Aiglon of the match
Boudaoui the tireless
Whether it was through his ability to continually put a shift in or his skill at winning the ball in good positions and playing even better passes, Hicham Boudaoui did very well in his side’s return to Ligue 1 action on Thursday night. With 41% of the votes, the Algerian midfielder is your Aiglon of the Match from the 0-0 draw with Lens.
AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE
Having been named as the player with the most endurance in the dressing room during the OGC Nice Awards, Boudaoui once again proved this to be true against Lens on Thursday. Le Gym’s no. 28, who was placed next to Khephren Thuram in the middle of Lucien Favre’s 3-4-3, ran all across the pitch, covering a total of 12.8 km – 800 metres more than any other player.
🏃 12,8km parcourus par Hicham Boudaoui, hier soir, lors de #OGCNRCL ... Plus que n'importe quel autre joueur sur le terrain 🥵— OGC Nice (@ogcnice) December 30, 2022
🔴⚫️ Les Aiglons avaient prévenu dans les Awards, "il ne se fatigue pas..." ➡️ https://t.co/OJJuPUoaiR 😁 pic.twitter.com/NkMwKZMDqf
With 81 high-intensity runs and an average speed of 8.06 km/h (respectively the highest and second-highest totals of the game), the Nice midfielder put in a top-drawer performance through his on-pitch presence, as his heat map shows:
THE MAN WHO CAN DO IT ALL
Against Les Sang et Or, Boudaoui used his endurance to perform at his best in several aspects of the play. Whilst he failed to find the net – “he lacks one thing: finishing, the shot, the last dribble,” remarked Lucien Favre in his post-match press conference – the man who has scored eight goals and provided nine assists in his 87 appearances for Les Rouge et Noir managed to dribble his way into the final third on five occasions.
A vital component when it comes to keeping the ball, Boudaoui also showed how good he is at winning the ball back. On top of his two interceptions, he brought the fans to their feet when he ran nearly 40 metres to put a stop to a Lens counter-attack with a crunching tackle in the 55th minute.
“He can play in several positions. He can play on the right, on the left, in a 4-4-2, in a 4-2-3-1... He can also play as a midfielder in a 4-3-3. He adapts and plays. His advantage is that he’s very intelligent. He understands things very quickly. He's good, and he was there in all of the friendly matches that we played. He's present, he helps the team to defend a lot, and he's very intelligent.”
Lucien Favre, on Hicham Boudaoui in his press conference
PEPE AND LOTOMBA IN THE TOP THREE
In second, with 35% of the votes, is Nicolas Pepe, who had a very good game against Lens. The Ivorian was omnipresent, racking up seven dribbles, two shots on target and six touches in the opposition box. Le Gym’s striker also proved useful through his incessant runs, winning ten of his 19 duels.
Behind these two on 6%, Jordan Lotomba showed his ability to defend and to attack as a right winger.