Projections: Sheffield United's Anel Ahmedhodžić

Blitz report and projections on Sheffield United's Anel Ahmedhodzic

Projections: Sheffield United's Anel Ahmedhodžić
Anel Ahmedhodžić

After attending the Carnegie Mellon University's Sports Analytics Conference (CMUStats) last year, I became intrigued by football's center back (CB) crisis [1].

The problem statement is simple. I argue that, without reliable metrics to project their performance, CBs are less likely to make the jump their quality warrants. Teams, instead, insure themselves by taking punts from 'bigger teams.'

While the industry finds a workaround, I am doing my own (small) part by spotlighting a CB, Anel Ahmedhodžic, who I suppose has the grit to play at a UCL-competing club next season; his team, Sheffield United, has just been relegated from the English Premier League.

[1] This interest was sparked by a conversation with Sarah Rudd, co-founder of src ftbl and former head of analytics at Arsenal.

This essay you are about to read is extrapolated from a tweet Archive [May 8, 2023], updated at time of publication.

This essay is not a comprehensive scouting report; some sections of the framework listed below will not be discussed.

See example for a report that covers all aspects of our prescribed framework:

Projections: Manchester United’s Amad Diallo
Blitz report and projections on Manchester United’s Amad Diallo.

Welcome to Projections, a BallerzBantz series.

This is the framework we will use to BLITZ through Anel's game and make projections:

  • Biography
  • Position
  • Physical Profile
  • Temperament
  • Functional Base [2]
  • Target Clubs (not part of base framework)
  • Settled Attack (omitted)
  • Settled Defence (omitted and integrated in functional base)
  • Attacking Transitions
  • Defensive Transitions
  • Set-pieces
  • Projections

[2] – usage adapted from @nonewthing on X–formerly Twitter


  • Anel Ahmedhodžić is a Bosnian professional footballer born on March 26, 1999, in Malmö, Sweden.
  • He began his football journey with Malmö FF, his hometown club, before making a significant move to Nottingham Forest in 2016. After frequent coaching changes and limited first-team opportunities, he returned to Malmö in 2019.
  • Eligible as a homegrown player (via time at Nottingham Forest) in England.


  • Primary: Center-Back (CB)
  • Secondary: Can also operate across a back-three: Right Center-Back (RCB), Left Center-Back (LCB), Central Center-Back (CCB)..

Physical Profile

  • Height and Build: 195 cm, tall and slender frame.
  • Agility: Acrobatic for his size, comfortable falling into slide tackles and contorting his body when challenging in the air.
  • Defensive Mobility: Great synergy with his frame when defending wide, which aids in covering larger areas.
  • Speed and Pace:
    • Over Long Distances: Rapid across longer distances. Strong in recovery situations.
    • Short Bursts: Light and quick on his feet. Translates to great footwork when jockeying and defending 1v1s.
  • Reach: Extensible legs and hands in duels. Uses his hands well in duels and can claw the ball against fleeing runners – while retaining his balance.
Anel Ahmedhodžić's Frame (from 22/23 season)


  • Defensive Engagement: Aggressive. High engagement, often commits early (and successfully) when jockeying attackers.
  • Ball Usage: Shows a propensity for carrying the ball into midfield, indicating a preference for involvement in play build-up.
  • Attacking nous: Demonstrates smart positioning and awareness, capable of making third-man runs in offense if the role affords it.
  • Leadership: Appointed captain amid other established, older options, which suggests that he carries himself well in the dressing room. Sign of coach's trust.

Functional Base

  • In Possession:
    • Ball Handling: Makes clean contact with the ball and possesses strong delivery from the half-space. Slender build and great balance allows him to disguise passes while maintaining a neutral or upright orientation.
    • Ball Carrying: Decisive while carrying the ball. Maintains a tight circle on the run and reliably pierce oppositions lines.
  • Technical Skills:
    • Comfort with Both Feet: Comfortable making tackles and interventions off either foot.
  • Role Profiling:
    • Powerful, dynamic center back with light feet and tremendous offensive upside. Enthusiastically covers space. Equipped to lead a backline.

Target Clubs

His versatile defending style and capability in possession make him a valuable asset, particularly for teams aiming to compete on multiple fronts.

  • Bournemouth and Fulham: Who may be looking to replace outgoing center-backs (Kelly and Tosin respectively).
  • Clubs in European Competition: Clubs involved in European tournaments next season would benefit from his adaptability. His ability to perform under pressure and versatility in defensive roles makes him a strong starting – at worst, depth – option.
  • Teams looking to Supplement their RHS Dynamics: Ahmedhodžić's game can insure the impact of adjacent players, especially full-backs. He can advance play in a manner akin to fullbacks.
  • West Ham: Who anticipate changes in their coaching or tactical approaches in upcoming season. A defender like Ahmedhodžić, who can adapt quickly could be a great pick. Great option to evolve and stabilize their defensive line.

Settled Defence

Remember, Defence encompasses both active effort (tackles, direct duels) and passive effort (creating options, relieving pressure, outlet play)

  • Defensive Execution: Strong in one-on-one situations, acrobatic tackling ability aids in effective contesting of the ball.
Anel making a challenge on Chelsea's Nico Jackson.

Attacking Transitions

  • Decision Making: Intelligent in occupying spaces and engaging in offensive movements.
  • Versatility: Shows a high propensity to integrate into midfield, enhancing fluidity in transitions.

Defensive Transitions

  • Pressing and Tackling: Effective at early commitment in defensive engagements, utilizing his agility and anticipation.
  • Recovery: Superb recovery defender. Plenty power in his hips to match and displace on-coming attackers. Especially impressive when contesting side-on-side.

Set-pieces (Attacking and Defending)

  • Offensive Contribution: By his turn of pace, agility off the jump, and guileful movement, strong option when able to attack the ball.
  • Defensive Contribution: Reliable zonal defender. Small chinks in his man-to-man marking – especially blindside coverage. Can misplace his man in chaos.


  • Potential Fit: With his strength on the carry and wide 1v1 defence, he is strong fit for team just culturing a more expansive buildup style OR settled teams looking for on-ball dynamism in their backline.

What Next?

If you enjoyed this, consider subscribing to BallerzBantz, following us on Twitter, and sharing this with someone.

Join us to stay ahead and contribute to our burgeoning community.

Who's the Writer?

Joel A. Adejola is an undergraduate at the University of Kansas (KU), where he studies Engineering and Philosophy.