The 36-year-old midfielder has moved into a centre-back role after Aberdeen‘s back-line was decimated by injuries. Skipper Brown has played at the heart of defense in an unbeaten run against Hearts, Rangers, and Hibs that has re-ignited the season. Brown looks set to start in the heart of a three centre-half back-line against Motherwell on Saturday as the Dons’ defensive injury woes continue.
In the 2-1 victory against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership, he again excelled in defense and then midfield. With seven points from a possible nine, against previously undefeated Hearts, league leaders Rangers, and Hibernian – the Reds were back in form but faced a minor setback when they lost to Motherwell. Elevated back into the top six with an impressive win at Pittodrie, the Reds had sent a warning to the Premiership top hitters that they are very much on track. It was a long time coming after a 10 game winless streak, but no change is painless.
Scott Brown has moved into a deeper role in the past few weeks. Initially playing as a defensive midfielder, Brown has started as a centre-back in the middle of a back three in the last three games. Brown’s heatmap indicates that he played a bit higher in his previous time as a defensive midfielder but has played deeper since his side has been packed with injuries.
Scott Brown thrives on the big stage and the pressure that comes with it, but still not many would have expected this to be the venue for his second goal in a red jersey. The Dons’ captain stole the show against Rangers when he met a Dylan McGeouch cross with a diving header to double his side’s lead after Christian Ramirez’s opener.
The above visual indicates the defensive actions for Scott Brown in the 21-22 season so far. It shows that most of his stats are better than the median league value. Brown has attempted 11.48 defensive actions per 90 minutes and has won 79.22% of these actions. He has played a defensive role for his team for a majority of the season, which is why moving to a deeper position was not much of a task to him, and can complete his defensive duties. He has attempted 7.08 loose ball duels per 90 minutes and lies in the 98% percentile for the same.
Brown has completed 164 recoveries in the 13 games he has played for Aberdeen. He has completed 12.23 recoveries per 90 minutes and is better than 94% of the players in the league for the same stat.
The Scottish midfielder has attempted a high number of duels in his half. Brown has attempted most of his loose ball duels in the opposition’s half and has won 47.37% of them. He has won most of his ground defending duels on the wider areas of the pitch and has the ability to cover up for his fellow defenders.
Ross McCrorie and David Bates have struggled for consistency in their performances this season, but Brown’s leadership steadied them for much of the game. It may not be his natural position, but Brown looked like a veteran centre-back. Barring the occasional positional glitch, he brought a calmness and composure to the backline.
The 36-year-old experienced midfielder has also attempted a high number of interceptions in his half and can stop most of the attacks that the opposition creates, as he can read the game well and can position himself accordingly. While playing as a midfielder, most of his interceptions were passes that the opposition players attempted, but while playing as a defender in the last few weeks, he has attempted a higher number of interceptions when the player is on the ball and trying to get past the defense.
Brown has brought a defensive calmness and confidence amidst an injury crisis. He has been pivotal in hauling the Dons out of their recent slump to spark a major resurgence in form. Brown’s undoubted desire to lead from the front and his appetite to win helps drive the team as he has been a fearless leader for them. Brown was handed the captain’s band by his manager in July, only months after signing him. He is ready to take up any responsibility that his manager wants him to for the team and leads the team by example.