Grêmio – Match Report vs. Flamengo 19/08/2020

Grêmio visited the Maracana in the away match against Flamengo. The club from Porto Alegre set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and played the possession game in the first half, while sitting deeper in the second half after Pepê scored the 0-1 late in the first half. Grêmio played good football in the first half and managed to create a few chances, while dominating possession with the likes of Jean Pyerre and Matheus Henrique, who were able to play short passes to each other from time to time to attract the defence of Flamengo.

Whenever Grêmio lost the ball, they were quick to put pressure and played quite high up the pitch, with both Matheus Henrique and Maicon were putting early pressure on the opponent a few times which left a gap between the defence and midfield, which was the biggest problem for Grêmio in the first half. Flamengo did not really profit from this but managed to get a few powerful passes through the lines to the attackers that were in space.

Ratings

  • 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

Matheus Henrique

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 19-12-1997
  • Club: Grêmio
  • Career: AD São Caetano, Grêmio (L)
  • Position: central midfield
  • Secondary position: defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder
  • Preferred foot: right

Matheus Henrique played as one of the two defensive midfielders in the 4-2-3-1 formation in which Gremio set up. In possession, Matheus Henrique was the main man to do the build-up for Gremio and he was the player that needed to help Gremio progress the ball further up the pitch. The Brazilian midfielder is able to move between the lines very elegantly because of his slim-build. His low centre of gravity allows him to turn quickly which helps him when he has assessed that he is being put under pressure after checking his shoulders. Matheus Henrique always turns the right way and only once got into trouble after playing the wrong pass on his own half.

The midfielder moves from left to right in possession depending on where the ball goes and is very active in the first phase of the build up. He always looks for the short passing option and trusts his teammates in the tight spaces as he likes to combine with them, even when they are being put under severe pressure. This works out most of the times as his teammates (Jean Pyerre, Pepê, etc.) possess a lot of qualities in the tight spaces and are capable of linking up with Matheus Henrique in these situations. The Brazilian plays with a lot of ease and calmness and looks very confident on the ball. He is very effective in the first phase of the build-up, is very press-resistant and is able to progress the ball higher up the pitch with either his dribbling ability to make progressive runs or his passing ability.

However, he showed less ability defensively in the first half as he still has some flaws in his game. Matheus Henrique covered runs in behind well, but did not always make the right choice in his defensive positioning. He looked to cut passing lanes, but sometimes moved out of position to do so and was too late to adjust his position in these moments. It happened quite often in the first half that he stepped out of the line to put pressure on the opponent that played in a deeper role, leaving behind the player of Flamengo that played higher up the pitch and had positioned himself between the lines. This allowed Flamengo to play out of pressure as the gap between the defence and midfield was very big at times.

This can be a communication thing and not only Matheus Henrique his fault. The defence could have chosen to adjust their defensive line and play slightly higher up the pitch to close the gap between the defence and midfield a bit more. I think that Matheus Henrique assumed that the defence would do so when he chose to put pressure on the midfielder of Flamengo that played in a slightly deeper role. But, this did not work well at all in other matches as well and it is a thing for Matheus Henrique to work on, as he could choose the moments to step out of the line better.

Matheus Henrique always put pressure on Flamengo’s Gerson, who dropped deep between the two central defenders of Flamengo in possession. He followed him around and made sure that Gerson could not turn him. This had to do with the instructions of Renato Gaúcho and not with Matheus Henrique getting dragged out of position, but I think that Jean Pyerre and Diego Sousa would have been capable of covering Gerson when he dropped deeper, as this once again led to a huge gap between defence and midfield as only Maicon played in midfield when Matheus Henrique followed Gerson around. Gremio played more defensively in the second half and Lucas Silva (a DM) got subbed on for Maicon. Matheus Henrique stayed in line way more often and did not step out that much. This led to a better defensive performance as he managed to close gaps and to keep in position.

It can be said that Matheus Henrique his eagerness to recover possession, put pressure high up the pitch and defend proactively lets him down at times and would not make him suited to play as the most defensive midfielder in a team. He should play in a 4-2-3-1, next to a defensive-minded midfielder who drops deep in possession and allows Matheus Henrique to move between the lines in possession and the full-backs to push up high in possession.

