This is a guest piece from Andrew Hunter.
- A1 – Very good, 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 in this match
- Nationality: Moroccan
- Age: 23
- Date of Birth: 21/08/1996
- Current Club: Hellas Verona, on loan from Fiorentina
- Carrer: FC Utrecht (Y), Feyenoord, Club Brugge, Hellas Verona (L), Fiorentina, Hellas Verona (L)
- Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Amrabat has a good shape for a midfielder – looking muscular and standing at 6ft. He used his upper body size and strength to good effect throughout the whole match. Amrabat always looked to get on the ball and most of Verona’s possession and attacks were centred around him, picking up the ball across the width of the pitch despite starting out as a right centre midfielder. Amrabat was largely very accurate with his passing from left to right however he took little risks with his passing and very rarely played it forward into the forward’s feet or into the channels; with his most adventurous passing coming in the form of a fairly easy switch of play. He was clever in possession as he often waited to draw an opposition player in, and then pass it around them.
To start with, I was very impressed with Amrabat as his close control and quick feet enabled him to take lots of touches in possession despite pressure from the opposition; even when there were several Atalanta players around him he trusted his dribbling skills and strength to shield and hand off players and resist pressure. However, this backfired in the second half when he lost the ball in a dangerous position due to taking too many touches.
As the match grew on, Amrabat became a very frustrating player to watch. He held on to the ball for too long, taking an unnecessary amount of touches every time he received the ball, this was effective on some occasions where a pass wasn’t on and he was able to keep hold of the ball until a pass became available. However, most of the time he slowed down Verona’s attacks and he stopped a potential Verona counter-attack where he shielded the ball then dribbled backwards 15 yards before passing sideways, by which time Atalanta got back into shape.
In defence, Amrabat had a fairly laid back approach and was often walking around the pitch looking fairly disinterested in defending. This resulted in him positioned slightly higher up the field than his midfield partner, due to his unwillingness to get back into shape quickly which caused gaps in the Verona midfield that could have been exploited by Atalanta. Amrabat was also caught ball watching several times, allowing the opposition to make runs forward which he was either oblivious to or just didn’t to track the run. On one occasion however, Amrabat did track back well and regained the ball using good strength. Amrabat picked up a yellow card on the left flank late on in the first half when he didn’t have the speed to keep up with the opposition player which he knew and just pushed him off the ball – clever but cynical. This yellow card may have contributed to his lack of intensity in defence.
Overall, Amrabat’s lack of defensive awareness and effort is a big concern, whether this is an attitude problem, fatigue, a general lack of awareness or a one off game will determine whether he moves to a better club as he does in truth have the skillset to play for a team challenging for Europe, as long as they aren’t in the Premier League as he will struggle with the intensity and the pressing nature of the opposition.
Rating – B1
- Nationality: Italian
- Age: 18
- Date of Birth: 31/08/2020
- Current Club: Hellas Verona, on loan from Inter Milan
- Carrer: Genoa, Inter Milan, Hellas Verona (L)
- Position: Striker
- Preferred foot: Right
Salcedo surprised me with his great strength and aerial ability as he is a slim player who lacks in height and is just 18 years old. Salcedo’s most impressive attribute was the way he held up the ball; Salcedo set himself early before receiving the ball as he shielded the ball away from the defender using his arms, gaining an extra couple of seconds and yards to move the ball on. From this position, Salcedo either held the ball up waiting for support, played a nice one touch ball either to an on running Verona midfielder / neat touch round the corner, or thirdly he let the ball run past him and the defender utilising his electric acceleration. These three options Salcedo gave himself were all used in the first 15 minutes and were used to great effect as the centre back marking him never got close enough to make a tackle or intercept the ball.
Furthermore, Salcedo had a surprisingly good leap – often competing for aerial duels with the Atalanta centre backs, this included dealing with 2 hard-hit passes into him where Salcedo smartly headed it into the path of a Verona support player with good direction and strength. Salcedo had a great chance to score where he grazed the top of the crossbar from a corner, utilising his good jump and great heading technique generating a lot of power considering the ball was slightly behind him. Salcedo also demonstrated good shooting technique; both his shots in the second half were struck very well with great power, one a curling effort from outside the box and another low struck shot when dribbling away from goal, he was then withdrawn on the 70th minute.
In summary it was a great performance from Salcedo considering his season has been disrupted by injuries. He is a very well rounded player showing good hold up play, shooting and heading with his only negative in the game being caught offside. Hopefully, next season he will either get minutes at Inter Milan with Lautaro Martinez moving on , or he will be loaned out to a more attacking team.
Rating – A2