The Russian Premier League presented the audience with many discoveries at the start of the season. Some footballers have shown themselves from a new side. “Wings” delighted the fans with a bombarding flair and incredible beauty goals from Alexander Sobolev. Perestroika in Rubin under the leadership of Roman Sharonov brought talented Georgian youth to Kazan, represented by Khvichi Kvaratskhelia and Beka Mikeltadze. Finally, Grzegorz Krychowiak spends one of the best seasons at Loko. The weekly Football tells how the midfielder managed to restart his own career in just a year.
Perhaps the most revealing episode characterizing the game of the 29-year-old midfielder happened in the 4th round match with Krylya Samara. At the very end of the meeting, the top scorer of Volzhan Alexander Sobolev, with a spectacular blow of the rally, equalized the score, it would seem, already in a lost meeting.
Believing in their own strength, the owners rushed into another attack. The prospect of taking three points literally turned off the Samarans from the game for a while, allowing the opponent to run away in the last seconds in a lightning-fast counterattack.
It is noteworthy that in the 94th minute Krykhovyak became the main command engine in the attack. In three assists, Loko cut the Wings’ defense, bringing Rifat Zhemaletdinov to a shock position. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Grzegorz ran 80 meters in a parallel course and watched for a rebound from Sergei Ryzhikov. And this is after an hour and a half spent on the field.
The Polish national team midfielder gnaws balls in almost every single combat, demonstrating incredible endurance and charge. The Pole is ready to play out every episode to the end, sometimes at risk for himself.
Indeed, sometimes Grzegorz can get an extra yellow card for an overly active fight or a sharp tackle. However, by these actions, he saves the team from potentially scoring counterattacks of opponents, thereby cleaning up after teammates.
If we take into account the previous clubs of Krychy, then in none of them, be it PSG, West Bromwich or Reims, has he shown such performance in all seasons. But in the current RPL championship, only a third of the matches have been played. During this time, the 29-year-old footballer has already scored 4 goals and gave 2 assists.
Even in the most successful club for himself – Sevilla – the Polish midfielder has not scored so much for the entire season, not to mention the start of La Liga. If you look at the full statistics of the midfielder’s performance throughout his career, another curious detail emerges. In all teams, Krykhovyak was used exclusively as a destroyer.
Unsurprisingly, over the past 6 years, he has scored fewer goals than assisted. But even in not the most successful periods of his career, he managed to cut out flying gears for 40 meters. But not every defensive player has such a long-range pass accuracy.
For example, in the last match with Orenburg, the Pole made a filigree parachute for Dmitry Barinov, which allowed the guests to open an account. This component already affects the player’s versatility, for which head coach Yuri Semin values him so much.
In the current Premier League draw, Krykha has transformed from a pivotal midfielder, aimed primarily at destructive actions, into a box-to-box player, acting from his own penalty area to someone else’s.
Moreover, the player has enough strength for successful actions both from behind and in the front line. If in the last RPL draw in the Krykhovyak / Barinov pair, both players performed adjacent roles, then at the beginning of this, Grzegorz’s role vanished into its uncertainty.
He may also be on the offensive edge, with an average of 2.9 shots per game plus 85.4% accuracy of sharpening passes. And also to work out together with the central defenders in defense: hence the sometimes unforced cards from the referees.
And in the opening match of the Champions League against Bayer, he ended up in the place of the left midfielder – in the position of the injured Anton Miranchuk. Constantly shifting to the center, it was Krychowiak, paired with João Mario, who pushed the opponents under pressure, forcing them to make a fatal loss of the ball, after which Grzegorz with the transfer of the Portuguese left, in fact, one on one with the goalkeeper and scored from an acute angle.
Among other things, the Pole adds his credibility on the field not only with his work with the ball, but also with his emotional behavior on the field. He can shout at the younger players for making mistakes, but sometimes he also complains to the captain of the “railroad workers” – Vedran Corluka.
There are no untouchables for the Polish midfielder – everyone pays for mistakes. The midfielder’s uncompromising attitude allows young Dmitry Barinov to progress, who has already been noticed by the head coach of the national team Stanislav Cherchesov.
As a result, the Russian midfielder has made tangible progress in his vision of the game over the year, becoming one of the most promising new generation defensive midfielders in the country. And his athletic impudence (in a good sense of the word) indicates that this is only the beginning, because the Loko midfielder turned 23 at the beginning of September.
More freedom – more results
In Moscow, Grzegorz finally had the necessary freedom of action. It became even more with the forced absence of the Miranchuk brothers in the application. Alexey and Anton were injured, as a result of which they dropped out of the squad for several weeks.
But, oddly enough, even this incident played into the hands of Muscovites. With the departure of the twins, Yuri Semin rebuilt the system formally for three supporting midfielders, varying the alignment in the central triangle (Krykhovyak – Murilo – Barinov).
Railroad workers rarely use an aggressive three-striker formation. Nevertheless, it was Semin’s tactical risk in the match against Bayer that benefited the Muscovites in the form of an important away victory.
The Red-Greens literally crushed the rivals’ defense led by Sven Bender with powerful pressure, forcing the German defenders to make mistakes over and over again. One of such gross oversights on the part of the Finnish goalkeeper Lukasz Hradecki decided the outcome of the meeting at the Bai Arena. And the role of Grzegorz in the continuous pressure on the Leverkusen team in this match was difficult to overestimate.
As a result, the head coach of Loko solved two problems at once: he found a place for the Brazilian newcomer Murilo (he is still unconvincing in defense), plus duplicated the positions of the brothers, thereby expanding the possibilities of the existing cage of players.
The situation with Krykhovyak is somewhat reminiscent of the case with another talent, which Yuri Semin helped to reveal. Portuguese midfielder Manuel Fernandes also got his chance at the club due to his greater flexibility in positioning.
By allowing the Portuguese to move along the full length of the midline, Semin turned him into the playmaker, which the midfielder has always strived for. And after that Manu became not only the leader of the “red-greens”, but also one of the highest quality legionnaires in the Premier League.
In the case of Grzegorz, we are not talking about the role of a free artist. Nevertheless, within the boundaries of the support zone, the head coach allows the Pole to move forward. And Grzegorz has already repaid the 72-year-old specialist with the same coin for his trust.
This season Krykha plays not only for himself. It is noticeable that he came to Moscow not only to fulfill his contractual obligations, but also to bring his career qualitatively out of the peak, in which, in fact, she was in recent years at PSG and West Bromwich.
You see this level of dedication not from every foreign footballer in the Russian championship. And taking into account the new restrictions on foreign players in the application, the summer deal with the Parisians to buy out the 29-year-old Pole can be considered as hitting the top ten for the selection service of Lokomotiv.