Last term, Ipswich took on a little known Welshman on loan from Crystal Palace – highly thought of by fans of his parent club, described as the Welsh Iniesta – a moniker which initially made me chuckle. As if Wales could have an Iniesta.
And then I saw him play.
Direct running, not afraid of taking on players twice his size, so confident on the ball and a champion in drawing fouls and winning free kicks – not to mention an absolute wonder goal against Derby.. we all know how THAT match ended. So what did Joniesta actually do apart from set our hearts alight with hope of play-offs even though we were missing the McG goal machine?
Pass completion was at 77.9% – ranked 3rd in the Town squad behind Skuse and Hyam, with 22-24 key passes (depending on who you believe) but this meant he was incredibly creative for the time he was here – KPp90 was almost 2.5 chances created per game. The only other player to get even close to him was Paul Anderson with 2.1 chances created per 90 mins played. In fact, amongst all the attacking midfielders in the divisions (or at least, those defined as AM’s) Joniesta was only behind Abdi of Watford in terms of chances created. Hugely exciting, and gets in great positions.
Williams had lumps kicked out of him during his spell here, with clocking up a whopping 49 fouls drawn – the most of any Ipswich player all season. He was only with us for 3 months! Assuming that these are won in the final third, this would be an excellent chance for Anderson, Tabb or Henshall to whip balls into our goalscoring centre backs. Given that our strikers are (touch wood!) fully fit, this could mean that the amount of chances that Ipswich get this term (or at least till January) increases.
Essentially, the signing of Collison, Williams, Sammon and Ambrose is in IMO great for Town – the strength in depth is much greater than last term, and we can really change it up. With increased competition, hopefully will lead to players working hard to stay in the team, but also reduce the amount of work on the key players, such as McG, Murphy and (IMO) Anderson.
Very exciting times for Ipswich, and I for one cannot wait to see how we line up tomorrow.