After an absence of a few weeks, it’s time for the return of the loan watch! After previously featuring Connor Ronan, Christian Herc and Connor Johnson, we are going to an untapped country. Greece, to be precise. In the capital city of Athens, you will find a rather sizeable club by the name of Olympiacos. Playing for Olympiacos this season is none other than Wolves’ very own Roderick Miranda.
After being signed by Nuno last summer, Miranda fell down the pecking order after Ryan Bennett made the RCB place his own after presumably out-performing Miranda in training. With the arrival of Leander Dendoncker in August, it was thought best that Miranda went out on loan for the season, although don’t be surprised if he doesn’t return to the Black Country.
Anyway, while Miranda is still a Wolves player, he can still feature here, so let’s turn our attention to how Roderick got on in Olympiacos’ recent win over Lamia. Despite having played 45 times for Portugal’s various youth sides, Miranda has found himself somewhat of a bit-part player in the Greek Super League.
Miranda has only played 303 minutes in the league after 14 games. Yes, he’s featured slightly more in the Europa League, but you do have to wonder how good Miranda actually is if he’s struggling to get into Olympiacos’ starting XI.
In the game against Lamia, which was a routine 3-0 win, Miranda was heavily involved from the start. He played as the LCB in a back four. When he has played, there’s not been a great deal of consistency as to where he’s lined up, sometimes its RCB, sometimes its LCB. Ah well, I guess that’s what you get with loan spells. The below map shows Miranda’s (#25) average position and the players he linked up with most frequently. The darker the line, the bigger the interaction.
Roderick completed 84 out of a possible 87 passes or 97% dependant on how you want to look at it. Although Lamia (full name: PAS Lamia 1964) aren’t the toughest of opponents, the range of passing on offer from Roderick was fantastic. It wasn’t just short, simple passes as you would perhaps expect from a central defender. Once again, I ask you to look at the below image.
Lamia only got promoted to the Super League a couple of seasons previous, even still, Miranda’s pass map is most impressive. As opposed to focusing on his passing, we are going to magnify our attention on Roderick’s interceptions throughout the game. There are six in total. Some are rather mundane and a non-event so we’ll skip those, but we’ll look at one good, one bad and one wildcard.
While this may be filed under the ‘good’ section of this article, you could perhaps form an argument that Roderick Miranda’s positioning is slightly questionable. Look at the size of the gap between him and his centre-back partner, Cisse. Fortunately, Roderick picked up the ball and distributed it smartly.
Yes, we are looking at his passing after I said we weren’t going to bother. It’s a direct product of an interception, though, so technically I haven’t gone back on my word. Moving swiftly on… Roderick shifts the ball out wide before pushing on and receiving the ball back.
If he is going to come back to Wolves and play under Nuno, that’s a particularly important trait to have, so it’s good to see him demonstrating that. What happens next? Let’s find out.
Even though there’s a three-man triangular cluster in his way, Miranda remains calm and slides the ball through to Bouchalakis. Composure is something else that Nuno looks for. Miranda is seemingly ticking all the right boxes, for now. Emphasis on the ‘for now’ part as we are now moving onto the bad section.
As the lofted the ball is about to be played, Roderick needn’t worry about too much. Admittedly, he’s not the quickest player in the world, but if we look at the whole pitch, it’s hardly as if the ball is being played bang down the middle. Additionally, Cisse is in a position to cover him, should things go wrong. As the story goes, it was a good job Cisse was alert enough to react to what happens next.
If the Wolves loanee misses the ball, the Lamia man will be in a prominent position. Not immediately dangerous, but it wouldn’t take long for something to be conjured up, no doubt. So, if you’re Miranda, you just need to get some contact on it, wouldn’t you agree? He does just that. After watching it back several times over, I still can’t decide if Miranda knew what he was doing or not.
Instead of heading it towards the touchline, it either hits the back of his head or he intentionally head it centrally, right in the path of the oncoming Lamia forward.
Miranda’s only saving grace is a wonderful tackle by the Olympiacos player who is tracking back. If it wasn’t for him, Lamia would’ve had a clear shot on goal. It wasn’t just the header that was a cause for alarm as Miranda doesn’t sprint back to help out, just a brisk jog at best. The dashed arrow illustrates how far ahead the player he was marking is. Not the greatest Rod, not the greatest at all.
The good, the bad and the wildcard isn’t the sequel to the well-known film. The next action I’m about to show you isn’t defined well by ugly, so wildcard will have to suffice. Let’s have a little look.
Olympiacos threw everyone forward bar Miranda and Cisse as they searched for the fourth goal to boost their goal difference. Lamia’s furthest forward player has just picked the ball up. Miranda decides to close him down, despite the circled player maybe being in a better position to do so. As mentioned, Cisse is behind him so it’s not a total kamikaze mission, but even still. He had to win the ball. Had to.
If the two Lamia players followed the white lines and one ran onto a through ball from the other, Miranda & Olympiacos would be bang in trouble. Luckily, the Lamia forward opted to follow the red line and ran into a crowded corridor. Do you know who wouldn’t have made that mistake? A Premier League player. In the end, Miranda wins the ball back after the Lamia player tries too much. Fine margins. Fine margins, indeed.
So, even though Roderick played wonderfully well for Olympiacos, his rather erratic behaviour lets him down at times. Truth be told, it would take a massive upturn in form and many respects ability from him to return to WV1 in the summer and break into the Wolves squad. If Nuno’s side go in the direction that many are expecting, there would even be a debate as to whether Miranda would make the squad of 25, let alone the matchday squad. Regardless of what happens, Miranda can always say he played a part at the beginning of Nuno’s Black Country revolution.
Until the next time.
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