Yves Bissouma, a midfielder for Tottenham, has had a difficult season and is still displaying inconsistent play while representing Mali in the African Cup of Nations.
In North London, Bissouma’s campaign under Ange Postecoglou has been full of highs and lows.
Following a lackluster first season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in which the 27-year-old started just 10 Premier League games, Bissouma has emerged as one of Postecoglou’s most important players.
He’s exhibited the kind of playmaking ability that made him so special while he was at Brighton. For instance, Bissouma performed admirably in Spurs’ 4-1 victory over Newcastle United on December 10th, winning 10 of his 14 ground duels, completing his one dribbling attempt, and racking up eight tackles (Sofascore).
He has, however, occasionally caused his boss headaches. This season, he has missed five games due to suspension after picking up two red cards in England’s top flight and one match due to collecting five yellow cards.
However, despite his unsatisfactory disciplinary record, his performance this season shows that he is an essential member of Postecoglou’s midfield.
In the Premier League this season, Bissouma is among the top three percent of positional peers according to fbref. He also ranks in the top eight percent for pass completion percentage (91.0 percent per 90), the top nine percent for successful take-ons (1.79 per 90), and the top three percent for tackles made (3.73 per 90).
Bissouma’s number highlights how well he fits into Postecoglou’s style, which emphasizes possession dominance, attacking the ball, active defense, and winning back control.
This is why his management, who saw Mali’s 2-0 victory over South Africa in their opening African Cup of Nations encounter, would have been overjoyed to see him return to his best (16 January). Bissouma played for fifty-eight minutes in that game before Lassana Coulibaly took his place.
While on the field, he won seven of his nine ground duels, made six tackles, two interceptions, and completed 93% of his passes, one of which was crucial. He also played one accurate long ball forward.
That kind of play is precisely what epitomizes the midfielder’s skill set.
Still, Bissouma had a forgettable day after a solid performance, as has been the case so often this season.
Bissouma was benched for Mali’s second tournament game, a 1-1 draw with Tunisia on Saturday, January 20, and found it difficult to have an impact when he came on as a substitute for Diadie Samassekou in the 84th minute.
In his 16 minutes on the field, he completed 88% of his passes, lost one aerial battle, threw the ball away once, and failed to find the target with either of his attacks.
While this isn’t necessarily a reason for great concern, it is another indication that Bissouma is finding it difficult to put together a run of solid performances. Postecoglou will be hoping the midfield player can move past this specific problem when he returns to England.
In other Tottenham news, Daniel Levy will reportedly spend millions on a player that the team was unable to sign at a low cost.