Name: Daniel Arzani
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Club: Melboune City
World Cup Influence: 6/10
Australia come into this year’s tournament as outsiders, competing in their 5th World Cup having qualified via the CONCACAF v AFC playoff, where they beat Honudras 3-1 on aggregate over two legs. Whilst they have never won a World Cup, they have won 4 OFC Nations Cups, and 1 Asian Cup.
Performance of Player in Qualification:
Daniel Arzani has had something of a breakthrough year in the Hyundai A-League, having made 24 appearances for Melbourne City this season and scoring 2 goals. Arzani made his Melbourne City debut on 6th January 2018, proving to be a game changer as his two assists gave Melbourne a comeback 2-1 victory, and scored his first goal against Newcastle Jets on 25th January. Holding dual nationality due to his Iranian heritage, he could have chosen to represent Iran, but having played for numerous levels of Australia’s youth setup, stated in February of this year that he was leaning more towards representing Australia, and made his international debut as an 84th minute substitute against Czech Republic on 1st June, and has since been included in Australia’s 23 man World Cup squad.
With a passing and distribution success rate of 78.5% in the A-League this season he has good vision and has made a total of 26 key passes, 3 of which were assists. Over half his shots this season were on target, and as he matures as a player he will undoubtedly become a more prolific goalscorer.
His defensive play has been fairly good as well. with a 61.1% tackling success rate, he has also won half of his defensive duels, though his aerial game still requires some work.
Such was his ability that he was nominated for, and won, the A-League Young Footballer of the Year award at the end of the season. He was also named in the A-League Team of the Season.
Whilst his disciplinary record of 5 yellow cards from the 28 fouls he has committed makes for less than ideal reading, it’s good to see a young player with fire in his belly and his passion for the game shining through.
Why he’s one to watch:
Arzani played futsal and street football from a young age and so has developed a technical style of play, as a winger his pace gives him an advantage against many full backs, and has excellent dribbling ability. He is also adept at playing in behind the striker, and has an excellent defence splitting pass in his arsenal which he uses to devastating effect. Using these attributes it’s easy to see why he could be a real difference maker for Australia in this years tournament.
The World Cup is the perfect stage for a player of Arzani’s ability to shine through, and should he be given the chance to make an impression either in a starting role or as a super-sub, I have no doubt he will take the opportunity with both hands and make a real difference to Australia’s attacking threat.
Video of player/Compilation:
Football Manager Stats:
In his most effective position as a winger, he has all the attributes required to become a very important player for the Socceroo’s in the next few years. Whilst its possible he may not get as much game time for them at this World Cup, his talent is obvious and if he can carry on his current form and continue to perform the way he has for Melbourne City this season then there is no doubt that he will be a regular starter for Australia.
This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to Watch for all Nations in World Cup 2018.
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