Is Jack Grealish World Class?
The statement ‘Jack Grealish is world class’ in previous seasons would most likely lead to a long debate with opposing fans about the likes of Mount, Maddison and Barkley. However, this season it is almost impossible for the vast majority of football fans to at least not consider this statement. Villa fans have known what Grealish is capable of for a while now, it just depends when you realised it. Whether it be his Wembley performance in the FA Cup Semi Final against Liverpool, his first Premier League goal against the historic League winning Leicester squad, his flashes of brilliance early on in
the Championship against Wigan, Fulham and Brighton or finally just his electric form and development into a leader in both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 Championship squads. Whenever it may have been, his form in the Premier League is making more than just Villa fans take notice, the entire world is now acknowledging Jack Grealish for the truly special player he is.
This statement isn’t just subjective, there are countless stats to support this claim. Grealish’s best attribute is undoubtedly his ability on the ball, his confidence to pick the ball up anywhere on the pitch and proceed to drift past players, draw fouls or create chances is a regular occurrence in every single game he plays. He has the 2nd most progressive carries (which are carries towards the opponent’s goal) in Europe’s Top 5 League’s with 196, only beaten by Lionel Messi with 238. He also has the most carries into the penalty area with 55, 2nd is Mbappe with 37. This is whilst only playing 15 games this season with the likes of Rashford who is 3rd playing 18. Another key measure is Shot Creating Actions, which is any action that directly leads to a shot such as a pass, dribble or drawing a foul. Grealish is 2nd across Europe’s top 5 League’s with 105, 2nd once again only to arguably the greatest player ever Lionel Messi (119). The graphic below shows Grealish’s SCA comparison with Premier League players in his position, as it clearly demonstrates he is in a class of his own in this form.
In the 2019/20 season it was often said that Grealish didn’t have any support from his teammates in terms of them being able to contribute. With the additions of quality players like Watkins and Barkley, as well as the increased form of players already at the club such as Luiz, Konsa and Targett, the Villa captain is now surrounded by players that can benefit and complement his playing style. This is demonstrated by his contributions this season.
Showing all 12 of his goal contributions this season (5 goals, 7 assists) and also not accounting for the two penalties he has won. With 8 goals and 6 assists in the 2019/20 season, he is on course to beat his tally from last year. The Aston Villa captain in his current form is undeniably world class, with a new contract signed until 2025 and him seemingly overjoyed to play for his boyhood club, fans can look forward to seeing much more from Grealish.
The main statistic you see recently regarding this squad often ends in ‘…since 2010’. This was the last Villa squad that was competitive in the top half of the Premier League finishing 6th in the 2009/10 season under Martin O’Neil. In the years following that, Villa struggled until their eventual relegation in the 2015/16 season. Watching Villa in these years seemed like a task, whereas currently it is once again becoming something a fan can look forward to, which in this current climate is a saving grace for many. Where previously coming off a two week break to face Manchester City would be filled with dread and a lack of enthusiasm, most fans are excited to watch this team play. Grealish is a large reason for this and long may it continue.
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