Matheus Pereira’s tremendous form has seen him light up the Championship, as he’s been one of the breakout stars of the season so far.
Taking the league by storm courtesy of his consistently excellent displays for West Bromwich Albion, the Brazilian’s been an integral component towards Slaven Bilic’s men currently occupying first place in the standings.
Proving to be one of the signings of the season, the man who joined on loan from Sporting CP on deadline day with a £9 million option to buy, has impressively hit the ground running. Settling in quickly to life with the Baggies, his recent comments spoke of how he’s enjoying life at his new club.
“Every club I’ve ever played for, there’s something different,” Pereira said. “At Sporting, at Nurnberg…what has really caught my attention here is how welcoming, how open, how nice everybody is, how they embrace you as part of the family,” he explained.
“You go to the stadium and it’s packed and the supporters cheer you on. You come to the training ground and everybody, from the cleaners to the CEO, they welcome you and can’t do enough for you. Talking about settling in, this has made a massive difference to me.”
As a result of his marvellous performances on the pitch, where he’s blended power and finesse, and his infectious attitude, he’s rapidly became a fan favourite at the Hawthorns. Playing with confidence and oozing quality, he’s added so much invention and quality to WBA’s work in the final third. A masterful technician who boasts exceptional vision, awareness and poise, last season’s Bundesliga Rookie of the Year has wasted little time in demonstrating his eye-catching talents.
Capable of breaking the lines of his foes with his silky dribbling and distribution, he’s constantly looking to drive his team forward at every available opportunity. To start with his dribbling, and the Brazilian maestro’s been so effective at beating opponents 1v1 or to gain separation to fire off his passes or assess his options.
Able to get the better of opponents with his feints, shimmies, shoulder drops, sharp shifts in direction or with his Velcro tight ball control (that makes defenders step off him as they’re wary of diving in and giving away a foul), Pereira excels at manoeuvring himself out of trouble. Helped by his strength and low centre of gravity, this means he can ride challenges well and protect the ball while remaining balanced.
Meanwhile, in terms of his passing, the diminutive playmaker has exhibited his prowess at unlocking defences in spades. Precise and full of imagination, the 23-year-old has illustrated how he can slide in wonderful through balls, plus hit slick crosses and cutbacks to tee up colleagues. In addition, his incisive combination play in close quarters has been beneficial, for it draws out opponents and creates space behind lines to be exploited.
Tying everything together with his movement, this enables him to get into promising positions to help connect and progress attacks. Picking his spots when to venture in between the lines, drop deeper into true central midfield areas, rotate out wide or play on the shoulder of the last man, he can wreak havoc from so many different areas on the pitch.
Forever buzzing around West Brom’s offensive third, he’s done a fine job of running his team’s offensive moves and adding a real spark to their forward forays.
By scanning efficiently and receiving in ideal forward facing postures, this has heightened his capacity to add momentum into moves and be aware of where markers are situated in relation to him.
His statistics accentuate what a force he’s been to be reckoned with, for he’s completed 2.34 shots per game, 4.53 dribbles pg, 30.41 passes pg at 79.1%, 1.67 shot assists pg, 1.13 key passes pg (fifth-best in the league), 1.97 touches inside the box pg, 2.28 progressive runs pg, 3.21 accurate passes into the final third pg at 75.4%, 2.95 deep completions pg (third-best in the league) and been fouled 3.68 times pg (third-most in the division),
In outstanding form, Pereira’s been one of the revelations of the campaign, as his superb start to life in one of the most physically intimidating leagues in Europe underlines his adaptation qualities, mental fortitude and undoubted footballing skills.