Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Aké is a fierce tackler, says From the Rookery End

While I have seen Nathan Aké play a few times, I thought it would be good to get a view from a Watford fan and Jason Bailey at the From the Rookery End has been kind enough to answer a few questions about one of AFCB's new signings.
Nathan Aké is late into the Watford huddle at Dean Court.
CC: How reliable was Nathan as a defender last season for Watford?

FTRE: The fact that Nathan was first choice left back for a large chunk of the season probably answers that question. We expected him to be backup to Jose Holebas when he joined on loan from Chelsea. However, some questionable performances from the Greek international gave Aké his chance. He took the opportunity well and quickly established himself as a favourite with fans and Flores alike. For me, he could read a winger and time the tackle well, like you'd want from any decent full back. But then he could mop up the pieces, put his foot on he ball and assess the situation with a calmness belying his youthful age.

CC: Does he get forward well and what is his crossing like?

FTRE: Yes! Again, with what seems like an old head on younger shoulders, he seemed to know when to make an attacking run, to be able to find the space and put in a decent cross. Maybe not his biggest strength, but competent enough.

CC: What do you think is his main strength - tackle, headers or is he more of a speed merchant that likes the ball on the floor?

FTRE: I guess I've answered this one already. It was his ability to time a tackle that impressed me the most. There was the odd rash challenge that got him into bother with the man in the middle, but he was rarely panicked into making them. 

CC: Was he playing as well at the end of last season as he did when he first came to Watford last August?

FTRE: Unfortunately not. His form dipped towards the end of the season. I don't think this had anything to do with a lack of ability. However his concentration seemed to wane and there were two particular moments that highlighted the problem for me that cost Watford. Alexis Sanchez beat Aké to a cross in the early stages of the Premier League fixture at the Emirates. Gomes made a great save. Aké stood there admiring his colleague whilst Sanchez followed up and stuck the ball in the back of the net, thus ruining any plans the Hornets had of keeping things tight early doors. We had just got back into the FA Cup Semi Final against Crystal Palace when an out of sorts Connor Wickham headed his side back in front. If you look at the goal again, Aké still had his feet on the ground whilst Wickham was heading the ball. It did feel towards the end of the season that teams had seen this weakness and were trying to work situations where they could isolate Aké against one of their strikers in a decent goal scoring position.

CC: Well many thanks to Jason and From the Rookery End to provide this feature. By the way From the Rookery End has a new website with their famous podcasts so do go and check out their site for the latest Watford news - AFCB play them on 1 October at Vicarage Road and then on 21 Jan at Dean Court.

I kind of think that it was Nathan's first season when he got to play lots of games in the Premier League and it was a bit like Watford's season as a whole that it tapered off in the second half. I still think he is a very good acquisition as many Chelsea fans had hoped that they would see him in their side in 2016/17 and maybe Eddie Howe has hit upon something that is more suited for Nathan if he really wants to be more of a central midfield player. He is certainly an exciting signing and a change of scenery could up his game once again. At least that is what AFCB fans should be encouraging Nathan to do. UTCIAD!

Meanwhile, check out Harry Arter's new Academy website.

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