UD Almería – Match Report vs. Cádiz CF (30/12/2022)

In their return to La Liga action after the World Cup break, UD Almería drew Cádiz CF 1-1 away from home. Rubi ran a wide 4-1-4-1 formation that emphasized possession and short build- up through the center of the pitch in the first half and added more crossing in the final third from the full backs in the second. Defensively, he had Almería in a mid block that held up well in possession but was threatened by Cádiz in transition. Almería’s lone goal scored came on an accidentally blocked shot by central midfielder Gonzalo Melero who turned it into his own shot that caught keeper Jeremias Ledesma off guard.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

El Bilal Touré

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Mali
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 03/10/2001
  • Club: UD Almería
  • Career: Afrique Football Elite, Stade Reims
  • Position: Center Forward
  • Preferred foot: Both

El Bilal Touré is a 185 cm tall center forward with a filled-out, physical frame who played 89 minutes before being subbed off by Almería. He is a summer signing from Stade Reims with 3 goals in 9 appearances. Touré displayed long strides that translated to quick pace in this match and got up high in the air for duels—showcasing his excellent jumping ability and explosiveness. He was not afraid of contact but that led to some overly physical duels where he fouled opponents, especially in the air.

On the attack, he often received short and flashed toward the ball into space. Although the tactics had him do that when the attack was still developing, Touré made more short runs through centrally as he got deeper into the final third—allowing him to use his frame and aerial skills in the box. Touré had multiple decent headed attempts on goal in the box and was hard for defenders to beat in the air, though the attempts were easy saves for the keeper. On his first shot attempt of the match, Touré cut in from the left to his right foot atop the box, but his shot was blocked. Touré’s best two finishes in this match came on crosses. The first was a one touch finish with his right at the near post that hit the far post and went out—he had to beat multiple defenders in the box to win the aerial duel with his foot. On the second, he received a cross at the far post and finished with is left but the defender made a save on the goal line in a last-ditch effort.

On ball, Touré displayed good control when dribbling—taking long touches to find space. At times these touches were too heavy and allowed for crucial tackles to take place. Other times, he used his physicality to work past defenders on the dribble, and on one occasion worked into the box to fire a powerful shot into the approaching Ledesma’s chest. When distributing, Touré mainly played it short and was comfortable passing with either foot. With his vision, he often looked to quickly play his wingers in behind after receiving short. Creating space for his teammates with and without the ball were key aspects to his success at the front of the attack. Meanwhile, on defense, Touré was mainly pressing high and utilized his aggression.

Rating – A1

Touré displayed top athleticism and in the box instincts in this match that could take him to the top of La Liga. His finishing could have been marginally better, but he challenged the keeper multiple times and showed some potential to create. All this combined with Touré’s technical ability make him a tactically versatile striker who poses a threat with either foot, whether it be finishing or creation. He belongs with a club battling for a European place, so I will not be surprised when he makes a step up in the summer.

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Largie Ramazani

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Belgium
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 27/02/2001
  • Club: UD Almería
  • Career: FC Lebbeke (Y), RSC Anderlecht (Y), Charlton Athletic (Y), Manchester United(Y)
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Preferred foot: Right

Largie Ramazani played left winger in this match, putting in a productive 68-minute shift. The 167 cm tall winger with an average build turned well to display good agility combined with his quick feet. In open space, Ramazani showed off his rapid pace, too, outrunning defenders quite easily.

On ball, Ramazani played multiple key passes from a variety of ranges to set up chances and dangerous events with his vision. Utilizing his dominant right foot, he was able to play balls through into the box from a variety of ranges and had one instance where he passed cross field to advance in transition and switch play to the opposite wing.

On the dribble, Ramazani was very dangerous and displayed multiple sharp skill moves such as the ball roll, the dummy, and inside cutting moves to get past defenders quite a few times, especially when approaching the box in the final third. Despite his immaculate control of the ball as a dribbler, he overdribbled at times which led to some tackles in key spots where he could have made a key pass with the aforementioned vision and playmaking. One example of turning a dribble move into a key pass happened during a move on the endline where he beat his marker and delivered a short cross for a headed attempt on goal. Ramazani’s diminutive size did not diminish his physicality and shielding the ball when dribbling came quite easily to him in this match. His dribbling repertoire was quite impressive and frustrated the Cádiz defense.

In this match, the Belgian winger shot multiple times utilizing both feet and showcasing respectable finishing ability. The first of which was after a ball roll from left to right inside dribbling into the box for a powerful left-footed shot. The shot was saved for a corner and was a decent finish that challenged the keeper. The next shot was an easily saved right-footed attempt from the middle of the box.

Off ball, Ramazani mainly found open space by coming back toward the ball. He preferred to utilize his pace after maximizing his dribbling ability in a 1v1 rather than stretching the left flank with runs through. By receiving short, he was additionally able to make quick passes to advance in transition while shielding the ball if an opportunity to dribble was not immediately available. Although he had good awareness to move into free space and get open, Ramazani tended to wander centrally which clogged up spacing. It did not happen too often, so it should not be a worrisome issue as he has many years left to develop.

When pressing, Almería did not emphasize the wingers as much. In instances where Ramazani did press, he used his rapid pace to overwhelm the right side of defense in the buildup. He closed down quickly but a bit out of control which made him prone to fouling.

