Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

In recent years Napoli have become the only team capable of fighting Juventus for the Serie A title and this season will be no exception. This is why the transfer of a striker to provide competition to Arkadiusz Milik was made by Carlo Ancelotti. This new striker is Fernando Llorente, who came on a free transfer after his contract at Tottenham expired. In this scout report, we will show the tactics and characteristics of this Spanish player. In addition, we will perform a tactical analysis to find out what he can contribute to his new team.

Fernando Llorente is a player who can fit into Napoli’s system easily. The Spaniard will be a very important player in the tactical setup that Carlo Ancelotti wants for his team. Llorente has certain characteristics Napoli needed. The following tactical analysis will give us more certainty about Fernando Llorente’s role at Napoli. In addition, through this analysis, we will be able to know how this new player of Napoli plays.

Characteristics 

The first thing to bear in mind when performing a tactical analysis through a scout report is the player’s trajectory. Fernando Llorente began his career in Basconia, a third division team in Spain. Then, he moved to Athletic Club Bilbao, where he played in the lower divisions until he reached the first team. He stayed there for several years and exploded as a really strong striker who scored many goals. This is why he then made the leap to Juventus, then played in Sevilla, Swansea City and then Tottenham.

In that order of ideas, the tactical analysis starts making sense. Fernando Llorente already knows Italian football, so his adaptation will be simple. Besides that, his characteristics as a player indicate that he is a man who can serve Napoli. Carlo Ancelotti needed a striker who could adapt to various systems and give him variations when it came to attacking.

Fernando Llorente’s natural position is that of a central striker. Being a reference in attack is one of his main characteristics thanks to his sense of goal. He dominates aerial play, long shots, knows how to move in small spaces and is good with the ball at his feet. He is technically gifted to play with teammates, retain and protect the ball and can also play with his back to goal, thus offering numerous alternatives in the rival box.

The first characteristic of Fernando Llorente that the scout report produced is his stature. Llorente is 1.93 meters tall, so he is a very strong striker in aerial play and in aerial duels. This gives him another option to attack and create goal opportunities. Napoli is a team with small strikers and in that sense, Llorente can help. In addition, Arkadiusz Milik, the only tall striker, is injured.

Fernando Llorente’s tactics

In order to make a complete analysis of Fernando Llorente, we must talk about his tactics. In other words, of his style of play and his main tactical movements at the time of playing.

In particular, what Carlo Ancelotti is looking for with Llorente is his aerial ability to take advantage of his height. But Llorente can also offer other tactical variants. Llorente can generate space, create goal-scoring opportunities and make breakthroughs. He can also move the opposing defence and play under pressure from the centre-backs.

On the other hand, Llorente is also a good play finisher. He is a mobile striker and a natural goalscorer. That speaks well of his ability in front of goal. In addition, Fernando Llorente is a player with good technique and uses his positioning very well. For example, he can also go back a few meters to receive a pass and open the pitch.

Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Fernando Llorente marks the pass to one of his teammates. He asks for the ball in space and runs there to get a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Llorente back a few meters and this time asking for the ball away from the centre backs. In this way, the player holds the ball and tries to make the centre back pursue him to create space behind
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
In this case, Llorente acts as a natural central striker inside the box prepared to receive a pass from his teammate from the side.

In addition to his movements in the box, Llorente is a player who by his characteristics helps in other facets. For example, whenever there is a throw-in near the opponent’s box, Llorente is the player who receives that throw-in. That foul close to the opponent’s box can generate a clear goalscoring opportunity for Llorente himself. But his function is also to attract as many rival players as possible to generate a foul or pass to a free team-mate. In addition, he is a forward who helps in the recovery of the ball and exerting pressure.

Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Llorente surrounded by several players of the rival team while holding the ball, one of his main qualities thanks to the good use of his body to win the position.
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Fernando Llorente going to pressure the rival player who has possession of the ball.
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Fernando Llorente with a rival player practically on top of him. Usually, the one in charge of marking Llorente is one of the centre-backs, so the striker must use his physical strength to win the position.

