Scouting Report of St Etienne
The complexities and dynamic nature of many sports means that observation and measurement is needed to improve our understanding of performance (O'Donoghue, 2010). This is what has happened in this scouting report as analysis has been undertaken through observations and measurements such as notational analysis. The analysis that has been done has been on St Etienne FC and there forward passing throughout the whole game against Milsami FC which took place on 1st August 2013. This scouting report will show how St Etienne created shooting opportunities and scored goals through the way they passed the ball around and kept possession but then used the key attacking principals in order to create their chances. This report will also show how many passes St Etienne had prior to every goal and goal attempts and also what the key assists were for each attempt. The use of notational analysis was crucial in order to complete this report because when doing notational analysis it is quick and easy to do which is essential when watching a football game because it is always moving quickly, also it allows an easy way to mark everything and count everything up at the end (Hughes & Franks, 2004). Another advantage of notational analysis is that it provides a factual record which does not lie because as long as the methods of recording the data are reliable then the stats will always be right for what is required by the coach (Carling, Williams, & Reilly, 2007). When looking at passing it is important to understand the attacking principals of play set out in the FAs Future Game book. These attacking principals are: Support making sure there is a passing outlet always on for the teammate with the ball in order for ball retention. Movement to create opportunities for a pass or to use clever movement to dislodge defenders positions. Penetration the ability to break through the defensive line with accuracy, timing and deception of runs and/or passes. Dispersal being able as a team to create space for each other to either pass or run with the ball. Improvisation having the ability to do something different or unexpected whether that as an individual or team to eliminate opponents (FA, 2010). Throughout this report we will see how St Etienne applies these attacking principals in their performance.A very good attacking weapon for any team is a straight forward successful pass and when analysing any team is good to look through the passing checklist and to see where they need to work on or to see where they are dangerous when attacking (Hughes C. , 1990). There are five possible types of passes to use, going from the most lethal down, these are: Passes into space behind the defence can be a pass along the floor or in the air, this is a good pass to make as the defenders are most vulnerable because they may be pushed up to high leaving plenty of space in behind, also the defenders have got to turn around whereas the attacker is just running forwards and a defender could lose concentration. The second most effective pass is passing to feet a pass to the feet of the most advanced forward player, this is one of the most penetrative passes because it is played behind most of the opposition meaning they have to turn back and retreat. Another pass on the checklist is any other forward passes this is good because you want to play the ball past as many opponents as possible so you are eliminating each one and getting an overload for your team (Hughes C. , 1990). Switching the play when space is tight over one side of the pitch, this usually means there will plenty of space over the other side of the pitch, so switching the play will allow the chance of a 1v1 situation or even better an attacking overload (Hughes C. , 1990). The last resort on the passing checking is passing back passing back should only be done when there is no option of a forward pass and passing back will allow for the team to retain the ball and that teammate will have a better option going forward (Hughes C. , 1990). Attempted passesSuccessful PassesUnsuccessful PassesSuccess Rate %
Table 1. Number of passes made by St Etienne. 2nd Half3232863788.5
When playing football you cannot score a goal if you are not in possession of the football. This is where St Etienne were really good as they managed to keep hold of the ball very well and did not lose possession easily and passed the ball around with confidence and ease. As table 1 shows St Etienne had a pass success rate of 88% which meant that the passes that were made found their teammate successfully at a frequent rate which led to ball retention. By having ball retention they were able to keep the pressure on their opponents which would eventually lead to a shot at goal or a set play in a dangerous position. It also frustrated Milsami FC and pushed them back which led to a sending off for one of their players and also meant that whenever Milsami got the ball back and cleared it none of their teammates were up the pitch in an attacking position so therefore St Etienne could regain the ball easily and set up another attack on goal.
