Super Greek League 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins Olympiacos
Artwork by @chapulana

Is Pedro Martins the new Ernesto Valverde Olympiacos has been searching for? This is a question that a lot of the team’s fans are trying to answer. They see that the Portuguese coach is doing something good with the team and his first year as the head coach in one of the biggest Greek clubs has given them hope. This tactical analysis previews Pedro Martins and his effect on Olympiacos.

In his first season, Pedro Martins didn’t manage to win a trophy and this was something strange for the club to experience. Olympiacos finished in second place behind PAOK in Super League Greece, who won the title after 34 years and were eliminated in the Greek Cup in the quarterfinals by Lamia! Olympiacos also played in the Europa League and were eliminated in last 32.

Their performances throughout the season were exciting and that was something Olympiacos fans had not seen for years. For that the reason why they gave a standing ovation in the last match of the Championship to Pedro Martins and his players, despite them not managing to win a title.

The team played an offensive style of football with high-pressure on the opponent’s defense. They scored the most goals in Super League, created the most chances compared to all the other teams, made the most passes and made the fewest fouls. All of these statistics have arisen from the good work of Pedro Martins.

Another advantage of Pedro Martins is that he managed to make some players change their status and helped them to improve. Players like Kostas Fortounis, who was linked to West Ham, or Mady Camara, who had proposals from Germany. Jose Sa was Porto’s third choice goalkeeper and his performances this season incited Betis’ interest in him.

Ahmed Hassan was called back to Egypt’s national team and Giorgos Masouras came from Panionios during the winter transfer window and managed to adapt quickly in the team, helping a lot with his numerous goals and assists.

Pedro Martins’s offensive 4-2-3-1

Pedro Martins likes to use an offensive style of play. He adapted the team to his offensive 4-2-3-1 tactics that is based on a transition game with fast movements of the ball. He tells his players to move continuously on the pitch, making space for their teammates and also giving them the opportunity to pass the ball to someone who is free.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
The 4-2-3-1 tactics of Pedro Martins.

He makes keeps the distances between each line close to the other, about 20 meters. The two wide defenders of the team have to be full backs making overlaps, something that makes inroads in the opponent’s defence.

Pedro Martins also want the defensive midfielder to be fast and know how to pass the ball. The defensive and attacking transition is based on the two midfielders he uses the most. Camara and Guilherme help the build-up game and passing the ball forward. Also, the striker presses the opponent’s center backs and the triple threat behind him are also close to him, helping with the press.

Team transitions: attacking and defending

Martins asks his players to have the lines close to the other. It is basic for a team that wants to play a type of modern football to have small distances between the lines. That’s what Olympiacos have in their games and you can see it in the image below.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
Nine players of Olympiacos close to the ball. The four players of the defense are in a straight line, Guilherme is close to the opponent who has the ball and the other central midfielder, Camara, behind them. Fortounis, Podence, and Nahuel came closer to the defensive line and the striker Manos is the only player who is not defending.

Many times Olympiacos also play a bit defensively in the pitch. That was effective because the team couldn’t concede a goal and when they were getting the ball back, they had the chance to hit in the counter and get as many players as possible in the opponent’s area.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
Small distances between the lines, even Guerrero who was the striker against AEK Athens, had to get back and help the team defend.

If we see the attacking transition of Olympiacos, we will notice that Martins wants as many as possible to get in the opponent’s pitch and hit in the counter. When a player gains the position, he has many options close to him and his teammates are free to pass them the ball.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
Bouchalakis (number 1) steals the ball and has five options close to him to pass the ball and hit in the counter-attack.

Martins gets his players to move all around the pitch and gives the order to the wingers to get close to the striker and be like a false 9.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
The central midfielder (Guilherme) finds the winger (Masouras) with a long ball into the back of the opponent’s defense, meanwhile, the striker (Hassan) has moved closer to Guilherme and makes space for his teammate.

Counterattacks

Olympiacos is a team that maintains the lions share of possession in their matches. The players are moving continuously on the pitch to make spaces for their teammates and also like to control the rhythm, keeping the possession and trying to find the perfect situation to create chances. But when they defend, the lines are close to each other to make interceptions and retake the possession they can move the ball quickly, and transition into offensive shapes.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
As you can see in the photos, the player with the ball has at least four options to pass the ball.

High press, interceptions and creating chances

As we have noticed before, Pedro Martins is asking his players to maintain a high press on the opponent’s defenders. The players are aggressive, playing with a high work rate and force their opponents to make mistakes. Then they regain possession, making interceptions and stealing the ball so that they can have overlays in their game. Through their aggressive style of play and the high press, Olympiacos was the team in the Greek top flight with the fewest fouls committed (388).

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
All of Olympiacos’ players are in the opponent’s half of the pitch and pressing high. The last player, Papis Abu Cisse, is in the midfield.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at OlympiacosSix players outside of the box, pressing the defense and trying to steal the ball while the other three are some meters away.

Olympiacos ranked first in terms of chances created (444) in Super League and also the team that scored the most goals (71) and made the most correct passes. They made overlays against their opponents and there were times that eight or nine of their players were high up the pitch and taking part in the attacking game.

Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
Eight of Olympiacos’ players take part in the attacking game.
Super League Greece 2018/19 Tactical Analysis: Pedro Martins at Olympiacos
Nine of Olympiacos’ players take part in the attacking game and help the team regain the position when it’s lost.

 

Conclusion

Pedro Martins will be the coach of Olympiacos for second consecutive year and he has to continue his plan! The demands will certainly be bigger from the fans, the director and the team’s stuff. Everything will not be so patient again and they want to see the same performances as the last year and of course to win titles.

Olympiacos has some ambitions for the new year. Win the Super League title and the Domestic Cup also and of course to pass the qualification rounds and get into the Champions League group stage! The first barrier for Pedro Martins’s team to overcome is Victoria Plzen in the second qualifying round. Olympiacos has made some interesting transfers as Mathieu Valbuena from Fenerbahce and Ruben Semedo from Villarreal and Martins is creating a squad with quality, quantity, and experience.


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