Under the microscope: Marvellous Marquinhos – PSG’s defensive anchor

Marquinhos started his career as a midfielder, but featured at right-back for Roma and initially at PSG as well, before becoming a recognized centre-back for club and country. Tuchel took him back to the future by playing him in midfield, notably in the 2019-20 campaign, and the Brazilian unsurprisingly excelled.

Marquinhos is naturally a centre-back, and to become one of the best centre-backs in the world he shifted to the centre-back position. Playing with Thiago Silva for years has developed him and has helped him gain experience. And despite being only six feet tall, he has the discipline and natural talent to take himself to the pinnacle of the defensive craft.

Marquinhos became the experienced figure for his team in the PSG backline after Thiago Silva departed a few seasons ago. In terms of his playing position, Marquinhos is predominantly deployed as a central defender but has also been used at right-back and in a central or defensive role in the midfield.

The PSG captain put up his best performance against Manchester City when the Parisians won 2-0 against the Cityzens in the UEFA Champions League. He was solid in his defensive output in the game as he won most of the defensive actions he committed. More importantly, he popped up in the right place at the right time to help PSG secure all three points.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

Marquinhos has started on the right side of the two centre-backs, with Kimpembe playing on the other side. The heatmap indicates that he has played a bit higher on the field as they try to win the ball. He is usually the calm defender who stays back while Kimpembe plays in a more aggressive manner.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

The above visual shows us the defensive metrics for Marquinhos in the Champions League so far. The Brazilian has attempted 13.86 defensive actions per 90 minutes and has won almost 100% of the defensive actions he attempts. He has won 94.38% of his defensive actions per 90 minutes. The 27-year-old has attempted 9.50 interceptions per 90 minutes and is better than 99% of the players in the league for the same. The defender has not been involved in many defensive and aerial duels as PSG have dominated most of the games and he had little to do in the goals that they have conceded so far.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

The above visual shows us the different types of duels that Marquinhos has won and the positions where he has won these duels. He has won several duels in his penalty area, which indicates that he has great timing with his tackles and uses his experiences to the fullest. He has attempted more ground defending duels, and has a very good reading of the game.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

He can anticipate the movement of the players and positions himself accordingly to intercept the passes. He is known for his pace and intelligence which enables him to break down attacks. He has intercepted most of the balls in his half with the opposition player on the ball.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

Marquinhos is a ball-playing centre-back and is always calm at the back. He has brilliant technical skills, composure, passing ability, and confidence in possession. He can subsequently play the ball out from the defense or start offensive plays from the back. His pass map indicates that he has played several passes from the back and is majorly involved in building PSG’s attacks from the defensive third. He has also played a few long balls from his half, which have generated a very high xT. He has an average passing accuracy of above 90% and can complete most of the passes he attempts.

Marquinhos: 2021-22 PSG stats

He has also attempted the third most accurate forward passes and contributes to his team’s offensive play. He has 141 accurate forward passes in the six matches he has played so far.

Marquinhos has been leading by example since the time he has been given the armband, and his performances have indicated the same. He has been their most reliable player, and his team can always rely on him at the back.

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