Lille OSC – Match Report vs Ajax 27/11/19

This is a guest contribution from @TheEvertonMan1

A1 – Very good player, could play higher
A2 – Strong potential to play higher
B1 – Good, strong player at level
B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
C – Average for the level, rewatch
D – Below average don’t follow up

Gabriel Magalhaes

Player Profile:

Nationality: Brazilian
Age: 22
DOB: 19/12/1997
Current Club: Lille OSC
Career: Avai, Lille, Troyes (L), Dinamo Zagreb (L)
Position: Centre Back
Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
Preferred foot: Left

Gabriel had a decent performance, both defensively and on the ball. Due to Jose Fonte’s absence Gabriel was next to the inexperienced Tiago Djalo therefore he had to be the leader at the back which I thought he did well seeing as he is not normally used to marshalling the back four. When he was defending he would dominate his aerial battles using his height of 6’2’’ to out battle his opponent. His tackles were clean and he rarely gave away any fouls, he also used his good build to be strong in the tackle so when he did commit in a situation when the opposition were driving directly at him he managed to retain the ball more often than not.

He showed his intelligence at times to intercept and clear crosses coming in from the flanks, but a downside to his defensive performance was his awareness and this let him down at times. Sometimes he would step out from the defensive line well and wouldn’t let his opponent turn and would manage to get a foot in just in time however on the occasion he would get dragged out to far leaving empty space behind him to be exploited, you could argue that he did this on Ajax’s second goal when he found himself quite far out from the box and all it took was a simple pass for Ajax to leave Gabriel deserted in the middle of the pitch.

In possession was where Gabriel thrived, he never looked worried or fazed and had great decision making when in control of the ball. He always knew whether to pick a pass or to carry, creating space for the two midfielders lying in front of him. His passing throughout the course of the game was a delight to watch; pinging a switch to the opposite fullback, fizzing a ball fast to players in the central areas of the pitch or hitting a long ball over the top. The long balls he played over the top were a threat to the Ajax defence, they were chased onto by Osimhen nearly every time and this showed the understanding between the two, these longer passes by Gabriel helped Lille get in behind the Ajax defence a couple of times.

Rating – A2

Gabriel has all the talent to be a great ball playing defender for a top side and his ability on the ball shows that. I will most definitely watch him again but I would like to seem alongside a more experienced figure as I think he would suit that much better. He just needs to improve on his awareness at times and when he should and shouldn’t step out from the defensive line.

Zeki Celik

Player Profile:

Nationality: Turkish
Age: 23
Date of birth: 14/02/1997
Club: Lille
Career: Bursaspor, Karacabey Belediyespor (L), Istanbulspor, Lille
Position: Right Back
Preferred foot: Right

Celik operated as a right back for Lille and had a licence to push forward. He put in a good attacking performance and caused problems for the Ajax defence. Defensively he wasn’t challenged too much but was solid when called upon.

What surprised me about Celik is that when he was defending he was particularly strong in the tackle, he only stands at 5’9’’ and doesn’t have the biggest stature but did well to win the ball back for his side a couple of times, giving Lille with the opportunity to counter attack. When he was needed he read play well, making two important interceptions in key areas. But as I said before Celik’s wing wasn’t targeted too much as Ajax looked to focus on Hakim Ziyech who drifted towards Ajax’s right hand side when they were in possession of the ball.

Celik was at his best when he was driving forwards, hassling Tagliafico. He acted very well in the final third and was very relaxed when the opportunity for a cross presented itself to him picking out a man more times than not. He was particularly unlucky during one instance to not gain himself an assist when he fed the ball into the path of Yusuf Yazici and his shot was well saved by Onana.

What also impressed me was Celik’s work rate. If he did lose the ball he always worked hard to track back and get into position. His decision making was good as well, when the opportunity for him to drive down the right wasn’t there, he executed the right pass inside or a ball round the outside of his opposite fullback to be chased after by one of the more attacking players in the team.

Rating – A2

Celik did impress me going forward and also with his good decision making, however I would like to have seen him in a game where he would be tested more defensively.

Boubakary Soumare

Player Profile:

Nationality: French
Age: 21
Date of birth: 27/02/1999
Club: Lille
Career: PSG (Y), Lille
Position: Centre Midfield
Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
Preferred foot: Right

Soumare played as the more advanced player in a double pivot alongside acting as a box-to-box midfielder alongside Benjamin Andre. For the duration of the game Soumare showed excellent technical ability and a great passing technique but put on a quite raw defensive display. Soumare showed that he is superb moving with the ball being, a classy dribbler able to progressive the ball.

