http://legia.com/aktualnosci/inaki-asti ... egii-56200
petreleo wrote:Just noticed there has been no post in his topic for almost one and a half year and probably his Set just slipped from my radar.
Anyway, from watching him in the last one and a half year at APOEL, I believe that his style as a Center-Back is really similar to Daley Blind's. Like Blind, Astiz has really good positioning at defending and his reading of the game is superb. Sometimes he even makes defending look "easy", in that he won't need many last-ditch heroic tackles to stop opponents, but he usually deals with them with his "calm" approach at defending, keeping a good position to close gaps in defence, and then closes opponents-down when they have the ball at an advanced position.
His passing is probably his biggest asset(his Passing Accuracy according to UEFA Statistics is 92%), if you ask me, especially his Short-Passing, and that's why this Season he has being playing as a starter in defence ahead of the likes of Merkis, as coach Christiansen's passing-game starts from the back with two "top" ball-playing Center-Backs, Astiz and Carlao.
On the other hand, he can be easily dominated in the air by big, powerful Center-Forwards, like it happened in Europe this Season with Copenhagen's Santander and Young Boys' Hoarau, and despite being a Center-Back, I would have wanted him to make a much bigger contribution in attack, especially in a big team like APOEL that likes to attack. I mean, his Short-Passing is really good, but his Long-Passing, although accurate, isn't incisive enough to create chances from the back, and after making something like 50 appearances so far for APOEL, he hasn't scored a single goal for them, and this is a big disadvantage for him, when being compared to goal-scoring Center-Back from set-pieces, Giorgos Merkis, but also Carlao, who likes to dribble players from deep areas to start attacks.
I really didn't see this transfer coming at all, given his performances in the last two years at
APOEL Nicosia. He had not been awful at APOEL, but his performances had never been impressing to say the least during those last two Seasons there, and also given his age, I really didn't expect him to sign for a big club like Legia, but most probably for a much smaller club. For example,
Pogoń Szczecin, a club which agreed a deal to sign him earlier this Summer, only to change their mind in the last minute to sign a younger player in defence, instead.
However, I heard that Legia were experiencing some injury problems in defence and they opted to sign Astiz, who is a tested solution for back-up of their back-line, something which actually makes sense as for why he ended there once again. I cannot say with certainty whether he will be a success at Legia or not, but I guess he won't be bad for a back-up who will play for 10-15 matches during the Season, as his experience will prove helpful.
Astiz left APOEL this Summer after the expiry of his contract, and almost everybody agreed on the fact that he shouldn't be offered a new contract, despite being the APOEL Center-Back with the most minutes last Season.
When he signed for APOEL in the Summer of 2015, he looked kinda sluggish and unconvincing in Pre-Season friendly matches, but when his fitness levels improved, he became a starter and one of their most consistent players during the Summer's Champions League qualifiers. As soon as the League Season started, he continued being a starter for the team, but shortly afterwards he was injured for approximately three months missing a great part of the middle of the Season. At one point, It even looked like he was going to be relegated to APOEL's 4th-choice Center-Back(behind Carlao, Merkis and Joao Guilherme Amorin) after his return from injury, because of the January signing of Giorgos Merkis, but actually he got decent game-time towards the end of the Season, and most importantly as a starter in the League Play-Off's derbies Vs AC Omonoia Nicosia and AEK Larnaca, that helped APOEL clinch the League Title(he missed a penalty in the shoot-out of the Cup Semi-Finals Vs Apollon Limassol, though).
As I have said in my previous post, Astiz started last Season(2016-17) as a starter for APOEL in Central-Defence alongside Carlao, mainly because of their ability with the ball at their feet. For large parts of the first-half of last Season, their partnership in defence was working well, if we exclude some crucial European matches, like I have said above, when Astiz was dominated by more physical opponents(like Santander of Copenhagen, and Hoarau of Young Boys).
However, a crucial turning-point in his APOEL career came towards the end of last November, when within a week he conceded a penalty Vs AEL Limassol in the League and got sent-off Vs Astana in the Europa League. Since then, he had never been the same player as before, maybe it was mainly just in the eyes of the fans that lost trust in him, but I think that generally he was lacking confidence after that. Nevertheless, Astiz continued to be a starter for APOEL for the rest of the Season(their Center-Back with the most minutes last Season), mainly because Carlao was sold to Torino in January and his replacement(Yambere) didn't prove to be good enough.
One thing worth of noting is that, after the departure of Carlao in January, APOEL's passing-game at the back with Astiz and another Center-Back, wasn't working as good as it was working before January and actually after January, APOEL changed their way of build-up to use more long-balls from the back, most notably from Goalkeeper Waterman, Center-Back Merkis, and Center-Back/Left-Back Ioannou, and to a lesser extent Astiz. As a result, he lost some of his influence in how his team plays, as Astiz isn't much of a Long-Passer to be honest, even though his Short-Passing is pretty good for a Center-Back.
As I have said in many of my previous posts, defensively, he reads the game well with his experience and he has good positioning, even though he doesn't tackle that much and he is not really good at it. The problem with him is that sometimes he can be error-prone, despite his overall performance in the game not being bad at all. Mainly just a misjudgment, a lapse of concentration or a bad clearance, but generally personal defensive mistakes have not been something uncommon with Astiz.
He is not bad in the air, but for a Center-Back he is not very strong and he can be dominated in the air every now and then by physically dominant Strikers, like it happened a couple of times last Season in Europe. For a Center-Back of his age, he is has decent Agility to turn with or without the ball, but his Sprinting-Speed is not as good as many think that it is. For example(02:39): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bltjCEtT-eI
, when he was easily beaten at Sprinting by Matt Derbyshire, who is not very quick himself.
Finally, to be honest, even though I have said in my last post that Astiz should improve attacking-wise for a defender, since then he has proved me wrong, scoring three goals in Domestic Competitions during the second-half of last Season, and also a couple of assists over the course of the Season.