Blackpool finished the 2021-22 EFL Championship season in 16th position, having earned promotion through the EFL League One playoffs in 2020-21. They finished with the most points among the three promoted teams – the other two being Hull City and Peterborough United. The Tangerines will look to build on the solid campaign last season. For that, they will need to reinforce the squad ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season. However, they have made only one signing so far in this summer transfer window. Blackpool have added Manchester City U23 midfielder, Lewis Fiorini, on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Fiorini made 44 appearances for Lincoln City last season in all competition whilst on loan from Manchester City U23 side. This included 39 in the 2021-22 EFL League One campaign. He scored six times in the 2969 minutes he played and did so at a rate of 0.17 per 90. This is slightly higher than the 0.1 xG per 90 estimated. The Scotsman took 2.35 shots per 90 but hit only 27.06% of them on target. He attempted 3.5 dribbles per 90 at a 76% success rate. He was involved in 9.38 offensive duels per 90 and 8.52 attacking actions per 90.
In addition to his six goals, Fiorini provided four assists, bringing his goal involvement to one every 297 minutes approximately. His rate of assists was almost double of what xA predicted. He attempted only 30 passes per 90 at a measly accuracy of 73.5%. He was ranked very similarly as far as passes into the final third were concerned as he attempted only 4.6 per 90 at 54.22%, which is very low for a midfielder. But he did make nearly two progressive runs per 90, enough to be placed in the upper quintile. The Scotsman completed 1.33 through passes per 90, putting him in the 92nd percentile among midfielders. With 0.8 smart passes per 90, he was in the top 12% for this category.
Fiorini thrived as a central midfielder, as shown in the heat map above. He was involved in the middle third and in the attacking third more often than in the defensive third. He would make little runs here and there to find whatever space has been left open, which he would exploit to full effect.
Most of the threat created by Fiorini came in the attacking third. He generated lots of threat with his progressive passes, balls into the final third and passes into the attacking penalty area. He also made some threatening runs in and around the oppositions’ penalty box. His average xT score hovered around the 1.0 mark.
Lewis Fiorini helped Lincoln City secure their status in EFL League One last season. The big question for him now is if he can replicate these kinds of performances in the EFL Championship for Blackpool.