He was fast with the ball using his long legs for big strides, this was great for Lille when they wanted to start a counter-attack as he would cover a lot of ground quickly while keeping good control of the ball as well. He was good at opening up space for himself on a handful of occasions, whether that be with a body feint to send his opposition the other way or using his elegant first touch too instead. When carrying the ball at speed he used his strength and frame to fend off defenders, dodging a few tackles while taking the ball a long way forward. He was incredibly calm on the ball and dealt with pressure very well at such a young age. Although twice he made the wrong decisions when dribbling and took one touch too many which resulted in him losing the ball but this understandable as he is still very young and this is his first proper year at first team football.

Soumare’s passing ability is also a massive strength to his game, his good positioning let him find himself in the right areas of the pitch to receive the ball from one off the centre backs and then turn and spray the ball out to the wide areas. He always looked to play progressively and rarely played the ball backwards. When receiving the ball Soumare always checked both shoulders, usually turning the right way.

His decision making on the ball was good and his technique was excellent. He knew when to turn or return the pass and had the ability to play long. You can see that he has that ability to split a team apart with one pass and break the defence’s lines. Soumare was unlucky not to get an assist after he played a perfect through ball to Jonathan Bamba who should’ve really scored.

When defending he rarely committed, often jockeying his opponent for a while before attempting to win the ball back. He cut the passing lanes well at times and then always retained the ball. However, I would like to see him try to win the ball back more in deeper areas of the pitch, yes he did intercept the ball in more advanced areas but when playing in a double pivot you have to contribute defensively as well as going forward.

Rating – A1

Soumare had a great game and was one of the top performers on the night. He is excellent on the ball but I would like to see him contribute defensively if he is going to play in a midfield two although I think he would be better suited to a midfield three and think he could adapt very well to the Premier League.

Jonathan Ikone

Player Profile:

Nationality: French
Age: 22
Date of birth: 02/05/1998
Club: Lille
Career: PSG, Montpellier (L), Lille
Position: Attacking Midfielder
Secondary Position: Right/Left Wing
Preferred foot: Left

Ikone was given the free role behind the striker this game and was a threat to Ajax all game. He spent most of his time on the flanks or just off Osimhen, he was Lille’s main creative outlet of the night but he lacked composure from him in the box.

Ikone’s biggest strength without a doubt is his dribbling. The ball virtually sticks to his feet and this complements his ability to be able to beat his man using clever footwork which he did numerous times. He was good at receiving the ball with his back to goal as was able to turn his man well. Ikone’s movement off the ball made him a challenge to mark due to the fact that he was given the free role, therefore he operated on both flanks and also just off the striker even driving past the striker while in control of the ball at times. He did extremely well when he came in from the flanks as he was an extra body over which created space for the fullbacks to exploit. As well as keeping the ball close to him while dribbling he is also able to powerfully run directly down the line with the ball in order to isolate the opposition full back or win his team a free-kick which he was very good at.

Ikone’s passing was frustrating, he would show great vision but the final pass lacked execution. His decision making could have been better where he did excellently to draw out of the centre halves but then attempted the wrong pass. However, his link up play with the players around him was very good, he liked playing quick first time passes to a team mate then moving into the space created and then getting it back; this helped Lille move into more advanced areas of the pitch.

A particularly disappointing about Ikone’s game was his lack of composure in the box. When passing in and around the box he would sloppily give it away at time and he also should’ve grabbed himself a goal when the ball came to him in the six yard box and he panicked and hit the ball well over the bar despite the keeper being well out of position. Ikone definitely has talent but needed to do better in the final third.

Rating – A2

Victor Osimhen

Player Profile:

Nationality: Nigerian
Age: 21
Date of birth: 29/12/1998
Club: Lille
Career: Wolfsburg, Charleroi (L) ,Charleroi, Lille
Position: Striker
Secondary Position: Left Winger
Preferred foot: Right

Victor Osimhen impressed me a lot, despite not scoring or getting many chances to score he still put in a very good performance showing his great work rate and how he can be involved in build-up play as well.

Throughout the course of the game Osimhen liked to drop deep to be more involved in build up play and help his side get the ball from defence to attack which shows his understanding of the game. He linked up especially well with Ikone playing quick one touch passes to each other, their play should have resulted in a goal at one point. He was fast when driving directly at the back four and does this with great ball control, unsettling the Ajax defenders.

Osimhen was the target from goal kicks and he impressed me with how he took the ball out the air using his strength well to hold off defenders and shield the ball with his good first touch while he waited for support. He is also stood at a height of 6’1’’ and with this he won the majority of his aerial duels which helped Lille move the ball up the pitch a lot quicker.

His movement in the box was a part of his game which showed his attacking instincts, he would often lose his man and run to the front post to receive the ball but it was that final pass to him wasn’t good enough on the day and he couldn’t find a goal.

Rating – A1

Osimhen led the line well, being aggressive in his press and although he could get a bit too aggressive and reckless at times, earning himself a yellow card quite early on. His hold up play and work rate was excellent throughout the entire game but needed to calm down at times.

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