Emanuel Mammana is definitely a young prospect to keep an eye on. The 20 year old Argentine transferred from River Plate to Olympique Lyon last summer 2016 for around 7.5 million Euros – on nowadays transfermarket a quite reasonable price for a talent of his scale.
Making his eight League 1 appearance last weekend, after returning to action against Marseille a week ago recovering from a lengthy injury, against OSC Lille Mammana has now played 704 minutes for the French club.
Playing as right center back in Lyon’s 4-s-3-1 formation with Fekir pushing very high almost turning it into a 4-4-2 defensively, Mammana did very well from the first minute. He showed good communication with his surrounding players trying to organise the defensive structure of OL. In their build-up play he constantly made himself available as a passing option thus giving security to Lyon’s center mids Gonalons and Tolisso. When himself in possesion he demonstrated decent passing quality comfortably using both of his feet. To over-bridge space and to advnce the game forward he did not shy away from pushing into free space while never losing the overview. As presented above his passing percentage was acceptable rarely making mistakes in the build up. Noticeable he played one catastrophic pass which might have let to a goal against a team better making use of such occasions than OSC Lille did in this situation. However the rest of the game he made the impression to be very concentrated in his passing also attempting to play long balls and passes vertically through the lines to the strikers. When necessary the Argentine did not play with the fire and was not to good to clear the ball properly.
Defensively, while it might sound weird in respect to the result, he was rarely challenged. Lille’s attempts were mostly stopped early apart from one or two periods of the game when they could create some chances. However Mammana made a decent job marking his opponents, most of the time there was only one striker to mark between the two center backs, always keen to put pressure on them early making it difficult to control the ball properly. The statistics above demonstrate his defensive abilities. In 1vs1 as well in 1vs2 situations he presented good timing and a good feeling for the situation. In 1vs2 situations it was obvious that he force the pass away from the goal just to either intercept the pass or isolate the player into a 1vs1.
In the air amid his average size, 1.83m, he was very present winning 3 out of four of his aerial duels. To emphasis is that he not only won those duels but he also placed the headers to his teammates comfortably allowing Lyon to win the second balls and to take up their attacking efforts again.
As already mentioned OSC Lille’s attack never pushed him to his limits neither in possession nor in defense. Therefore he also never really was forced into sprinting duels in which he would have had to show his full pace.
To level up his game the still 20 year old could even more be actively involved in the team’s build up play especially against deep standing opponents as Lille was. Currently Gonalons often drops deep to receive and to distribute the ball. However while doing so he sometimes cuts Mammana off resulting into having 2 players in more or less the same space unnecessarily. Instead, while of course being riskier, Gonalsons could push higher up the field to as another player moving between the lines leaving Mammana with the responsibility to distribute the ball from the back.