This week I decided to take a look at Lee Hodson's performance against Peterhead on August 9, 2016. After the game, whilst collecting my thoughts, I couldn't really find a place in my mind that had any sort of space reserved for Hodson's efforts during the match. As such I decided it would be best to track his involvement in the run of play, and see if he just had one of those extremely quiet games that players sometimes do.
Here is a quick graphic showing some of his key stats during the match (that I was able to collect from my Rangers TV viewpoint):
Minutes - 90
Touches - 42
Passes - 42 for 42
Turnovers - 0
Balls into the final third via pass or movement - 4 (2 driven, 2 passes)
Balls delivered into the box - 0
Key Passes - 0
Tackles/Challenges - 0 for 2
Interceptions - 0 for 1
Headers - 2 for 6 (The two he won, came directly off a lost header that went almost straight up in the air)
Shots - 0
I also made some graphics to help chart his involvement (see below):
His involvement in the first half was mixed in my view. He seemed timid to drive forward with the ball (which when the score is 0-0 or still within grasp is a key action), and when he got the ball, he went backwards or near laterally with his pass.
However, he also made some great runs down the flank (in effect some very long and stretched out one-two-three pass plays), but was unable to get a foothold and control the long through pass towards him (mostly due to a tight marking defender, although the one ball on the edge of the box that Forrester delivered to him, Hodson let the ball run under him and through to a defender).
Hodson only drove the ball forwards, or at all twice, and oddly enough both those times he was VERY much in an advanced central midfield position, which is something that is not the norm for our usual left-back.
With the score 2-0 in Rangers favour starting the second half, Hodson got MUCH more involved.
At this point, he seemed to be making the same type of runs of passes, but wasn't getting a through pass from his team-mates (one-two-ahh no three).
However his reluctance to drive forward, or move the ball forward via through passes was still very much his preferred tactic. He drove the ball eight times in the 2nd half, but still no penetration of Peterhead's box, nor any balls served into the box for his team-mates.
Ironically he had no headed challenges in the 2nd half (compared to his six headed challenges in the 1st half). Perhaps Peterhead decided a more ground level approach would be better - although it didn't seem to work either for them.
Hodson also had 27 touches in the 2nd half (15 in the 1st half). He seemed to be much more involved in the play, and that seemed to be a esult of the way Holt and McKay seemed to move and work once they came into the match in the 62nd minute.
I also flipped his 2nd half involvement (both vertically and horizontally) and combined it with the 1st half involvement, so you could get a "whole match feel" of his play. On the above image Rangers were playing towards the Peterhead goal to the left, and defending to the right.
It's interesting to see the pattern that developed, where his involvement was MOSTLY in between both final thirds. Even though he did seemingly wander/run/hang out in very offensive areas, he wasn't greatly involved in the play in those areas.
All in all he had an extremely effective, but quiet match in my opinion. He was 42 for 42 in passing, which is fantastic. We are so used to seeing Wallace combine with McKay and make those glorious overlapping runs, so at first glance you might think Hodson wasn't providing much to the team. But we also didn't need him to in the long run.
Add in the fact that he always seems to favour his right foot, and the LB side doesn't appear to be something he is adept and skilled at playing, I give him two thumbs up.
It's certainly nice to have some extra depth in the wing-back position this season. If Hodson performs like this in every game he plays, then we are extremely lucky (albeit he did not have a defensive challenge he HAD to make).
Mike Driggs is a member of the WWTC Podcast and you can view his excellent graphical analysis site via Twitter here.
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