Round 11 of the Indian Super League 21-22 season begins with Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC battling it out at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. The key for Jamshedpur FC lies in the lynchpin of their attack: Greg Stewart.
The Scottish attacking midfielder has been a revelation in this season's Hero Indian Super League. Jamshedpur FC's summer signing from Rangers FC, the champions of the Scottish Premiership, burst into the Indian Football scenery with two assists against a much-fancied FC Goa side setting up Nerijus Valskis twice in a 3-0 win. He went on to back this up with a goal against Hyderabad FC in a 1-1 draw.
In what has been an impressive start to the season for the Red Miners, Stewart has stamped his mark as the leader in the attack by scoring the first hattrick of the season in a 4-0 victory over Odisha FC which grabbed eyeballs in the Indian Football fraternity. His superb freekick from about 34 meters out against Kerala Blasters gained worldwide attention with various social media channels featuring his thunderous strike.
The attacking midfielder has not only contributed going forward but also has helped his team out defensively. Even in an attacking role, the 31-year-old averages about 0.8 tackles and 0.2 interceptions per 90 minutes, winning possession back 1.4 times every game. He has also won 42% of his overall duels. Why is this important?
Well, this helps in two ways. Firstly, turning over possession in the opponent half stops the opposition's attack at the source. Similarly, winning the ball back he can start a counter-attack for his team.
Greg Stewart has scored 5 goals so far this season and has racked up 4 assists which is the 3rd and 2nd highest in the league respectively. His attacking output is mainly due to the fact that on average, he takes 3.5 shots in a game, with 1.5 of them being on target.
About 42.9% of his shots end up being on target. He also averages 3 key passes per game, which makes him instrumental in creating chances for the team.
His goal conversion rate stands at 18%, which has some room for improvement, considering the stature of the player. On the ball, there are barely a few players better than Stewart, with a passing accuracy of 75% in tight areas.
We have also seen Stewart take on defenders and beat them, something which is reflected in the fact that he has completed 46.1% of his dribbles successfully.
As Khalid Jamil's misfiring North East United FC prepares to face Owen Coyle's Men of Steel, the Highlanders will have to find a way to stop the Scotsman, who poses a threat both with the ball at his feet and from dead-ball situations.