Rating – A1

In this match, Ramazani put on display what an inverted winger must do to succeed at the highest level and did it with great technique and polish. It is no surprise that he caught the eye of Manchester United as a youth player and I foresee him returning to England for Premier League football in the future. If he sharpens his improving decision-making skills, Ramazani will be another player on Almería’s attack that could become a priority target at clubs aiming for European competitions.

Alejandro Pozo

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spain
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 22/02/1999
  • Club: UD Almería
  • Career: Huévar CF (Y), Sevilla FC, Granada CF (Loan), RCD Mallorca (Loan), SD Eibar(Loan)
  • Position: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Alejandro Pozo is a short, sturdy built right back who played the full 90 minutes for Almería. He is a summer signing from Sevilla after his loan move was made permanent. Pozo stands at 173 cm and has decent agility and above average pace for his position and league standard. Aerially, he was not afraid to get up and compete with his head and won some duels with accurate headers.

Defensively, Pozo was out matched on the wing against Brian Ocampo. The biggest example of this was on Ocampo’s disallowed goal (due to a prior missed foul) where Pozo afforded him too much space on a cut inside at the top of the box and the shot was scored and uncontested. This was not the only time he allowed his marker too much space and it became an issue, as crosses and key passes were delivered into the box due to Pozo not closing space. Early in the match, he was turned around on a move inside that led to a key pass for a dangerous opportunity, so Pozo’s confidence may have been lowered. Regardless of the reasoning, he must improve his defensive positioning based on this performance. He partially made up for his poor 1v1 play by having great timing on interceptions and knowing when to clear the ball long. Pozo was consistent in this area, but his positioning was more important to the result, and it nearly cost Almería in moments.

On the attack, Pozo was not too involved in the buildup during the first half but offered wide support. In the second half, he was more directly involved by delivering several crosses. His crosses were always with his dominant right foot and were delivered in both lifted and low styles. Pozo’s accuracy was inconsistent, though, and could use some improvement. On a few attempts he over hit the cross or it went straight to the defense and not near his intended target. One cross went across the keeper’s face to the far post and created an opportunity for Touré that had to be saved on the line by a defender. Another near assist on a cross to Touré went to the near post. So, Pozo has some potential as a creator on the cross, especially given more volume like he got in the second half.

In regular distribution, Pozo showcased decent range and delivered short and intermediate passes well with both feet. When facing pressure, he made better decisions standing still than on the move. On the dribble, Pozo felt the pressure easily and often looked hesitant when making decisions.

Rating – C

Pozo showed a lot of room for improvement at La Liga level in this match. Ocampo gave him a lot of trouble and has not yet reached the heights many wingers in the Spanish first tier have, so it is worrisome that Pozo struggled. Despite his struggles, it was not a terrible match and there were some redeeming qualities. I can see Pozo being serviceable for mid-table and relegation- battling La Liga sides like his present club, but the Segunda Division could be where he thrives as his development begins to stagnate.

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Chumi

A scout report of UD Almeria focussing on El Bilal Touré, Largie Ramazani, Alejandro Pozo and Chumi

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spain
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 02/03/1999
  • Club: UD Almería
  • Career: Laracha (Y), Montañeros (Y), Deportivo de La Coruña (Y), FC Barcelona (Y)
  • Position: Right Center Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Juan ‘Chumi’ Brandáriz played the full 90 minutes at wide right center back for Almería in this match. The Barcelona youth product stands at 185 cm with a lanky build and has average pace for the position. Chumi had great communication with his back line, and it helped lead to some rotations that caused crucial stops in the box, especially in transition. Additionally, he displayed decent strength in duels despite his frame. Almería’s right-footed center back was a bit stiff, too, and lacked the agility needed for this level.

On defense, Chumi consistently looked to clear the ball deep when he intercepted or a loose ball approached his area. He cleared danger well and displayed timely reactions to intercept on multiple occasions. These reactions aided him in cutting out passing lanes and blocking shots/crosses. During recovery in transition, his reactions helped him make up for his lack of pace compared to Cádiz’s attack. Chumi also tackled well when he needed to around the box, mainly going for stand tackles. He did not shy away from contact and often went shoulder-to- shoulder with opponents.

Chumi’s aerial performance was not the best and he lost a duel in the box before the first Cádiz goal. His awareness and positioning off the ball could also be better. Chumi lost track of his marker in a transition situation which allowed an easy shot on goal deep in the box. Staying switched on will be a key to his improvement at La Liga level—better strikers could expose this.

He was not challenged much in buildup play in this match but did face some pressure. When the press got to him his decision-making suffered, especially as he is not the best with the ball at his feet. Chumi’s dribbling must improve, thus why he was not emphasized in buildup play. When distributing facing no pressure he mostly played it short with his dominant right, although the Spaniard did put too much weight on some passes.

Rating – B2

Chumi is an average defensive center back with some room for growth. It is easy to see why he is not a regular starter yet, but he could get there with good coaching. A loan spell in the Segunda Division could give him the playing time he needs to establish himself as a viable option for first tier clubs battling relegation. His ball-playing ability may not get to the level it needs to be, but his activity and intelligence defensively keeps me optimistic about Chumi’s potential.

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