Figure 1. The direction of passes attempted throughout the match. As figure 1 shows the direction of passes that St Etienne attempted most throughout the match was forward. This is good because if we remember the passing checklist from earlier then the most lethal passes are the passes that are forward (Hughes C. , 1990). However the graph also shows that St Etienne were not afraid to go backwards if it meant that they were able to keep possession and then build the attack up again from deep. Of the 299 attempted forward passes 250 of them were successful which is a pass success rate of 83.6% so this shows that they like to play football and they try to get forward at every occasion they can and they try to break down defences by playing balls behind them whether that be through balls or lofted balls over the top. Obviously the player cannot pass the ball forward without the support of his teammates (Charles, 1998 ), what St Etienne did very well was that there was constant movement and with them playing a 4-3-3 formation it allowed a lot space in between the defence and midfield especially with the striker playing on the last man and pushing the defence back. The space available was exploited well by number 10 who was Cohade who would pick up pockets of space in between the two lines and if he was not there then sometimes one of the wingers would come in from his wing and pick up this space which meant they always had a penetrative pass on beyond the midfield and allowed that player to turn and run at the defence of Milsami or play a ball forward to a more advanced teammate.
Figure 3. Picture of the 1st goal.Figure 2. The type of pass attempted by St Etienne. Throughout the whole game St Etienne tried a variation of passes to try and break down the Milsami defence. St Etienne tried 17 cross field switches of play throughout the whole game in order to change the area of attack and to try and exploit 1v1 situations because they had their wingers in plenty on space. Once the play was switch then the wingers would either drive at the full backs or would cut inside for a shot at goal. Both the centre backs Bayal and Perrin switched the ball with ease and they did it on a regular occasion so when playing St Etienne the team should press high allowing them less time on the ball and giving them more pressure so they make mistakes. St Etienne attempted 66 long passes, which consisted of mainly lofted passes and cross field switches but also driven passes along the floor, they had 49 which were successful leading to a success rate of 74.2%. A strength of St Etienne was the way in which they were successful at switching the point of attack and changing the side they were attacking very quickly which in fact led to the first goal. As figure 3 shows we can see how Milsami had set up with two banks of four defending which were narrow leaving plenty of space for the centre half to run into with the ball which is what happened here for the goal. The centre half Bayal switched the ball to the winger who was in space due to the narrow defending this then allowed the winger plenty of space to attack the defender and deliver a cross which gave the striker an easy opportunity to score which he took.
Figure 5. Possible runs to help support play. Figure 4. Breakdown of every cross and what the outcome was. Overall St Etienne attempted 50 crosses which include 9 corners and 5 free kicks which were crossed into the box. Crossing the ball is a bit of a weakness for St Etienne as they only had a success rate of 32%. Against a better defending team then they that may have been lower and it is something that they could do with working on so they become more of a threat in the air and can score more goals as it would be a different aspect to their game. As we can see from figure 4 it gives us an idea of the outcome to each cross. 44% of the crosses delivered were cleared by the defenders, this shows us that the delivery was not reaching its target but it can also show us that St Etienne need to work on getting their midfield players up in support of the attacker and to get more numbers in the box to give the crosser more of an option when crossing which would leads to an increase in the crosses reaching the desired target. Out of the 16 crosses that were cleared (excluding corners and free kicks) 43.7% of the time there was only one teammate in the box to aim for and 50% of the time there was two teammates to aim for. When there were two players in the box it was mainly the opposite winger tucking in, so if St Etienne could work on an extra midfielder bursting into the box then they will have a higher success rate as they will have extra bodies attacking the ball. When we think of the attacking principals then support is a crucial principal so that the person on the ball always has an option and the team can retain the ball (FA, 2010).
The number of passes prior to each goal scored is shown in figure 6. What the graph shows about St Etienne is that they can be patient and pass the ball around from back to front and wait for the right opportunity to score a goal. This is shown by the fact that for two of the goals there was 10 passes made prior to the goal. However it also shows that St Etienne can catch opponents out with quick play as for their other goal it only took one pass for them to break through and score. So when playing St Etienne it is important not to switch off as they can score by keeping possession for long periods or they can score by quick sharp play. When looking at the second goal we can also see where the attacking principals are used as Brandao the striker had to use improvisation in order to make the assist as he had to chest the ball and kick it back over his head for the supporting teammate (FA, 2010).
