Home → Elite → Football → Performance Analysis Football Wyscout Performance Analysis Arsenal Loanee Folarin Balogun Loving Life at Reims 20 Apr, 2023 5 Min Read By Edward Stratmann @EdwardStratmann Folarin Balogun's scintillating form on loan at Reims has certainly turned heads across European football, as the Arsenal-owned sensation has taken Ligue 1 by storm. Having already scored 19 goals in 32 appearances for Reims, which is more than any other player aged 21 or under in Europe's top five leagues, this accentuates how electric he's been. Learning all the time on and off the field and relishing playing week in, and week out against elite competition, the former Middlesbrough loanee's relishing the opportunity to play in France. Working under young managerial hotshot Will Still has also been another important figure towards his incredible impact. "Yeah, I mean Will [Still] is fantastic. I couldn't have asked for anything better coming out here. As you said he speaks English just as good as if I were back home, and he speaks French just as good as anyone here, so it's a pleasure to have him. He's really, really good with all the players, he can also speak I think it's Flemish with the Dutch guys. So it's phenomenal. I can't praise him anymore," he told the Ligue 1 Show. "Will's a very young manager and when I first came here he was the assistant. When Oscar Garcia left he stepped up to be the head coach, and he's taken that role with so much ease, and he's made it look so comfortable like he's been doing it forever. He's keeping me on my toes every day and I know I can't take a break and I've just got to keep the intensity. "He really encourages me not to relax, you know. He thinks he sees potential in me and he wants me to achieve it. So he just wants me to be relentless and as efficient as possible." Possessing blistering pace and a real master at exploiting spaces in behind, this has been a vital component towards his success. So alert to vacant spaces, if an opponent is ball watching or preoccupied, this, in combination with his subtle adjustments to expose opponents on their blindside and curve his runs, has amplified his threat. Doing a superb job of gaining separation prior to embarking on his runs, this allows him to gain momentum and a dynamic advantage over his back-to-goal facing foes to maximize his menace. Offering himself as a fantastic outlet for teammates and as a real asset to make room for others by dragging out opponents, his capacity to horizontally and vertically stretch backlines is a huge weapon for high-flying Reims. The 21-year-old's timing and angling of his runs also see him take up quality positions inside the box to be a viable option for crosses, cutbacks, through balls and to get on the end of combination play or rebounds. Balogun's touches in penalty area in Ligue 1 games Eager to drop deep and link play, this aspect of his game ensures his involvement extends beyond just his depth running. While his first touch, decision making and passing can sometimes let him down and be streaky (something he's constantly working on), the fact he's so quick off the mark and chooses well when to check towards the ball means he still impacts positively with his back to goal. Balogun's heat map this season If given time and space to turn and face on the dribble, the speedy and elusive striker is so hard to stop. Also boasting a decent repertoire of feints, shimmies, spins and skill moves, he's a tough man to nullify once in full flight, especially for defenders trying to contain him 1v1 or in transition. Balogun's penalty area deliveries from Wyscout Player Report To keep on the theme of his technical execution, and there's been much to admire about his classy finishing. Be it 1v1 finishes, crafty placed efforts, powered blasts, composed penalties, instinctive close-range shots, quality strikes when unbalanced and the odd header, he's shown his aptitude in this regard. The graphics below illustrate the above, with him ranking fourth in Ligue 1 for shots and proving how handy he is at penalties. The first image in this article is also a terrific indicator of his final third wizardry, with him strikingly ranking 15th in Ligue 1 for touches in the penalty area. Balogun's shot rankings in Ligue 1 Balogun's penalty data from Wyscout Player Report Despite his shot maps below underlining that he takes some low percentage shots, the positives far outweigh the negatives for the ever-improving youngster. Balogun's shot map this season Balogun's detailed shot map from the last calendar year - Wyscout Player Report “He’s got such natural quality and finishing ability that it’s just about trying to stretch him and give him high-quality, position-specific, high-volume repetition sessions," Saul Isaksson-Hurst, who recently did some 1v1 coaching with him, explained to The Athletic. Confident, able to use both feet and doing a brilliant job of converting his chances overall, it's little wonder why there's so much noise around him. Moreover, the fact the New York-born talent, who later moved to England when he was a boy, is eligible to play for England, Nigeria and the United States at international level has only added to the conversation surrounding him, as each will be furiously fighting to convince him to play for them. Coming on in leaps and bounds during his loan in Ligue 1, a further testament to his success comes from the fact he currently sits fourth in the league scoring charts ahead of stars like Lionel Messi and Wissam Ben Yedder and behind only Jonathan David, Kylian Mbappe and former Gunners forward Alexandre Lacazette. Ligue 1 scoring charts this season Disciplined, dedicated to progressing his game and already so mature due to his experiences, expect the man who idolizes Mbappe, Thierry Henry and the Brazilian Ronaldo to keep getting better in time. Set to return to Arsenal at the resumption of the season, it'll be fascinating to see what role he plays for the Gunners next campaign or if another club tries to snap him up for big money. For now, though, his sole focus will be on continuing his remarkable form in France, where he's forcing many teams across Europe to stand up and take notice courtesy of his exceptional output at Reims. 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