Nottingham Forest signed more than 20 players in their return to the English Premier League. The management decided on bringing in some new players who could help them stay in the top division. One of the players who joined Forest was former Huddersfield Town midfielder, Lewis O’Brien. The 24-year-old spent his youth and professional career at the Terriers before joining Nottingham Forest to pursue his dream of playing in the Premier League. With a lot of competition for a regular spot in the team, the player failed to make a mark. Forest are now looking to allow the player to leave on loan. This has raised the interest of a few EFL Championship clubs like West Bromwich Albion, Sheffield United, and Blackburn Rovers. Lewis O’Brien was part of the Huddersfield Town side that played in the playoffs last season. The 24-year-old has spent the last three seasons playing in the Championship and has a bit of experience. These three teams are looking to boost their midfield and their chances of promotion to the Premier League. We will now look at some of O’Brien’s stats to see why these clubs are interested in signing him.
Lewis O’Brien plays as a central midfielder for his side. Since joining Nottingham Forest at the start of the 2022–23 season, the player has managed to play in 13 English Premier League games. These include six starts, but these came in the initial stages of the competition. He has managed to get on the scoresheet for Forest. The heatmap of the player from the current season shows that he is more of a box-to-box midfielder.
Breakthrough season with Huddersfield
Lewis O’Brien was one of the top performers for Huddersfield Town last season. He started in all 46 games in the EFL Championship and registered three goals along with three assists. The above pizza chart shows the percentile rank of O’Brien in comparison to other players who played as left central midfielders. O’Brien is ranked decently in all the statistics. One of the areas where he has excelled is in his ability to dribble past opponents.
The left-sided central midfielder likes to carry the ball across the left flank. He did so throughout the last season. The above viz shows the progressive runs and dribbles attempted by the player in the 2021/22 season. It can be observed that the player likes to make full use of the field to move the ball forward and isn’t afraid of attempting dribbles in crucial attacking areas. Lewis O’Brien averaged 4.28 dribbles per 90 minutes last season and had a success rate of 57.3%. The progressive runs averaged 2.19 per 90 minutes. O’Brien has made a few runs from the flanks to the centre of the pitch. At Forest, things have been a bit difficult. The team was struggling in the initial stages, and the number of dribbles went down to 3.21 per 90 minutes for the young midfielder. However, the success rate is just above 50%, which is a big positive for him. The progressive runs dropped massively to 1.12 per 90 minutes. Lewis O’Brien’s experience in the second division could help him return to the form he showed last season.
The creative side
The manager expects his midfielders to control the pace of the game and distribute the ball evenly to different areas of the field. Lewis O’Brien is a decent passer of the football. He averaged 33.72 passes per 90 minutes last season with an 80.6% accuracy rate. These included 4.72 passes to the final third (68.7% accuracy) and 1.4 passes to the penalty area (49.3% accuracy) per 90 minutes. The above viz shows all the progressive passes that were attempted last season. A few passes attempted to the opposition penalty box were in the form of crosses from the left side. The other passes were directed from different positions on the field to the opposition’s penalty box. At Forest, the average number of passes was reduced to 29.16, and the accuracy was a bit the same at 81.3%. Passing to the final third is one of the areas where he has shown signs of improvement. The average has gone up to six passes per 90 minutes. These numbers are decent from a midfielder’s point of view.
Recovering the ball in attacking areas
One of the biggest traits in O’Brien’s textbook is his ability to recover the ball in dangerous attacking areas. He recovered the ball 7.05 times per 90 minutes, and 49.1% came in the attacking half. Most of the recoveries were high regians that took place in the attacking third. A few dangerous recoveries were made outside the penalty box as well. This shows that the player gets into good positions and recovers the ball well.
Lewis O’Brien would be a strong addition to any midfield. His inclusion in the team would have a slight effect on the 1×2 odds. The odds will likely go down for the team whenever they face a weaker opponent. As for the over/under lines, the odds are likely to change.
The 24-year-old midfielder could be on his way back to the EFL Championship. He is a box-to-box midfielder who has a high work rate. Three teams are challenging each other to sign him on loan. Lewis O’Brien will also look to make his mark if a move to the EFL Championship is completed before the deadline.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine