Tyreeq Bakinson’s first 90 minutes as a Bristol city (League) starter – Analysed

After an eye-catching substitute appearance against Coventry City last weekend, and an accomplished 60 minutes against League One Northampton in the week, 21-year-old midfielder Tyreeq Bakinson was awarded with a deserved first league start for Bristol City at the Bet 365 stadium on Sunday.

It was a great chance for the ex-Luton man to show he belongs at this level, and didn’t he take it. As a sign of how well he played, Bakinson was overwhelmingly voted by the City fans as the Man of the Match against Stoke City:

After closely watching his first league start in City colours closely, I’ll try to explain what I believe he brings to the side:

From the kick-off: Stoke take the kick-off and launch the ball up the pitch towards Sam Vokes. It eventually ends up in Bentley’s arms and City then look to play out. Bakinson offers himself as a passing option for the back three and receives the ball before giving it back to Vyner. Throughout the game, Bakinson constantly made himself available for the ball from the back three – something Massengo very clearly struggled to do against Coventry the week before.

4th minute: Bakinson receives the ball in the Stoke City half and his first thought is to look to play forward. The young midfielder plays a brilliant pass in between the lines to Chris Martin, who dropped into a nice pocket of space. Martin then looked to combine with strike partner Wells, with the two number eights Weimann and Paterson looking to run in behind. This is a theme of Bakinson’s game. When he receives the ball, he regularly looks to see if he can play forward. If he can’t, he’ll go sideways and retain possession. Stoke win the ball back and clear it up to Vokes. Vyner gets a foot in and Bakinson mops up.

6th minute: Bakinson receives the ball from Moore in between the two strikers, taking them out of the game. He then turns whilst using his strength to hold off Sam Vokes and plays another line-breaking ball into Martin’s feet, who lays it off to Weimann. The Austrian travels towards the penalty area and his through ball is just too heavy for Jack Hunt. Bakinson’s physicality and composure on the ball is highlighted well here.

7th minute: Bakinson positions himself well in front of the striker Brown, and easily cuts out the attempted ball into the forward before giving it to Paterson to start an attack.

9th minute: Another successful forward pass from Tyreeq, this time into the feet of Nahki Wells who dropped deep. 7 of his 11 passes so far have all gone forward, which you could argue shows his confidence and positivity after a bright start to the 2020/21 season.

17th minute: Tyreeq Bakinson gets in front of Brown again to cut out the pass, unleashing Weimann in the process. The Austrian’s pass into Martin is intercepted however.

22nd minute: Superb vision from the holding midfielder allows him to find Paterson with a first-time pass on the turn. This brilliant pass catches out Stoke who tried to press Bakinson aggressively, and it springs a City attack.

26th minute: Bakinson nips in and looks to steal the ball off of a charging Clucas, but the referee thinks otherwise and gives the foul. From the resulting free-kick, Stoke play it wide before putting a ball into the box. Bakinson, in the defensive line due to his useful height, clears.

27th minute: Yet again Bakinson is on the front foot, looking to play penetrative passes past the Stoke midfield. This time he finds Nahki Wells who then couldn’t quite play Paterson through on goal. His positivity on the ball is such a good asset to have in midfield, especially against teams like Stoke (managed by Michael O’Neill) who are typically difficult to break down.

33rd minute: Here he is at it again…

34th minute: He’s got into a nice pocket of space and looks to play forward again…

45th minute: He finds Jamie Paterson in a pocket of space with a brilliant reverse ball who then turns and drives at the back line. Because Ty is trusted that he can find a forward pass between the lines, it allows Paterson and Weimann to get into more advanced areas of the pitch where they can hurt the opposition. If Bakinson was much more cautious on the ball, then perhaps his midfield teammates would drop deeper to receive the ball in “safer” positions.

Half-time: City go into the break 1-0 up and the better side, and Bakinson was a big part of that first half performance. He was both calm and positive in possession, and only the Robin’s back three completed more passes than him on the pitch in the first period.

Second half: I could go on but this piece will end up being far too long! Bakinson kept looking to play forward in the second period too, and his composure in possession was vital for City as they looked to seal an impressive away victory and two wins from two. The midfielder also looked to travel in possession and his athleticism allowed him to do just that, and therefore opened up more passing options for himself. His height proved important in the second half too, as he won the second most aerial duels out of everyone on the pitch in this period. Without trying to sound reductionist, Tyreeq’s tall frame is arguably his USP in the City midfield, with pretty much all of the others (bar Brunt and Williams) under six foot tall.

All in all, it was a superb first league start for Bakinson, and although I voted for Taylor Moore as MOTM, Tyreeq deserved the honour just as much. His performances in recent weeks have added to Dean Holden’s midfield headache, and with displays like the one on Sunday, he’s doing everyone he can to make sure he’s one of the first names on the teamsheet in that position.

(Champagne Moment of the second half)

1 comment

  1. Bakinson is the midfielder we’ve waited for for so long. I do feel sorry for young massengo but just maybe he can learn off Tyreek. I feel we may see him going out on loan what with Williams and Walsh coming back soon. However for the team it s a nice problem to have.

    Like

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