Noussair Mazraoui joined the famed Ajax Academy from Alphense Boys in 2006. Since then, he has been with Ajax for over a decade. After making his debut for Ajax’s senior team in 2018, Mazraoui went on to make 28 appearances for Ajax in the Eredivisie in the 2018-19 season. The following two seasons, the Moroccan struggled to confirm his spot in the starting lineup due to competition and injuries and was afforded only 32 appearances combined.
This season, however, Mazraoui has been a prominent part of Ten Hag’s starting eleven, as Ajax have been putting remarkable performances both in the Eredivisie and in the Champions League. The 23-year-old right-back has already made 11 appearances in the Eredivisie and four in the Champions League as well scoring four goals and adding a further three assists.
Mazraoui’s performances for Ajax at the right-back position have been brilliant. Although he has entered the final year of his contract, he continues to be one of the main features in Ajax’s backline this season. His performances along with his contract situation have now led to Europe’s top clubs keeping tabs on him.
Let’s analyze his stats from the Champions League this season to understand his strengths and role in Ten Hag’s backline.
The Moroccan right-back has ranked highly this season in terms of passing and progression stats. His most noteworthy stats this season are assists per 90, passes per 90, passes into attacking third per 90, and forward passes per 90. He has averaged more than eight passes into the final third per match while also averaging more than 20 forward passes per match. Mazraoui possesses brilliant technical skills and ball control.
Most of Mazraoui’s defensive stats have been above average and surpassed the median league value. Although Ajax have been barely troubled at the back, conceding only two goals in four group stage matches so far, Mazraoui has been brilliant in his defensive work, with most notable stats being average defensive actions, average defensive duels and aerial duel wins. The right-back is decent in one-on-one defending and wins most of his defensive duels. In previous seasons, Mazraoui used to have a hard time defending against agile wingers, although this season, he has shown slight improvements in that aspect. Despite his young age, the Moroccan has displayed impressive focus and concentration during defensive phases.
Mazraoui’s pass map shows the areas where he has delivered his passes and crosses. He offers a lot of attacking threats going forward with his ball control and dribbling skills. In addition, he has shown the ability to find pockets of space near the wing in the opponent’s half or half-spaces. Many of Mazraoui’s crosses from half-spaces and wide areas into the opposition box carry a high threat.
The right-back’s heat map indicates the areas where he has been most active this season. It highlights his impressive attacking and defensive output, making runs in the opponent’s half and tracking back. His decent stamina allows him to cover spaces up and down the right flank.
Mazraoui has been maturing at an impressive speed for the past couple of seasons. His performances this season for Ajax have contributed to their brilliant form in the Eredivisie and the Champions League. He has already cemented the right-back position in Ten Hag’s lineup, although his contract situation remains unresolved.