Lamplight usually brings you the statistical player positives and negatives from Premier League games – but for the cups, it will concentrate on individual players. This time it’s Keinan Davis.
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If you have been following Lamplight, a new feature that we’ve picked up for this season – you’ll be aware that we usually concentrate on the statistical positives and negatives of a game to take a look at whether the game at value reflects what the statistical output of the players says.
For cup games, we’ve decided to take a look at individual players instead, and rather than compare the positives and negatives, we’ll be simply concentrating on the performance of the player.
For Aston Villa’s 6-1 win against Crewe Alexandra, we’ll be taking a deeper look at young forward Keinan Davis, who was given the nod over Brazilian forward Wesley.
Keinan registered the most amount of minutes (86) that he has managed in an Aston Villa shirt since a 0-0 draw against Millwall in December 2017, where the options for strikers were low with both Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan out injured.
It was thought that Keinan would likely find himself on loan this season, worried about the amount of game time that he would get behind the likes of Jonathan Kodjia and Wesley Moraes.
“In the transfer window, Dean Smith told me that he wanted me to stay, which gave me a massive boost of confidence – now I’m trying to repay him with performances” Davis said in a post-game interview.
“At the start of pre-season, I thought I was going out on loan, and that maybe I wouldn’t play as much. I wanted to get as many games as I could.
But he kept on re-assuring me, telling me ‘stay, and you’ll play’. I had to trust him. He reassured me and he’s given me an opportunity, now I have to prove myself to him.”
Keinan Davis did exactly what was required of him against Crewe Alexandra – often dropping deep and attracting defenders towards him, allowing his midfield peers to romp forward unnoticed.
His performance was stand-out in an array of stand-out performances, and he was rewarded with a goal once Jack Grealish arrived on the scene to turn provider for the forward. Keinan could have wracked up an assist too, if Anwar El Ghazi did not hit the post with his effort.
Speaking post-game about his goal, Keinan said:
“It was the best feeling. It meant a lot to me.
I have been training hard and looking for my opportunity. Gladly it came here and it was great to score.
It was the best chance I could ask for really. Jack passed it through and all I had to do was make a good connection and thankfully it went in.”
During the game, Keinan was a strong offensive outlet – and whilst he only managed two shots on goal – he was important in other areas. The forward generated three assists in providing shots on goal for his team-mates, showing that the forward is adept at his hold-up play and something that Dean Smith obviously favours with the style of forward he’s used since his time at Aston Villa.
For a player of Keinan’s size and strength, the striker managed to complete 75% of his dribbles successfully against Crewe. He’s showcased his nimble footwork on a number of occasions for Villa – namely against Norwich where fans got their first taste of what the forward could do – but Crewe allowed him to showcase his ability six times out of eight.
At first look, Keinan was poor in his offensive duels, only coming away the better of his opposition 36% of the time – but giving the stats context here is important. Davis was involved in 25 offensive duels and successful in nine of them, showing that he made himself a nuisance and incredibly hard to deal with. Just because he didn’t win all his duels, doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a negative. He was like a wasp buzzing around the Crewe Alexandra defence, but perhaps chose his moment to sting. And more so, just because those duels were lost, doesn’t mean that Aston Villa didn’t regain possession quickly afterwards.
It’s his passing that really stands out though. Whilst the forward made 34 passes throughout his 86 minutes on the pitch, 91% of these passes (31) found a team-mate in claret and blue. This is something we’d picked on before in regards to Wesley’s poor passing accuracy and limited passing opportunities against AFC Bournemouth. He also was successful in 50% of his passes into the box and through balls. If Keinan knew something wasn’t on, he’d pass the ball back to a defender or deep lying midfielder as not to lose possession, and did this successfully every time.
In around 2,245 minutes of football at the club so far, this is one of the best performances from Keinan Davis. The youngster is maturing under Dean Smith and relishing the pressure that has been placed on him to act as a rotation option in the Premier League.
From Biggleswade to the Big League. He’s hungry and he’s waiting for his opportunity to shine. It’s Keinan season, baby.