The last article I did where I introduced you to my Enganches and showed what they did during a game proved very popular. I said if people were interested I’d do an Enganche comparison for both players who play the role and show you how differently they interpret that role. So this is that article. What I’ll do is just focus on one match for now as I don’t want to ramble on for too long. So I’ll take one match from the current season I’m in (I’m only 4 games into the season anyway) for both players and show below how they differ.
Try to bear in mind that the following screenshots are good for a quick overview but lack any kind of context. That will be added when we look at the analysis of players in a match and see how they play. However these statistics are good for seeing if a pattern is emerging and we can learn a bit from them. But they have no substantial meaning without actual context from a match though. So don’t let them fool you into ‘knowing’ how they play based on these statistics alone.
I’ll not list their attributes again because they’re the same as in the previous article. The only player preferred move Lucas Lima has is tries killer balls often. Paulo doesn’t have any at all.
These are the average heat maps from both games I’ve selected to analyse.
These differ quite a bit and you’ll notice that Paulo actually plays more centrally, he seems more static in terms of his position. However these heat maps and average positions can be misleading without actual context to them, which we will touch upon in the analysis further down.
These are the passes received;
These two screenshots are interesting because it shows that Lima is being used more in the final third compared to Paulo who is being used a lot deeper. So already we are seeing a big difference with the stats and how their team mates are seemingly using them both.
These are the passes completed;
Again we see some differences here again. The passes completed tend to mirror the heat maps above which you would expect. One big difference though is the passing ranged/length. Lima completes a lot longer passes in comparison. Paulo seems more focused on the shorter range ones. That’s why over a season he has the better passing completed percentage because it’s normally simple passes. Were as Lima will try the difficult ones time and time again. Paulo is better for a possession based game and Lima better at unlocking defences with his passing range.
And these are the key passes for both players;
Lucas Lima had the more key passes but that doesn’t necessarily mean Paulo was less effective. It might have been to do with the players who played with him, they might not have been taking the same position up as they normally might. Or it could be in fact something to do with the individual player. The only way we know for sure is to look at the game to find out.
Let’s delve deeper into actual match analysis now and see if we can notice the differences in play.
This is where Lucas Lima positions himself in these kind of areas. They’re not always central though, it can be anywhere across the pitch but normally they all start this deep after we turn possession over and spring back into attack.
Diogo on the left goes past his man and now Lucas Lima is inside the box and a real goal threat. In the end this move comes to very little but it shows what a goal threat Lima can be at times in this game.
In this screenshot he has just picked the ball up in the centre and he is already looking to play it first time to the on running inside forward. I’m quite narrow here because the ball has just come from the right side of the pitch deep in my own half.
If you remember originally I used a trequartista but found the inside forward was isolated and that’s why I switched. Already in the two examples so far we can see he is now more involved. The above two screenshot shows the two linking up again. Once Lima passed the ball to Diogo he is sprinting forward getting into the box again and if Diogo was more intelligent he could play him in here so he could shoot.
This time we see him appear on the left side but he’s using the full pitch to stretch the opposition because he receives the ball then immediately looks to do a long-range pass to the other flank, which he succeeds in doing. There’s a high chance that this is down to his PPM yet again.
Here we have him slightly to the left supporting Diogo again. However this time, he is deep compared to the attackers and supportive players in the side who have gone beyond him. When this happens it means Lucas Lima has plenty of passing options and because he attempts a whole variety of passing ranges any one of these options is a realistic one. He could decide to keep it simple or try the more difficult one and stretch play by playing it to the player on the right hand side of the pitch. It’s moments like this that make his PPM interesting and can change the course of a game with one pass. It creates space, it creates movement, both of those any good tactic should have in abundance.
It’s moments like this where you can tell he is the heartbeat of attacks in the final third. He is central to all six players here whether they be more advanced than him or if they are slightly deeper than him. He has options here both behind and in front. He also has time to turn on the ball if he wishes to.
Seconds later he releases the ball to the inside forward on the left and this instantly creates space and puts the opposition on the back one. One simple pass and he split their whole defence open. It’s nothing spectacular or tricky, it’s just a simple pass of the ball into space for an on runner to run onto.
