5 Reasons Giannelli Imbula can fire Stoke to a Europa League spot
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 19, 2016
After an 18 million pound move in the January transfer window, Giannelli Imbula became Stoke City’s record signing, and he hasn’t disappointed. But what is it about the big Frenchmen that is impressing everyone so much?
Giannelli is surprisingly useful in the final third – Despite playing a defensive role it’s clear that Imbula is technically gifted. His goal vs Bournemouth was a strike that would leave even Steven Gerrard in awe, showcasing perfect technique, accuracy and power as he stuck the ball low into the back of the net. Even against Chelsea the Frenchman highlighted his attacking ferocity through driving down the wing without any support, towards the heart of the Chelsea defence, before squeezing a cross in for Bojan which on another day would have ended up in the back of the net. Despite not going overboard, it’s clear this man has a great ability to run with the ball – may I even call it Yaya Toure-esque?
World class defensive positioning – The most obvious reason Imbula was purchased this season, as his position would suggest, is his brute strength and defensive contribution. In his favoured CDM position Imbula is intelligent with his positioning, rarely getting caught out of position and has a superb perception on the game as the opposition are attacking; this allows him to plug gaps left in the team and fight powerfully for the ball in the tackle. It’s well known that Glenn Whelan despite being a relentless worker, can sometimes be left behind in central midfield, however through having Imbula next to him in the pivot is crucial due to the sheer amount of ground Giannelli covers.
Transition play – as part of his intelligent style of play Giannelli has been heavily involved in the build-up play since his transfer to Stoke. He’s able to move between opposition midfield lines with ease and is not afraid to look for the return pass in the space further up the pitch. This allows The Potters passing game to benefit due to overloads in the final third, which aids the attacking flow of the team on the whole. It also causes all sorts of problems for the opposition defences dragging them all over the place, whilst opening up spaces for our more skilful attacking players. This will be crucial in upcoming tough games away at Anfield and at the Etihad if we are to produce results capable of qualification for Europe.
Powerful runs from deep – despite being a relatively lanky player, Imbula’s ability to take on his man and beat him is extremely impressive. His long legs don’t hinder his co-ordination in any way and due to a nonchalant style mixing body feints with quick movements of the ball he is able to beat players easily when moving up the pitch. His aggressive and powerful game is a brilliant alternative for when the slick passing game doesn’t work out and as the season draws to a close, Imbula’s power could be crucial come the end of May.
Subtle eye for a pass – Through gaining a substantial array of experience from his time in France, Giannelli possesses brilliant passing range as well as intelligence when picking out a pass. Additionally through gaining more time in his deep lying midfield position, the Frenchman can easily pick out our pacey wingers like Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco Arnautovic with the ball over the top; with these two players being essential cogs in the Stoke City machine this outlet is brilliant to change the speed of transition for the Potters build up play and can cause havoc for opposition defences.
Overall it is clear Imbula is a European level quality star, he definitely deserves to be playing in Europe, perhaps his signing has inspired the other players to make their dreams a reality and produce form capable of taking this club to the next level.