Rating – A1

He would be a regular starter for nearly every Champions League/Europa League team in the top 5 leagues but he needs to play in the right role in order to impress.

Pepê

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 24/02/1997
  • Club: Grêmio
  • Career: Foz do Iguaçu FC, Grêmio
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pepê played as a left winger for Gremio in the match against Flamengo and scored the opening goal. The 23-year-old is the replacement of Everton, who recently left Gremio for a move to Portugal as he is going to play for Benfica.

When Gremio were in possession, Pepê would either drop deep in the half-space to support the build-up or play out wide close to the sideline. He did the latter more often than the former and would be close to the backline in these situations, awaiting his moment to make a run in behind. The Brazilian winger has electrifying pace and acceleration and is extremely fast in the first meters, which helps him when a through pass is being played. During the times that he took on a dribble, he looked over the ball while dribbling and showed quick changes of directions and good agility.

Pepê used his pace and acceleration to time his runs well and often was dangerous with his runs into space. He only occasionally was played offside after either the pass was being played too late or he started his run too early. The 23-year-old liked to carry the ball inside when he was being put under pressure but lost possession on his own half at one occasion as he did not pay attention to what happened around him, as there was not any space to move into. However, he completed nearly every dribble and was fouled quite a few times, especially in the later stages of the game when Gremio were happy to take one point to Porto Alegre. The attracting of fouls helped Gremio to gain control over the game.

The winger is capable of linking up with his teammates and likes to play short, smart passes through the lines towards the box when he has tucked inside after combining with his teammates. He is always moving after he passes it into the striker or midfield and is hard to defend for the opponent. Pepê moved inside without the ball sometimes as well and had a good eye for space. He profited from the gap that opened up between the left central defender and left-back of Flamengo and dived into it, before finishing the chance off with a lot of confidence.

He nearly gave an assist after he kept very calm and composed in the final third as he looked up when he was in a dangerous position to eventually find Diego Sousa who had moved into space. However, Diego Sousa wasted the chance after Pepê gave a perfect pass with his weak foot. In defence, Pepê did more than enough to put pressure at the right times, force his opponent backwards and tracking back well.

Rating – A1

Pepê was the best player on the pitch in the Série A fixture. He did not stand out in the matches I watched in my spare time because I focused on Jean Pyerre and Matheus Henrique, but was very good in this match and if he can continue this form, he is already ready for a next step. However, I think that he will stay at Gremio for at least another year.

Jean Pyerre

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 07/05/1998
  • Club: Grêmio
  • Career: Grêmio
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Jean Pyerre played as an attacking midfielder in this match, but he operated as the second striker out of possession as Gremio shaped in a 4-4-2 out of possession. He did well to cut passing lanes or to close the gap towards his direct opponent but did not always look that eager to fulfill his defensive tasks. Jean Pyerre had a decent build but got dispossessed after he got pushed off the ball occasionally. However, in other situations he looked very strong on the ball and hard to get off the ball.

The attacking midfielder tried smart passes often and he looked a bit inconsistent with these smart passes. About half of them worked out and the other half were inaccurate which led to the loss of possession. However, this is not particularly a bad thing when you are tasked to be the most creative player of Gremio and to be the main man to create chances. Jean Pyerre has good vision and is capable of spotting a run in behind by his teammate, especially when Pepê made a run. He almost every time gave the pass at the right time and managed to get the power and height of the pass right at times as well.

The Brazilian 22-year-old looked very confident on the ball and played with a lot of ease. His playing style looks very simple but that is a quality that not a lot of players have. Jean Pyerre was able to play a lot of short passes to Matheus Henrique and when both started to combine, they looked very dominant. The Brazilian possesses the calmness on the ball to hold up play while under pressure and passed it backwards to regain control over the game in these situations, instead of attempting a dribble and losing the ball. Jean Pyerre sometimes had smart movement himself and managed to find space himself as well.

Rating – A1

A very good performance by Jean Pyerre once again and I can definitely see him moving to a midtable team in the top 5 leagues already. However, I think that he should stay at Gremio for another year to gain experience to eventually move to a Champions/Europa League team in the top 5 leagues.

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