Warren Zaire-Emery has impressed since the start of 2023, so much so that he is now on the verge of being called up by Didier Deschamps for the France team, at only 17 years old. The young midfielder shines with his maturity and his complete profile, capable of doing everything on the pitch… or almost. Indeed, in a very particular area, he is one of the worst players in Ligue 1 and even in Europe. He is less strong in this statistic than 99% of midfielders in the five major European championships.
The big weak point of the new nugget of French football lies in the aerial game and more precisely the number of aerial duels won. Warren Zaire-Emery has not won any aerial duel this season, out of nine contested. He is also the outfield player who has played the most in Ligue 1 this season (813 minutes) without winning a single aerial duel, just ahead of… Kylian Mbappé. But he has an excuse: the recent 3rd in the Ballon d’Or has simply not played a single aerial duel this season in Ligue 1.
Last year, Zaire-Emery was already PSG’s second worst player in the air, with only 18.8% of duels won (3 out of 16). Only Neymar was less efficient in this area with 14.3% of duels won (1/7). However, the native of Montreuil measures 1.78 meters, a perfectly suitable height to fight headers with other players. This will therefore obviously be one of his major areas of progress in the years to come, even if his midfield position is not the most in demand in the head.
A weakness that can become a strength
Warren Zaire-Emery should take the place of the injured Aurélien Tchouaméni in Didier Deschamps’ list. However, he is precisely one of the best midfielders in the world in the aerial field. The Real Madrid player has already won 30 aerial duels this season, or 83.3% of those he has played. This figure puts him ahead of 99% of midfielders in Europe.
Even if Warren Zaire-Emery has a different role, this quality will be missed by the France team. But the two men could play together in the future and these statistics clearly show their complementarity. Other figures demonstrate this: Aurélien Tchouaméni is one of the best midfielders in Europe in terms of number of interceptions (top 6%), while Warren Zaire-Emery, with a more offensive profile, is one of the best in number of dribbles leading to a goal (top 2%).
These two could finally be associated with Eduardo Camavinga, who has a more hybrid profile and can do everything. The former Rennais is one of the best tacklers in Europe – top 1% in successful tackles, in the offensive zone and in the defensive zone –, but also one of the best ball carriers – top 5% in distance traveled towards the opposing goal and overlaps in the final third. Enough to create an ultra complete trio which could dominate world football for many years.