André-Frank Zambo Anguissa: Fulham’s Finest

By Brice Koval

You’ve most likely seen Anguissa all over your TL this week, and there’s a reason for that. After a disappointing 18/19 campaign in an uninspired Fulham side, Anguissa has really found his feet and set both La Liga and the Prem alight.

Fulham haven’t had such an impactful central midfielder since Mousa Dembélé graced the Craven Cottage pitch. Much like Dembélé did, Anguissa has lifted Fulham to another level this season. Despite low expectations, they have accumulated the 12th highest xG in the league (FBref).

Both Anguissa’s and Fulham’s relevant stats show how much of an impact he is making on the pitch. A constant presence with and without the ball at his feet, Anguissa ranks highly in categories that enable himself and those around him to flourish.

In last season’s La Liga campaign Anguissa was second only to Messi in number of successful dribbles completed (FBref). In a Fulham side that will get pressed heavily and look to counter, his directness and ability to wriggle out of tight spaces has been invaluable.

Anguissa often pulls the strings in the initial phases of his sides’ attacks, but also dominates as a ball winner out of possession. His athleticism allows him to cover great distances and recover quickly. He is positive after winning the ball and generally looks to go forward.

Anguissa currently ranks very highly in Europe when it comes to ball progression (both dribbling and passing). His marauding vertical runs allow him to break the press of opposing teams and find open teammates.

Most of Anguissa’s chances come from late runs into the box or into open channels during a counter. At Villareal, he had more attacking freedom, yet with Fulham deploying more or less a back five against Leicester, it looks like he’ll be doing more of the same.

Anguissa attracts attention from defenders as he carries the ball up the pitch. This allows him to slip in teammates making runs in behind. He’s both efficient and comfortable at picking out passes from anywhere, and was in the top 20 for completion % in La Liga last season.

Anguissa thrives when playing next to a holding player (i.e. Reed, Lemina, or Iborra) and is given the license to get forward like a true box-to-box midfielder. He’s known to be a leader in both the dressing room and on the pitch, and is able to dictate any game.

Anguissa excels in many categories but there are phases of his game that, with improvement, would take him to the next level. Despite impressing for a struggling Fulham, his rate of dispossession is high. We also hope to see Anguissa’s end-product improve as his G/A are low.

Anguissa is still relatively young, but has already shown his ability as a complete midfielder in two of Europe’s top leagues. He helped take Villareal from relegation strugglers to a 5th place finish and is helping Fulham avoid the bottom 3.

Linked with Real Madrid last season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is playing Champions League football in the not-so-distant future. With better players around him, the sky could well be the limit for this Cameroonian baller.

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