Abzi played in the Ligue de Soccer Elite Quebec for Salaberry before moving to the established Blainville in the Premiere League Soccer du Quebec in 2018, before finally being snapped up by York 9 to form part of one of the squads in the newly formed league nationwide.
Here is a scout report on the young Canadian left back.
Diyaeddine Abzi has a very nice touch to the ball and knows how to control it well. This is easily where he’s most comfortable, despite being a very balanced player overall.
His crossing is superb as he has a slightly above average crossing percentage. He is definitely able to put a ball into the box from out wide. He puts in 4.23 crosses per game on average and wins about 34% of those.
Just to put into perspective, some of the best full backs in the world can struggle to get those numbers. Trent Alexander-Arnold only has 31% in 5.48 crosses. While Trent is in a much higher quality league, he is deemed as one of the better crossers in the world and this could make it a fair comparison.
However, to compare it with someone else in the Canadian Premier League, we can look towards Morey Doner, his opposing full back at York 9.
Morey has a similar crossing percentage of 34% but with less crosses at only 3.1. These are the overall stats counting since the start of 2019. If we only look at 2020, Abzi is the most successful crosser of the ball in the league with a 50% success rate. Though this is a much smaller sample size as it’s only been 3 games.
Diyaeddine Abzi is also very competent when it comes to dribbling. He puts a decent effort each game and has 7.22 dribbles per 90. He makes about 52% of those, which is another stupidly high total.
There aren’t a ton of examples of great dribblers in the Canadian Premier League, Zach Verhoeven has so far in 2020 put in the most dribbles in the league per 90. Taking a look as his total going back to 2019 as well, he puts in 11.28 dribbles and wins 51% of those.
Once again though, this could be seen as an unfair example as Zach has a higher sample size. So to someone who has a similar sample, Victor Blasco puts in 8.07 dribbles per game and completes about 50%. While Abzi’s total isn’t at the very top like his crossing, he’s quite near it and it’s proven that he knows how to play around defenders.
This is definitely the weakest point in Abzi’s game. He’s great when going forward and has a knack for always getting involved in the attack in the way his manager Jim Brennan wants him to do so, however he doesn’t always track back like he’s supposed to.
To begin with a positive note, he averages 2.46 progressive runs per game. These are usually overlapping runs as York 9 plays a lot through the full backs. Here you can see his overall heat map.
As you can see, he owns that left side of the pitch and always plays a balanced game both when his team are with the ball or without it.
That said, he does struggle to track back and can leave a huge open space on the opponents right side when they transition from defence to attack quickly after York 9 lose the ball. That’s the biggest flaw in Diyaeddine Abzi’s game. His positioning is poor, though this mostly applies to opponent counters rather than coming from a slow attack.
He does average 6.85 interceptions per game which is quite high for a full back and shows he’s got anticipation. However, this doesn’t change that he can be lazy when having to position himself.
Back to a more positive note, here is an example of Abzi’s overlapping game.
While his team is out on the right side of the pitch creating the attack there, Atletico Ottawa draw into a narrow formation to defend their current lead and avoid losing their shape.
However, this gives Diyaeddine a perfect opportunity break out wide and go right into the open space ready to receive a long pass from his teammate.
As you can see he clearly exploited the narrow formation and instantly became a danger for York 9 out of nothing.
Diyaeddine Abzi uses his pace to beat his marker and run into open space, to which his teammate is able to execute an overlapping pass and create a progressive chance.
Diyaeddine Abzi isn’t the leader of his team, but he is determined and consistent. He rarely puts in a different performance from the last. He’s had few awful games and few spectacular ones for his own standard, but he gets the job done and knows how to keep his head up. He also gets very few yellow cards and hasn’t been sent off yet in his professional career.
Diyaeddine Abzi is fast. He has good acceleration and pace and while he could definitely be a little bit stronger, he is physically apt for a professional league. He is a balanced player and has an OK ability to turn, though his physique is mostly his pace and acceleration.
Abzi is 22, and it’s hard to judge Canadian Premier League footballers as a whole as the standard of the league is still up in the air. However, there’s one thing that isn’t in doubt so far and it’s that the league has begun exporting footballers.
Early days Abzi could easily play for one of the Canadian MLS sides. Montreal Impact would be perfect for him. From there jury is out to know if he can play in Europe, but he has the consistency, physique and technical ability to hold his own anywhere.