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Albion Analytics: Steven Alzate

The Colombia international has started Albion's last two Premier League matches.

By Liam Tharme • 15 March 2022

By James Boardman
Steven Alzate has made nine Premier League appearances so far this campaign.

Steven Alzate took his senior Albion appearance tally to 50 in all competitions when he started against Liverpool on Saturday.

He joins Neal Maupay and Robert Sanchez as Brighton debutants under Graham Potter to have reached the 50-match milestone.

Alzateโ€™s 50 appearances have come across three seasons, evidence of the blending-in approach used by Potter and the coaching staff. His positional versatility is undoubtedly a real strength, and Understat have it that the 22-year-old has played at least three full games (Premier League) for Brighton as a central midfielder, full-back, wing-back and defensive midfielder.

Such versatility will have varied his involvement in defensive and attacking phases, but it is still worthwhile to compare Alzate to other top European midfielders. Across the last year, he ranks inside the top 25% for (per 90 minutes) dribble success rate (85.7%), nutmegs (0.16), pass completion rate (90.6%), interceptions (2.58), ball recoveries (11.59), progressive carries (5.31) and final third pressures (4.03).

It is undoubtedly Alzateโ€™s ability to retain the ball โ€“ when passing or in tight spaces โ€“ that makes him so valuable to Potterโ€™s high possession system. He is one of only six under-23 players (minimum 400 minutes played โ€“ alongside Declan Rice, Trevor Chalobah, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Oliver Skipp and Curtis Jones) to boast an 88%-plus pass accuracy this Premier League season.

Notably, though, the proportion of passes that Alzate plays under pressure has been decreasing each season (22.1% 2019/20, 17.4% 2020/21, 14.2% so far this season).

This is certainly valuable, as an ability to find more open spaces allows for better ball progression โ€“ although his sample size this season is on the smaller side (around 400 minutes), Alzate is averaging his best per-match numbers of any Premier League season in terms of touches (63.8), passes to the final third (3.78), dribble success rate (83.3%), fouls won (1.78) and pass reception rate (93.1%).

His 88.5% pass accuracy this season is among the top four Albion outfielders, and Alzate has averaged over 80% pass completion in each Premier League season. His ability to maintain this is particularly impressive, given the frequency at which his long pass share has increased each season (6.3% 2019/20, 12.1% 2020/21, 13.6% this season).

Out of possession, he also boasts bests for clearances (2.22), tackles + interceptions (5.11), ball recoveries (13.3), aerial duels won (1.56) and fewest fouls committed (1.33). Among Brighton players this season, only Yves Bissouma and Joel Veltman average more tackles and interceptions per game than Alzate.

SofaScore has his best Albion Premier League appearance as the 1-0 win at Anfield in February last year, where Alzate netted the winner. That performance was his best individual game in terms of progressive passing yards (208), long passes (7), touches in opposition box (3), clearances (7) and aerial duels won (3).

It was among Alzateโ€™s top three games for total touches (57), tackles + interceptions (4), passes under pressure (12) and ball recoveries (8).