I guess you could call this something like a scout report on a match a player is in, although scouts are expected to look at multiple players in a game so for real-life scouts this kind of thing, I imagine, is totally unfeasible.
I split a centre-back’s qualities up (the ones *I* think you should look for at least), although these overlap. Awareness feeds into positioning, as does decision making, and all three of these feed into how a player can overcome any deficiencies they may have in speed or strength departments). There’s no reason to the order of them, this one just means I can remember it better.
Jores Okore (vs Leicester City, 16/01/16)
Ball-playing; Positioning; Awareness; Decision-making/fundamental errors; Strength and Speed (/how they overcome it)
Nothing particularly of note. As ridiculous as this sounds, the movement of his body as he passed looked smooth, as did the ball as it left his foot – which is important because I think a bouncing ball can be a real hindrance. I have a belief that getting the ball flat, rolling on the pitch instead of it bouncing and bobbling around is a fairly important marginal gains area. At one point early in the match it did seem like the Villa midfield were reluctant to pass the ball to the centre-backs, but other than that there’s nothing much to speak of.
Okore’s positioning in this match, at times, made it apparent why there was some talk about him being a quite a good player a while ago. A movement early on, making himself available for a pass from a right-back under some pressure, was promising, even if he wasn’t used, or even considered.
In relation to opposition, it was generally ok, though there was little of note (this basically means that he was what you might call serviceable, nothing too great but nothing too bad either). There was one fairly ok piece of positioning during a Leicester break when he kept in a good place to cut off any pass to Vardy, though it was relatively simple.
On the other hand, there was a moment when he seemed to underestimate Danny Drinkwater’s ability to see and make a relatively easy pass, though I think this was partly a speed issue, which will be mentioned later.
I think I see ‘awareness’ as how a player reacts to things that are outside their direct line of sight, particularly to other players’ movement. In this match there weren’t that many opportunities for this to be showcased/tested as Leicester tend to play on the counter coming at you, instead of behind your shoulder. There were a couple of moments when, conceivably, a pass in behind him could have been exploited or he didn’t seem quite aware of where players were behind him, such as this example, though I could be being picky.
His positioning seems ok regarding Okazaki in front of him, but I get the feeling Vardy could have slipped away behind him to get some easy space had a different pass been played.
He was largely serviceable in this area (as most players are, this is mainly looking at a defender’s drawbacks) though there were a couple of notable moments. The least glaring of the two was a clearance against Drinkwater in the late stages of the match. Of course, when things go wrong it generally looks like a bad decision, but the risk/reward balance of this attempted pass was too much towards the risk side for me.
Earlier in the match, though, Okore contributed largely to the Leicester penalty. Not only did he charge out over-enthusiastically, he borderline fouled the player, AND THEN compounded this by waiting, as if this would make the referee less likely to punish him which led to Okazaki getting ahead of him. Had he not hesitated, he may have been able to cut out the cross that led to the pen.
He charged into a tackle in a similar manner later in the game, in the 71st minute, too.
Strength and speed (/how they overcome it)
Okore only really had one notable instance in which to show his strength, which he did against Vardy quite well.
His speed, mismatched badly against the aforementioned striker, was a problem throughout the match. He couldn’t keep up, though I believe that Vardy is of a speed where there are few who would. However, whether through an instruction to keep a high line or through deficiencies of his own, Okore was generally unable to do anything to combat this.
You’ll I haven’t put any introductions or conclusions in it, though the only extent to which I was thinking of doing this was maybe doing a little subjective score at the end, both in terms of the match performance itself and in terms of ‘what I see in the player’ (in quote marks because that sounds pretentious). For example, I think Okore probably only deserves a 5/10 for the game, but maybe a 6/10 for the other score.
If you’ve any comments or suggestions feel free to let me know. I tried highlighting Okore for the start of each gif, but I’m not sure if I did so for long enough for it to be obvious, so let me know what you think on that front. Also, someone said they were having trouble with the gifs loading; I’ve changed the first two to smaller file versions so let me know how they all work for you
Thanks for reading