Joining the thread of astounding Argentinian talents that have emerged and made a name for themselves in the foreign leagues, Cristian Pavon is on course to repeat the same feat. MLS side LA Galaxy accommodated Pavón, a regular at Boca Juniors, on loan in 2019 in an attempt to contemplate Zlatan Ibrahimović and strengthen their attack. Ever since the beginning of his spell at LA Galaxy, Pavón has been a constant to LA Galaxy’s forward force, helping them to cope up with MLS’s growing demands.

During this tactical analysis that will primarily focus on the Argentinian’s spell at LA Galaxy, we’ll analyze his role, positioning, creativity and how these attributes have influenced LA Galaxy overall.

Positioning 

Cristian Pavon operates from the left side of the pitch often, as Guillermo Barros Schelotto likes to give the Argentine offensive duties at the left-wing more often under his tactics. However, we can occasionally see the Argentinian operating as a Right Attacking Midfielder instead of occupying Left Attacking Midfielder’s slot or his conventional Left Winger’s spot.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Cristian Pavón’s LA Galaxy heatmap to date. [Wyscout.com]
Pavón’s positioning becomes much more dynamic when it comes to LA Galaxy’s ball movements. The 23-year old occupies a central position more often, with a motive to unleash the center forward to open more space and ultimately, more goal-scoring chances. Pavón averages 4.25 touches inside the box per 90, which hint us his shift to the central position to draw defenders towards him to benefit the striker.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Pavón’s central move to draw the defenders and contemplate the forward.

Here, in this picture, Pavón positions himself centrally just to attract the center backs and free up the lone striker, Ibrahimović. Pavón’s positioning here allows Ibrahimović to make a run into the void created by Pavón’s move. This creates a situation where Ibrahimović can either opt to shoot, as his markers are drawn towards Pavón, or to engage in the link-up play. Pavón’s positioning has allowed LA Galaxy to boost up their lethal attack rates and has seen them create more chances of exploiting the spaces. This has had positive impacts, as Ibrahimović seemingly looked to operate in a liberal role with tonnes of goal scoring opportunities.

Playmaking and creativity

LA Galaxy’s prime intentions of bringing Pavón from Boca Juniors were answers to their quest of finding a winger that can create moves, find spaces and feed the striker with goal-scoring opportunities. Pavón’s spell at Hollywood seems to have justified their decision of choosing the 23-year-old as he’s displayed an astounding degree of consistency in playmaking and creating chances.

Pavón, occupying the left-wing, provides width and symmetry to the LA Galaxy side, which has seen their attack foster with time. The Argentine makes runs from his side of the pitch, aiming to feed the striker with clear-goal scoring chances. Pavón crosses the ball 3.95 times per 90 towards Ibrahimović, who, with his height has proven to be a perfect compliment to Pavon’s ability to create chances from the wider side.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Cristian Pavón’s potential crossing position and his options.

In addition to crosses, the modern conundrum of game demands wingers to possess the ability to pass and link-up with their teammates to create moves. Pavón’s tenure at LA Galaxy has seen him linking up with teammates to create an attacking move, occasionally making runs to create. With 56.8% success rate in 8.6 dribble attempts per match, he looks to utilize his ability to burst into pace and supply with occasional offensive runs. Pavón averages 2.27 progressive runs per 90, that end up usually in a through ball or his special ‘line-breaking’ pass, which is aimed to facilitate the striker to have a go at the goal.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Pavón picking up the run, the run trajectory and Ibrahimović

The run, shown above, concluded in a chance that forced a save off Ibra’s strike.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
The concluding phase of the run: the pass to the forward, resulting in a blocked shot

Pavón’s playmaking and creative prowess peaks at his ability to pick his teammates in dangerous spots at the final third. Not only does he complete three passes to the final third per 90, but he has also bagged five assists in 13 starts for the Galaxians. The results are visible for LA Galaxy as a team, as the addition of Pavón to their attack force has boosted their average of 1.63 goals per game to 2.71 goals per game after the Argentinian’s arrival. Pavón looks to create and dictate play at a consistent level, which makes him one of the most looked at playmakers in the MLS currently.

Ability to finish chances and awareness

Pavón’s ability to finish chances and find himself at the receiving end of the play makes him a goal scorer in addition to a playmaker. The Argentinian takes over two shots per game with 45.9% of them on target. His composure of finishing chances has seen him bag five goals in 13 games he has played, earning an xG of 0.25 on average. The Argentinian also has looked deadly in finishing one-on-one chances and finding areas of space before netting the ball in.

In addition to his responsibilities to deal with the opposition full-backs, Pavón sets himself to move towards the box when a midfielder is making run or the striker is involved in the link-up. This typical movement of the Argentinian implies his ability to find himself into spaces to receive passes, as well as see some one-on-one chances provided that the other players draw the defensive blocks out. The 23-year-old’s runs are typically in the central zone whenever a goal-scoring opportunity is seen. Most of the goals that have seen Pavón’s involvement has seen Pavón’s advanced goal-scoring positioning as a very crucial factor.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Alvarez finding Pavón, who was making a run to be able to take the chance.

Following the move shown above, Pavón scored with a thumping strike.

Cristian Pavon 2019 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
A well-executed strike from a difficult angle: demonstration of Pavon’s poaching abilities.

Impressive instincts and the ability to poach and roam around the opposition to force errors out of the defensive blocks have made him a useful figure at the Galaxy squad. Barros Schelotto realizes the potential that the Argentine has and thus far has deployed him centrally on few occasions too, looking to utilize the awareness and ability to beat a man to move into spaces.

Conclusion

From Boca Juniors to LA Galaxy, the 23-year-old Argentine has continued to evolve and develop as a winger who is comfortable with the ball, can drop and create chances as well as finish them as this analysis showed. This scout report was all about the prowess and precision Pavón carries on the attributes. With impressive duels record, it is clear that the Argentinian is more than just a contemporary winger that crosses and sits back for yet another chance. Pavón links-up and creates moves for the team, which has been a crucial factor of the Argentinian’s success at the LA Galaxy. As a result of his impressive display and prospects, LA Galaxy have decided to retain Pavón on loan till the end of 2020 and it seems to be getting better with the Argentine taking command.

After Ibrahimović’s departure, Chicharito Hernandez has joined LA Galaxy which signals Pavon doing exactly what he’s done to date for LA Galaxy: create moves, link up and free the striker to ultimately feed him to shoot. But who knows? There might be a knock from Europe for this man from Cordoba soon!

Sudesh
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