This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Jack Harrison was named the Championship Player of the Weekend for his performance against QPR last Saturday.
The winger was exceptional as he grabbed himself a goal and an assist against the R’s, but it wasn’t just his work going forward that caught the eye.
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Harrison’s defensive effort
The left-sided player was also brilliant at the back as he made the same number of tackles as Liam Cooper and Ben White, while also being the only player in a white shirt to block a shot on Saturday afternoon.
A look at his heatmap from that game shows that he was brilliant at getting up and down the pitch.
As you can see, most of Harrison’s activity was actually in his own half, and while that is partly down to him coming short to receive the ball from his defenders, it’s also down to the tracking back he did, and he may have to do something similar this weekend against Blackburn Rovers.
Needs a repeat performance
The Man City loanee could once again find himself having his hands full down that left side on Saturday.
Indeed, we think that Marcelo Bielsa would be best off lining up with a three at the back again after its success against QPR and the fact that it could help stifle the impact of Bradley Dack.
If Bielsa does use a back three, then Harrison will have to be at his best defensively.
Blackburn’s right-back is Elliott Bennett, and with the 30-year-old crafting three assists already this season it’s going to be important to stop the threat he poses when he comes forward.
That threat is increased even more if Sam Gallagher is on the pitch. If Bennett gets a cross into the striker it’d be hard to back against him scoring if a ball came in as he wins 5.1 aerial duels per game.
Harrison will certainly need to track back and stop him playing it into the area.