Figure 7. The number of passes prior to each Goal attempt. Figure 6. The number of passes made prior to each goal scoredWe can also look at the number of passes made prior to every attempt on goal for St Etienne and what it shows is a popular trend to the goals scored. The number of passes prior to each goal attempt are fairly well spread out ranging from 0 passes to13 but there are two numbers which occur the most and these are goal attempts with only one pass and goal attempts that had 8 passes made beforehand. This once again shows that St Etienne can either be patient and keep the ball while waiting for the right opportunity to have a strike on goal or they can create chances by one pass which catches teams out because they do not expect the ball to be played so early and quickly. If teams have the skill to sustain possession, they have a greater chance of creating a shooting opportunity (Hughes & Franks, 2005)
Figure 8. The Zones where the ball was regained for Goals (in blue) and Goals attempts (in red) The area of the pitch where possession was regained leading to goals and goal attempts are shown in Figure 8. Once possession of the ball has been lost, the players immediately seek to rebuild defensively and perform coordinated group actions aimed at recovering the ball from the rival (BURACZEWSKI, 2013) 8 of the goal attempts came from possession which was regained in the opposition half and so did two of the goals. This shows that St Etienne like to press high and regain the ball as quick as they can after losing the ball. By doing this they are putting a lot of pressure on the opponents which leads them to Figure 9. Example of how St Etienne press. clearing the ball and then they can regain the ball in their own half. As the example at figure 9 shows, we see how the team press from the front and do not allow the opposition to play out from the back and everyone is ready to press even if he manages to find a pass out from the back. Due to the high pressing of this certain example the ball was just cleared up the pitch and St Etienne could just regain the ball and start the attack up straight again. This Figure 10. Another example of St Etienne pressing.next example (figure 10) shows how the team react as soon as they lose the ball and it clearly shows how they all hunt for the ball and want to regain possession as quickly as they can. It proves how it is all a team effort as well with the centre midfielders ready to press the ball if the ball gets through and not to let them have an easy way out. Looking through the whole game we can pick out certain strengths and weaknesses of St Etienne. Some of the strengths are that they switch the side of attack very well and they find their man most of the time when doing cross field switches. The advantage that a cross field switch has is that the ball can be played over a considerable distance quickly which gives defenders little time to react (Charles, 1998 ). Another strength of St Etienne is how when out of possession they press high and quickly in order to regain possession as soon as possible. By pressing high and quickly then the opposition are more likely to make mistakes in attacking positions or give the ball back straight away. The centre defensive midfielder (19 Guilavogul) looks very comfortable on the ball and all the play seems to go through him to set up attacks. He is happy to drop back in between the centre backs when they split and receive the ball from there. Both of the wingers for St Etienne like to attack the opposition full back and get into crossing areas to cross the ball. They are also both happy to switch sides and become inverted wingers and cutting inside which either leads to an inswinging cross or a shot. When cutting in it leaves plenty of space for a teammate to make an overlapping run and get in around the back of the defence. Some weaknesses of St Etienne are that they their crosses fail to reach a teammate on a regular basis so they need to work on crossing and getting the right delivery into the box as well as more supporting players. Throughout the match St Etienne struggled to make a penetrative pass in the final third of the pitch to really trouble Milsami, most of their chances came from either crosses or the wingers cutting inside and shooting. They should work on through balls behind the defenders and penetrating the defence to get in behind and have a better chance of a 1v1 against the goalkeeper and scoring. One more weakness is that they were quite slow on the counter attack especially in the second when the game became more stretched and Milsami had a man sent off. If they could become quicker on the counter by playing quick sharp passes and running with the ball then they will have a better chance of scoring and picking teams apart especially teams with more quality.
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