outstanding start to the season, as they prepare to take on Birmingham City at The Valley on Saturday afternoon following a short international break.
The Addicks have defied expectations in the Championship after winning promotion from League One last term, and currently occupy second spot in the league standings after managing four wins from their first six league games.
Lee Bowyer’s side are yet lose a game in the league, and will be full of confidence heading into the clash with Blues having been formidable in front of their home fans thus far this season.
Bowyer has shown that he isn’t afraid to change a winning team and rotate things around, and there will be plenty of players vying for a starting berth this weekend despite their magnificent run of form of late.
The Addicks have plenty of quality options in midfield in particular, with deadline day signing Beram Kayal still waiting to make his first appearance for the club, after being left out due to the form of Conor Gallagher, Jonny Williams and Josh Cullen.
The 31-year-old is an established Championship midfielder who knows what it takes to get out of the division, so the fact that he is yet to break into the team shows just how much competition Charlton have in the middle of the park.
Speaking to the South London Press, Bowyer has insisted that Kayal will get his chance to shine in the starting XI soon, and here, we take a look at his stats from when Brighton won promotion in 2017, to see how big of a player he could be during his loan spell at The Valley…
Kayal played an influential role in Brighton’s promotion to the Premier League in 2016/17, a season where they joined Newcastle United in reaching the top-flight.
The Israeli midfielder made just 20 Championship appearances for Chris Hughton’s side due to injury, playing a total of 1,481 minutes of football, but the impact he made when playing was still invaluable.
Throughout the season, Brighton deployed a 4-4-2 formation, which saw Kayal partner the likes of Steve Sidwell, Dale Stephens and Oliver Norwood in central midfield. Kayal’s role was to break up play and drive forward as a box-to-box midfielder, given the Seagulls balance in the centre of the pitch.
Hughton liked his team to play football on the deck, with Kayal accruing a pass success rate of 84%, with 73.7% of his forward passes finding the likes of Glenn Murray and fellow Charlton man Tomer Hemed up top. This would be beneficial in Bowyer’s side, as the Addicks tend to get the ball up to Chuks Aneke and Lyle Taylor at every opportunity.
Defensively, Kayal was also a very useful option indeed – the Israeli won a total of 406 duels throughout the campaign, whilst also making 72 interceptions and accuring a slide tackle success rate of 50%.
If Kayal was to get his opportunity to impress in Charlton’s starting XI, it would most likely come in defensive midfield in their preferred diamond formation, and these stats indicate that he would suit that role perfectly.
He has shown previously that he can pick out an array of passes, but can also do the dirty work going backwards, and that would give Charlton the right blend in midfield to compliment the creative players in Gallagher and Williams.