Al-Nani played with Hossam El-Badry 3 games, two as a starting point and one as a substitute, a friendly against Botswana, and the other match against Togo in the third round of the qualifiers.
During the two matches, Nani played as a defensive midfielder, not as a box-to-box as he is known to football fans.
But let us highlight the transformation of the role of Nene to become his main role this season with Arsenal in 24 games compared to 4 games as the number 8 only.
First, let’s follow what Al-Badri does with the midfielders, especially the Kenya match, since he is a competitor in the next round.
Against Kenya, Al-Badri decided to install Tariq Hamid as the main defensive axis without needing to advance the ball, but to protect the defense line, while Al-Sulayyah was moving more as a third player to position in the best centers to obtain the ball next to Afsha.
on the defensive
The shape of the Egyptian national team was closer to 4-4-2, Afsha puts pressure on the ball carrier, and the two Al Sulayyah and Tariq closed the spaces.
Tariq Hamed is most of the time in the midfield and one third of the national team
In the stage of building the attacks, Tariq used to move between the lines to get the ball in a better position behind the Kenya first line, while Al Sulayyah and Fasha are positioned in better positions to receive the ball, either directly or through Tariq Hamed himself.
That was an overview of how the midfield is facing Kenya, but what about the role of Al-Neni with Al-Badri and this season in general?
El Neni and Tariq Hamid were present against Botswana in a friendly way. And the duality of Al-Nini and Al-Sulayyah were present against Togo.
These are the duos in the midfield in 6 games with Hossam El-Badry:
- Tariq – Nene (Botswana)
- Al-Sulayyah – Tariq (Liberia) Al-Sulayyah
- Tariq (Kenya) Al-Sulayyah
- Tariq (Comoros) Nina
- Sulayyah (Togo)
- Hamdi – Tariq (Togo)
As we explained previously, this applies to any pivot in Hossam Al-Badri’s plan, his main goal is always to maintain the positioning and balance of the defense line, so you will find the defensive axis always referring to his colleagues with instructions on the field, Tariq Hamed did that and Nini did it.
Al-Nini against Togo was retreating and stationed away from the attacks, but he was more interested in obtaining the dispersed ball or securing the back line, regardless of what happens in the attacks. We explained beforehand.
Al-Nani’s position with the pressure of the Egyptian national team forward allows him, firstly to delay the attacks, secondly, to become the first defender in the case of rebounds, and third to obtain the dispersed ball.
Here, we find Al-Nani away from the axis of events, indicating to his fellow defender, who went out to advance in the attack to return and maintain the line, in order to attack the team in the usual Badri manner and at the same speed while securing the back line.
In the event that the Egyptian national team is attacked, it is not directed to pressure or censorship, but rather to close spaces and options in front of the ball carrier or the potential ball holder, most of the time he watches the latter, this attack resulted in a cross that was easily caught by Mohamed El-Shenawy.
Something that happens in Arsenal as well that contributes to cutting the ball sometimes:
Here, Al-Nani is late in attacks and does not participate in the movements of the ball, adhering to his position and role.
But when does the neni attack?
The same thing happens with Tariq Hamed, the Nene attacks in the event that Amr Al-Soliya and the playmaker are forced to go back to move the ball, and then the Nene goes directly between the lines to the front line either to add a pass option or move the ball himself, given that he was fluent in this role in the past, and thus Passing won’t be a problem for him.
This happened against Togo in the 23rd minute, and resulted in a distinguished exchange of the ball and a shot from the Nene, but it passed away from the goal.
But basically his main role is the same throughout the match, ensuring defense and maintaining balance, especially during attacks.
The stage of building play
Like Tariq Hamed, it is always either Hijazi or the defensive pivot that is the first or second element in building attacks, in stages of the match the nene moves in space to be a third defender in order to build attacks, while Al-Sulayyah either moves the opponent’s players and then creates a space to move the ball to Limbs, forward, or even advances to break through the lines without creating any problems.
Al-Nani plays the same role with the Arteta battalion, so that he sometimes participates in the attack in cases similar to the one previously mentioned, in 24 as a defensive axis with Arsenal, the team won 13 games, drew 4 and lost 7 confrontations.
Same role at Arsenal
Al-Nini and Tariq give a good choice for the coach if he wants to start the attack from the back line, as he is positioned as a third defender, and then the team’s form on the field will become 3-1-5-1, 3-2-3-2 or 3-2-4-1 as he tried Al-Badri applied the idea during construction against Togo.
The Egyptian international midfielder has played 33 games this season with his London team, at the defensive level, he has an average ball interception of 0.4 per match and 0.8 defensive tackle, dispersing the ball 0.7 times in a match and does 0.6 successful dribbling.
The percentage of his successful passes with Arsenal this season was 91.9%, regardless of their places, whether forward or backward. And has 0.3 key passes that could lead to a goal per game.
Given his purely defensive role now, he does not need to participate in the attack much, his main role is maintaining the balance of defense, closing spaces and delaying attacks and of course providing passing options for the closest players beside him who are defenders and sometimes midfielders or on the sides.
The Nene no longer plays as it was in the past, for example against Niger when he was playing as the number 8 and scored a goal in the Egyptian national team’s hex in the qualifiers for the 2019 Nations Cup, or against Uganda in the third round of the 2019 Nations Cup.
With Hossam El-Badry, every time he participated, he played as No. 6.
Perhaps this is thanks to the player’s experience in Besiktas as a defensive pivot and his dealings with Abdullah Avici.
So if the uprising in the midfield of the Egyptian national team revolves around, can Nani be No. 8 in the stadium? He has the capabilities that qualify him to occupy that position, but during the current season and with Badri, he is the number 6, especially since the coach of the Egypt national team may prefer to play in a defensive duo, as happened in the last match against Togo when Tariq Hamed joined Hamdi Fathy (with the latter being given a different role than Tariq and his grandfather)
In Arsenal most of the time, the nene was played in a method that includes a double pivot or two defensive midfielders, usually used to protect the defense line when the coach tries to secure a team in the rear to limit rebounds and keep the ball by increasing the number in the first stage of play, there are many goals for this idea, But the most important thing is that the neni is now number 6, not 8.