Kurt Zouma

Kurt Zouma
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Kurt Happy Zouma

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Current Club: Chelsea
Previous Clubs: Saint-Etienne
Loan Clubs: Everton, Stoke City, Saint-Etienne.

International: France 7 caps 1 goal.
Trophies Won: English Premier League 2014/15, 2016/17. English League Cup 2015. French league Cup 2013. Under-20 World Cup 2013.

At 26 years old now, Zouma should be approaching his prime years, though he has been held back by a number of serious injuries. The problem for the French centre-back is that he is often undervalued by pundits and fans because of the way he looks when playing. He is one of those players that always looks clumsy on the ball.

I have read him referred to with comments such as 'Bambi on ice', 'must have his boots on the wrong feet' and other such digs against his ability on the ball. It is odd because he is not actually all that bad on the ball at all. He is no Beckenbauer or Maldini, that is true, but he is certainly not a liability either.

Zouma's passing stats do bear that out, with average passing accuracies usually in the high 80% or even low 90%, though of course that is without any context regarding the type of passes or whether those passes were played under any pressure or not. He does have a tendency to play the simple and safe option when it is on, which will help his stats, but that is better than hitting 60 yard passes straight to an opponent 20 times a game.

The problem he has is that his whole game is based on simple things, he is a solid, dependable defender, who is just there to do the defending first and foremost, then let others worry about creating chances. While that is ok when he is in good form, people will often not remember the good bits when his form dips, which it does if he is out of the side for a while.

Zouma is one of those players that needs a run of games, usually, to play his way into form. That can lead to people getting on his back during the dips. Once in form though, he often wins over a large portion of doubters, as the team's defending as a whole tends to improve with him in there.

Now his pace his almost fully back after his last long-term injury, Zouma is back to being fairly quick for a centre-back, with good acceleration, which enables him to keep pace with all but the very fastest of strikers. He is strong enough to out muscle most attackers as well, with a good leap and aerial ability. Though his heading is not the best in terms of direction always.

Positionally he is good but, which may relate to his form needing time to return, he takes a while to form an understanding with his centre-back partner or partners alongside him. As the understanding grows, you can see his confidence grow with it. And that, to me, is the key to Kurt Happy Zouma.

To get the best out of him, or anything like, he needs to be first choice and feel confident that his manager backs him. When he has had those spells in a team, you could see him turn into an excellent Premier League centre-back. That is something that has often been lacking in his Chelsea career and it is unlikely he will ever be in that position with the west London side.

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Requested by - Roman_199


Written by Ed001 February 06 2021 10:29:22