What can we expect from Jermaine Beckford?

Jermaine Beckford is likely to make his Leicester debut today, so what should City fans expect (apart from, say, 20 goals)?

It is odd to think that this will be Beckford’s first Championship appearance since Boxing Day 2006. He might never have scored at this level, but Beckford’s goalscoring record in League One was indisputable and, if his solo effort against Chelsea at the end of last season is anything to go by, he still has something very special in his locker. So to better understand how Beckford will fit into Sven’s setup, it is useful to look at how Everton employed him.

Taking a look at some of Beckford’s recent starts for the Toffees, the most striking thing is how often he was used as an outlet ball. In these three examples from matches against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn and Chelsea, rarely does Beckford receive a pass that has taken less than 20 yards to reach him. Sometimes he receives the ball from very deep, at other times the ball is from midfield in an attempt to turn defenders with a killer pass. It is worth noting too that unlike his former Everton counterpart Yakubu, Beckford receives the ball across the pitch giving his teamates options off the ball.

Beckford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Beckford vs Blackburn Rovers

Beckford vs Chelsea

The way Beckford uses the ball in possession is also pretty interesting. In this example below against Wolves just one pass (the kick-off) goes forward, everything else is backward or square.

Beckford vs Wolves

Here, a week later against Blackburn, only one of his forward passes is successful, but just one of his passes backward or square fails. Perhaps Sven will be encouraging Beckford to be conservative with the ball, especially with Leicester playing away from home.

Beckford vs Blackburn 2

But it is when Beckford has scoring opportunities that Leicester fans will be most keen to know how effective their new striker will be. The good news for Beckford is goalscoring opportunities will be more forthcoming in the Championship and he won’t need to resort to pot-shots from range like the ones we see below against Chelsea and Wolves. It would be difficult to bet against Beckford netting a good proportion of his opportunities at Leicester if, like Everton’s players, his teammates can carve his opportunities from within 12 yards.

Beckford vs QPRBeckford vs Wolves 3Beckford vs Chelsea 2

So we can expect pace, the opportunity for Leicester to counter-attack quickly, some off the ball runs begging for a through-ball from Andy King and, of course, goals. No pressure, eh?

The charts above were all created using the superb Stats Zone app by FourFourTwo and Opta. You can read more about the app here.

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2 Responses to What can we expect from Jermaine Beckford?

  1. Scott says:

    Everton fan here…

    I think Beckford is a top signing for you, he’ll get you goals. Disappointed to see us get rid of him to be honest – he scored 10 goals last year in what was his first season in the Premiership.

    He is a goal scorer but still very raw technically IMO. His build up play does let him down sometimes and as Moyes tends to prefer to play 1 up top, is probably the reason Moyes didn’t fancy him. Don’t be fooled into thinking we only sold him because of our finances – he was sold on Moyes’ say so.

    Even so, I think he’ll be a top player for you…good luck for the season ahead!

  2. Guest says:

    Another Everton fan here, and I agree with Scott.

    Beckford certainly knows where the goal is, his major weapon is pace. Needs a few chances to score but never stops. His problem was a lack of a footballing brain (he is one-dimensional and single minded) and poor passing and running off the ball (as seen above). The latter two are the main reasons why he is sold but in the Championship he should do really well. All the best!

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