Petros Mantalos – assists analysis

At the moment I’m thoroughly enjoying looking at assists and key passes. Not because the success rate is interesting, but the reason why is that I want to look at the positioning of the players when they make such passes. I wanted to combine the above with the lesser covered leagues in Europe and that’s is why I turned my eye to Greece.

Greece is full of giants that have played a big part in Europe. Think of Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, Olympiakos and PAOK. In this analysis I will look at Petros Mantalos, who is a player of AEK Athens. The attacking midfielder had the most assists in the 2020/2021 season and in this analysis I will look closer to those assists, and to his key passing in the previous season.

Biography

  • Nationality: Greek
  • Age: 29
  • Date of birth: 31/08/1991
  • Current club: AEK Athens
  • Career: Skoda Xanthi (), Skoda Xanthi
  • Market value Transfermarkt: 4.000.000,-
  • Position: Attacking midfielder
  • Secondary position: Central midfielders, left wide midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

In this analysis I will look at his positioning, his comparison to his peers, the passing and the shooting – and finally look via video at his assists of the season. All this will give me a better idea of how to judge his season and where he stands among attacking midfielders in the Greek Super Liga.

Data

The data in this analysis comes from Wyscout and for the attacking midfielders in this league, I get 72 players. These players have played a variety of minutes, but I wanted to look at all the players that have played on that particular position and their endresult.

In the image above you can find a scatterplot to measure the ability on the ball: how much does the player progress? We can measure this by looking at the progressive passes per 90 and by looking at the progressive runs per 90 in this Super League season.

When we look at Mantalos, we can see that he does pretty well in both metrics – he is marked by the blue dot. He has 7,26 progressive passes per 90 and 2,28 progressive runs per 90 – both scoring above average and the AEK player is one of the better players in this metric.

In the image above you can find a scatterplot to measure the ability to pass in the final third: how many passes go to the attacking third and how dangerous are they? We can measure this by looking at the passes to final third per 90 and by looking at the passes to penalty area per 90 in this Super League season.

When we look at Mantalos, we can see that he does exceptionally well again in both metrics – he is marked by the blue dot. He has 7,75 passes to the final third per 90 and 4,17 passes to the penalty area per 90 – both scoring slightly above average and again we see that the AEK player is one of the players above average.

In the image above you can find a scatterplot to measure the ability to contribute to a goal: what is the probability of a pass or shot turning into a goal or assist? We can measure this by looking at the expected goals 90 and by looking at the expected assists per 90 in this League Two season.

When we look at Mantalos, we can see that he does average in the expected assists metric – he is marked by the blue dot. He has 0,17 expected assists per 90. His expected goals per 90 is below average with 0,17. This ranks him as average.

Key passing

In the image above you can see Petros Mantalos from AEK Athens, compared to attacking midfielders in the 2020-2021 Super League. This shows us the rank of his key passing data compared to his peers. He scores very high on the passes to penalty area, through passes, deep completions and assists. You can see that he is in the top 20-25% for almost every metric concerned with key passing and that’s why he is valued highly within the Greek league.

Assists
In the videos below I will briefly look at the assists given by Mantalos in the 2020/2021 season in the Super League.

Mantalos sets up this attack on the right flank with a pass to the central zone, while he progresses closer to goal. When he receives the ball in the penalty area he scans and looks where he can deliver the ball too. He could easily shoot himself, but he waits for an incoming runner who can tap the ball in. His position is very progressive.

In the video above you see Mantalos in the same game as in the first assist. In this fragment, he has an assist from 20 meters from goal and this cross goes to the far post, where a striker can tap the ball in after a good run. One of Mantalos’ strengths is that he can spot runners and movements early on.

This video shows his ability to think forward after a transition from defence to attack. He gets the ball in the middle third and spots the runners, after which he produces a through pass that is just with enough pace for the striker to control the ball and convert it to a goal.

In the video above, he progresses high on the pitch and gets the ball on the far post, close to the backline. What he does, is that he doesn’t shoot from that angle – but passes the ball to his opponent, which creates a 100% chance of scoring a goal via the tap-in.

In the video above you can see an example of Mantalos reacting after regaining possession via pressing. He gets himself in the right position, after which he spots the runners in the penalty area – he delivers the ball nicely and the striker can score.

Conclusion
Mantalos is a great player in the Greek Super League and especially his movement from the middle third to the attacking third is good, just before he executes a key pass or a through pass, which often results in a shot assist. He could definitely play in a league higher than the one he is playing in now, provided that he has enough defensive back-up in midfield. The risk of passing the way he does, means that turnovers are to be expected.

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