Watford are sitting in the playoff places in the EFL Championship. The race for qualification is not easy this time. There are more than ten teams that have a chance of making it to the top division. Watford decided on strengthening their hold on the top six and signed a defender to improve their defence. The Hornets have signed 28-year-old Dutch centre-back Wesley Hoedt. He has experience playing in the Eredivisie, Serie A, La Liga, Belgian Pro League, and even the English Premier League. He had been playing for Anderlecht since the 2021/22 season and was a crucial part of their defence. We will now look at some of the player’s stats to see why Watford decided to sign the centre-back.
Last two seasons in the Belgian Pro League
Wesley Hoedt was a regular starter for Anderlecht. He started in 15 matches for his side in the Belgian Pro League. The defender is comfortable with the ball at his feet. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player in comparison to other centre-backs in the Belgian top division. It shows that the player has a high percentile rank for passing the ball. Along with this, he was ranked highly for winning duels. Wesley Hoedt also carries an attacking threat. He is a threat inside the opposition penalty box on set-piece duties. He is an overall package who will look to make an impact on his return to England.
Last season, Wesley Hoedt played in all 38 matches for Anderlecht. The pizza chart shows that Hoedt was once again at the top of his game for passing the ball. This shows that the Dutchman is a ball-playing defender who can start the attack from the back.
In the 2021/22 season, the 28-year-old won 69.7% of his defensive duels, 59.5% of his aerial duels, and 64% of his loose ball duels. Along with this, the player averaged 5.7 interceptions per 90 minutes.
This season, his overall win percentage increased to 72.1% for defensive duels, 67.9% for aerial duels, and 54.3% for loose ball duels. The average number of interceptions average at 5.81. The win percentage for duels was high in both seasons. But he has committed a few fouls in the defensive third, and he will look to improve on this in the EFL Championship.
A brief spell in the English Premier League
Southampton signed the Dutch defender from Lazio for big money in 2017. The deal cost around £15 million for Southampton. However, this move didn’t pay off as the player only appeared in two seasons for the Saints. In the 2017–18 season, he made a total of 28 appearances for the Saints. The following season, he made only 13 appearances and was loaned out to Celta Vigo for the second half of the season. Overall, the player made 41 appearances for Southampton in his four-year spell. The 28-year-old spent the last two seasons of his Southampton career on loan at three different clubs.
Wesley Hoedt gave decent performances in his 41 appearances for Southampton’s defence. He won 73% of his defensive duels, 56% of his aerial duels, and 55.8% of his loose ball duels. Along with this, the player averaged 6.52 interceptions and 11.75 recoveries per 90 minutes. One of the areas where the player struggled was giving up fouls. He committed a few errors, especially in the defensive third. These free kicks often create a goal-scoring chance for the opposition. Overall, his performances were decent for the Saints.
Can Hoedt fit into Watford’s lineup?
Wesley Hoedt is likely to feature in the majority of the games in the remaining season. He can possibly replace Craig Cathcart in the starting lineup at Watford. Looking at the percentile rank of both players in different leagues, it can be observed that Hoedt is a better passer of the ball. Cathcart is a better defender on the ground and also has a high duels-win percentage. Wesley Hoedt’s ability to pass the ball and his threat in front of the goal makes him the likely favourite to replace Cathcart.
Wesley Hoedt’s signing has added a bit of stability to the defence. This means that the 1×2 odds for Watford to win will decrease whenever they face a lower-ranked team. As for the over/under lines, the under rates will get lower. This is because Hoedt’s inclusion will lower the chances of scoring a goal.
The 28-year-old will play a crucial role in Watford’s race for promotion. He can play the ball from the back and is also a threat in the air. Wesley Hoedt has made a dream debut by scoring a goal in Watford’s 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers. He will look to deliver good performances in the remaining season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine