The Desert Foxes are well set in goal with Rais M’Bohli who is a pretty good keeper. Probably the biggest question mark surrounding Algeria is in defence. Faouzi Ghoulam is an excellent attacking left back and their standout star, but does like to venture forwards a lot, potentially leaving gaps. The rest of the backline doesn’t convince me at all and they could be vulnerable, especially against some of the big physical centre forwards. Algeria are a strong technical team and their midfield looks decent enough, spearheaded by the likes of Adlene Guedioura & Nabil Bentaleb.
It’s in the final third of the field where Algeria possess their best players. Ryad Mahrez & Islam Slimani need no introductions. Both will be crucial to their chances of going deep in this competition. Slimani especially has a superb record for his country, scoring a goal every other game for the Desert foxes. Lining up on the other wing may well be Yacine Brahimi, an excellent technician who is sadly often injured. He should start this competition at full fitness though and is definitely one to watch, potentially contributing a lot. With Rachid Ghezzal & Soudani offering other options going forward, Algeria are well set in this department.
Draw & outlook
Algeria will be one of, if not the best technical side in the competition. However, I’m not so sure they are particularly well built to win an African Nations Cup, certainly in this part of the continent. I never fully trust the pitches in a competition like this one and it might not suit their style. The other problem is matching up to some of the physical brutes that nations like Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon & Ivory Coast produce. They have to deal with a strong looking Senegal in Group B, and also their north African rivals Tunisia. Progression into the knockout phase could see a matchup against host nation Gabon, or Cameroon who would be no pushovers. So Algeria aren’t in an easy section of the draw but if their individuals like Mahrez and Slimani perform well, then the potential is there to go deep. I think they’ll be one of the most exciting teams in the competition. But that sort of style doesn’t always mean success in an African Nations and I have a feeling they’ll exit at either the quarter or semi final stage.
Group prediction: 2nd
Overall prediction: Quarter final elimination