The Confederations Cup is less than 2 months away with 2 World Cup Qualifying games in between. This includes the Clasico against the US at the Azteca. It would be a good time to check on how Mexico's key players are wrapping up their club seasons.
Seeing as how he is captain, Andres Guardado is a great place to start. He is the engine of PSV and the anchor of their attack. The same can be said about his role with El Tri. There is an evident drop in play whenever he is off the field for Mexico (2nd half against the US). Luckily that injury was minor and he has been firing on all cylinders for PSV since. The Eindhoven club is currently in 3rd place, 3 points behind Ajax for a Champions League playoff spot. This is coming off winning back to back league titles in Guardado’s first 2 years in the Netherlands. The move to PSV was a rebirth for Guardado. No longer is he a winger blazing down the sidelines but rather a central midfielder setting the pace of the game.
Before his move to PSV, he was coming off a poor loan spell with Bayer Leverkusen where he was predominantly playing at left back. Valencia loaned him out to PSV for 1 year. The Atlas product eventually signed a permanent 3 year deal after being named the Eredivisie Player of the Year by the biggest newspaper and soccer magazine in the country. But that was 2 years ago, how is he doing now?
Let that video be proof that he is probably playing the best soccer of his career. WhoScored has Andres Guardado as the 4th highest rated player in the Eredivisie with a 7.73 rating. This is coming off a season where he finished 6th with a 7.52 rating on WhoScored. He has improved every year since arriving in the Eredivisie and become more involved in PSV’s offense. Mastering the role of deep-lying playmaker. Most games, he sits right in front of the centerbacks and is the beginning of the attack. His 71.3 passes per 90 mins are 4th in the league and show just how much PSV rely on the Mexican skipper. Unlike Hector Moreno’s 71 passes per game, el Principito’s tend to affect the scoreboard. His 2.8 key passes per game are 3rd in a league where every team attacks. With 2 games left in the season, Guardado has matched last season’s total of 9 assists. His total ranks 4th highest in the league. Not bad, considering he had 0 in his first season at PSV.
His playmaking ability has been on full display this season and it bodes well for Mexico. El Tri have struggled when teams bunker down, winning ugly games where they are clearly the better team. Guardado can be important when trying to unlock those 5 and 6 man back lines that have given Mexico trouble. He gives Juan Carlos Osorio options in the midfield. A healthy and in form Guardado will be huge for Mexico if they want to make some noise and get a top 3 finish in Russia this Summer.
How do you think Guardado has been playing heading into the Summer?