I keep saying it but Lucas Lima’s range of passing due to him PPM is incredible at times. In this move he’s just about to receive the ball from Otavio. When he gets it, he swivels clockwise then hits a long pass into the path of the inside forward. It’s no coincidence that when Lima play the inside forward scores more goals compared to when Paulo plays. He still scores obviously but the striker becomes the main threat when Paulo plays and he seems to score more.
Look at how disjointed the opposition have become as they retreat to the left flank. By doing this they’ve actually left my Enganche and the Box to Box midfielder free to run into the space this has created. This in turn makes both these players support players because they are running from deep and unmarked. This can be very dangerous for the opposition and we in fact score from this move then the ball is played back to Lima who passes it first time to the Box to Box player who shoots and scores first time from the edge of the area.
We’ve learnt quite a bit about Lucas Lima so far, with the main two things being;
- Links well with the inside forward.
- He likes his longer/riskier passing ranges
The passing is down to him PPM no question about it. And linking with the inside forward is what I wanted because he is the main scorer of the team. Lucas Lima is actually the reason Gabigol scored a crazy amount of goals for my side due to these risky passes he attempts. Time and time again he plays him into space. It’s a joy to watch. So how does Paulo differ? Let’s take a look.
Here you can see Paulo linking with the striker, Luis Henrique. Henrique plays the ball to him but Paulo checks his run and dropped deeper, following the path of the black marker on the screenshot. If Lucas Lima was doing this in the above examples he’d be looking to play the inside forward in. Paulo doesn’t though he keeps things simple.
Instead, Paulo prefers to do the simple passing game so he plays in the wingback on the right side who can drive forward into the corner. The interesting thing here is that unlike Lucas Lima Paulo is happy to wander about and stay relatively deep after passing the ball, like we can see below.
As you can see, Paulo is moving forward but not with the same intensity and conviction that we saw Lucas Lima attempt time and time again. The reason for this is Paulo is quite weak in terms of mental attributes. He’s still very young and his attributes for anticipation, concentration, off the ball, work rate and teamwork are all very low still. The player is a talent no doubt he is far from the finished product and at times like this it really shows. Lima would have already been were the black marker is on the pitch without question. Paulo will get there eventually but he still has a lot of attribute development to do before he does all the things Lucas Lima does. It doesn’t mean he can’t play the role because he clearly can but it’s worth remembering that attributes impact how the player interprets the role. Any player can play any role after all.
If you remember the received passing maps above you’ll notice that Paulo was passed the ball in deeper situations compared to Lima. I think we are seeing exactly why here in this little example.
One of the main differences between the two players is the fact Lucas Lima is more forward thinking and Paulo Freitas is still naive due to his attributes. He can often be found playing with his back to goal like the example above. This means he has limited options because he can’t pass to what he can’t see behind him, he can only realistically pass backwards. Were as Lima is more intelligent and would have taken up a better position. Just something so simple like better use of movement (off the ball) and it opens up a whole new avenue of possible options. Paulo currently doesn’t have that in his locker but it will come in time. It doesn’t mean he’s currently poor at the role far from it, it just means he plays it different.
In fact, this is one of the main reasons the striker scores more goals when he plays because he plays short simple passes. This means he passes to the box to box midfielder, right wingback and the striker more often. Were as Lima was all about hitting the inside forward with those risky passes.
Due to his limited movement because his attributes are low, he is a more static Enganche which can be a good thing at times but it can also have downsides like the above screenshot. In this one, he didn’t move much when we didn’t have possession so when we won the ball back he was the highest target up field. Now that’s not a bad thing and is one of the main things in the real-life tactic I am replicating. The attacking midfielder was for most part the highest player up the pitch, which he is. However the downside here is he doesn’t have good movement so didn’t position himself in the best possible way. Due to that he is now crowded with no passing options and nowhere to really run either.
So just from these little examples above we can already see how the role is played differently depending on which player is playing. Both have good and bad points and while it seems Paulo is a lot poorer, he actually isn’t and is a big contributor to the side. But he offers me different things like a less mobile, deeper option compared to Lima. Who is a lot more mobile and attempts the more difficult passes, were as Paulo prefers the short simple passing game.
As he develops he will improve on all these aspects though. I also think it’s a good idea to have players who offer a different take on the role because then you can make a substitution to change a game and get something different from the role. What’s the point of swapping a player who will play the same way? I like to have a variety of options available.