Napoli’s system

Carlo Ancelotti has changed his system this season compared to last season. In these first few Serie A matches, Napoli were seen to use a 4-4-2 base system. From that tactical base, several movements are generated between the players to have more variants. Napoli are a team that uses the width and length of the pitch and always try to occupy spaces.

Presence in the box was one thing Napoli lacked. Ancelotti had very fast players who used their change of pace to generate attacks. That is to say, the wingers took advantage of their main qualities. Hirving Lozano, Lorenzo Insigne, Amin Younes, José Callejón and Dries Mertens are players not taller than 1.75 meters.

For example, Fernando Llorente can be very useful for Napoli when it comes to free kicks and corner kicks. Llorente is a player who generally attacks spaces.

Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Corner kicks are a good opportunity to score a goal for Llorente. His height and his positioning to attack the ball from the front are great qualities of the player.
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Side free kicks are also a good opportunity to look for a Llorente header. Again the player is looking to run into space or the place where the ball is going to be played

Another tactical variant that Fernando Llorente can offer is that of generating spaces for his teammates. Llorente usually leaves his position inside the box so that players like Callejón or Insigne can reach the goal position. That is to say, he can go back several meters and hold the ball to make a pass to his fast-approaching players.

Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
It will be very important for Napoli that the players are connected to each other. For example, in this case, his teammate who comes from the front already knows that Llorente is going to hold the position and the ball to run to the space generated by Llorente himself when he takes the centre-back out of his position.
Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Llorente leaves his position to wait for the arrival of his teammates in the box. As Llorente is the main attacking reference, often the defensive line focuses only on him and they lose the reference of the other players who thus arrive unmarked.

Similarly, Llorente can often move the ball several meters when recovering it. This serves, first, to give pause to the team and wait for the fast players to pass the line of the ball. Afterwards, Llorente can make some quick passes for a counterattack.

Fernando Llorente 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Counterattacks will be fundamental for Napoli like the one shown in this image. In this case, Llorente is the one who advances a few meters with the ball to drag away several rival players. In this way, his team-mates are free and a pass will go towards them to take advantage of their speed.

Statistics

A tactical analysis of a player based on a scout report is not complete without the analysis of statistics. The first thing to consider when evaluating a striker’s statistics is the number of goals. In addition, during the analysis of a striker assists must be taken into account.

In the case of Fernando Llorente, the Spanish player has scored a total of 173 goals in his entire career. As for the assists, he has made a total of 58 assists. In total, Llorente has played 558 matches in his career in clubs. That means that Llorente has participated in a total of 231 goals, counting goals and assists. That is, Llorente participates in a goal every 146 minutes. He is a striker who participates in a goal every two or three games.

Another statistic to take into account is the number of shots Fernando Llorente takes per game. Llorente takes, on average, between three and four shots per game. Of those shots, 40% go to goal, that is, almost half. Therefore, he is a striker who always has scoring in mind.

In addition, what needs to be taken into account are his movements inside the box. As Fernando Llorente is a very tall player, his main area of influence is inside the box. Llorente, on average, makes a total of 5 touches in the box. That means that Llorente is a central striker that is always looking for the best position inside the box. In that area, the movements are very important, because it is necessary to be unmarked and generate spaces to create goal opportunities. That’s something that Llorente does very well. 

Conclusion 

The tactical analysis showed that Fernando Llorente can be very useful to Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli. Llorente is a player who, due to his characteristics, can offer several attacking options to Napoli which they previously lacked. For example, he can provide aerial play, as Napoli did not have a player to attack crosses. In addition, Llorente is a striker who is lethal inside the box and has a lot of presence. For the centre-backs, it is always difficult to mark Llorente.

Another obvious thing from the tactical analysis is that Fernando Llorente met the conditions to be a player of Napoli. That is why Carlo Ancelotti himself asked the board and spoke to the player personally to convince him. Llorente already knew Serie A from his time as a Juventus player, something important for Ancelotti. This is why he knows which style of play is practised in Italy and will adapt easily.



Artwork by @chapulana

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Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya

Writer at Ronnie Dog Media
From Bucaramanga, Colombia. Fan of Atlético Bucaramanga. 26 years old. Football as a lifestyle.
Juan Ricardo Arenas Amaya