Queens Park Rangers have endured a somewhat average season thus far in the Championship. 6 points off the playoff zone, no one is considering them as serious contenders. A bright spark of their season, however, has been the individual performances of Eberechi Eze. The 21-year-old attacking midfielder has had 12 goals and seven assists in the championship this season. He combines an eye for goal with attacking flair, dazzling spectators at Loftus Road.
It perhaps comes as no surprise that Eze has attracted attention from Premier League clubs, with Tottenham reportedly interested in a summer move for Eze. With a rumoured £20 million price-tag, he could be a steal for a top-half Premier League side.
This tactical analysis scout report will highlight the key parts to Eze’s game. It will use analysis to highlight his playmaking ability. The tactical analysis will also use analysis to show any area of improvement, as well as highlighting any other significant strengths in the scout report.
Style of play
Eze usually operates on the left wing in 4-2-3-1 formation. Most wingers today are usually deployed as inside forwards, looking to exploit space in behind and provide a goal threat. Eze however, will look to get the ball into feet and square up to his opposing player, looking to beat him with his dribbling ability. He will often drift inwards to create space for the overlapping full-back and link-up play with the midfield.
Eze arguably operates as a number 10 in a wide position. He has an eye for creating goal-scoring opportunities, and his ability in tight situations means he can often find space in a crowded area. Mark Warburton perhaps uses this tactic of playing Eze out wide to allow him creative freedom. He is not tasked with large defensive responsibilities, with nearly half of his defensive duels coming in the middle third. This allows Eze the freedom to be a destructive player higher up the pitch.
His position also allows him goal scoring opportunities. Operating in the left wing position, he can come inside on his stronger foot. This means he can open his body up and look to bend one goalwards. This scout report will now look at these attributes in greater detail. It will look at tactics deployed to assist Eze’s style of play, using the analysis to show the effectiveness of the way he is used.
Eze’s main strength in this QPR side is his playmaking ability. Operating on the left wing in a 4-2-3-1- formation, he has the freedom to drift inwards onto his stronger foot. This opens the play up for Eze, and he will usually attempt to dribble past opponents to play a smart pass. Eze attempts roughly 6 dribbles per 90, with a success rate of 70.8%. The 7 assists he has this season makes him QPR’s top goal creator. He also averages 1.22 smart passes per 90.
Therefore, his close control is used as a tactic to draw opposition players towards him and exploit the vacated space. As a result, once Eze beats his man, he can pick out a teammate and create a goal-scoring opportunity. This shows he is a highly creative player, combining close control with an eye for a pass.
Eze can use his dribbling ability to create goal-scoring chances for himself. He is an excellent 1 v 1 dribbler and this creates a problem for the defender. If the opposing player does not commit to a tackle, Eze can open his body up and shoot. If they do commit to a tackle, Eze’s 1 v 1 ability makes it likely he will come out on top and beat the defender. This shows why Eze is deployed from the left wing: he offers variety in his play and can shoot, dribble and create. Therefore, this makes him unpredictable.
As the image below shows, the defender is wary of diving into a challenge in case Eze beats him and drives to goal. As a result, Eze can open his body and bend the ball towards goal.
Operating between the lines
Eze is also a proficient player when looking to exploit space between the lines. The freedom gifted to him means he will come inside without the ball, looking to play in between the lines. As this analysis will show, these tactics are employed by QPR to get the best out of Eze.
By drifting inside, Eze can exploit space and receive the ball in central areas. He does this sporadically throughout games, picking and choosing when to stay out wide and when to push in. As the images below show, Eze exploits gaps in between the lines, both vertically and horizontally. He positions himself in a way which the pass from deep is an easy one. These tactics are employed for a few reasons.
Firstly, he can receive the ball centrally to drive forward. Out wide, he may be marked directly by the full-back, so coming inside allows him to get involved in the play. It gets him into a position where he can utilise his best abilities to be a dangerous player on the pitch. Secondly, it assists with QPR’s deep progression. It helps to create another passing channel centrally to aid QPR, as well as creating an overload in midfield. This helps QPR’s possession-based style of play. Finally, it creates space for Ryan Manning. The left-back is a very attacking one, with 5 assists and 2 goals. Pushing inside affords Manning the space to create goal-scoring chances himself, being a very effective crosser of the ball.
A potential area of improvement for Eze is his defensive contribution. As the scout report previously mentioned, the tactics employed at QPR are done to allow him creative freedom. However, a reported move to Tottenham would need to see him do more defensively to fit into Jose Mourinho’s tactics. The analysis below will show where he can improve defensively.
The majority of Eze’s defensive duels take place in the middle third, showing a reluctance to track back further and assist the full-back. Further to this, he has only won 21.4% of those duels, showing he is not particularly strong in the tackle. Granted, whilst QPR’s tactics mean he doesn’t have to defend as much, his weakness in the tackle may be an area of concern for top sides. The way football has evolved – in particular in the Premier League – forward players are the first line of the defence. They must be aggressive in the tackle and press high up the pitch. If he wishes for a move to a top 6 side, he may have to work on his aggression.
Eze will be attracting a lot of Premier League attention during the summer transfer window. If QPR fail to get promoted it may be a difficult task to keep a hold of them. Whilst Tottenham are said to be interested, a step up to a top 6 side may be too soon. Eze may be better suited making the move to a midtable side, acclimatising himself to the league in his formative playing years at the top level.
A side that Eze could make the step up to would be Leicester City. Whilst it looks likely they will be playing Champions League football if the season is to be continued, they would need healthy competition to Harvey Barnes. Eze’s style is one that would suit the way Leicester play – they do not necessarily press aggressively from the front, with Jamie Vardy usually leading a one-man charge. They also like to build-up play from deep, keeping possession. This would allow Eze to get involved in the play, coming in from the flank for Chilwell to push forward.
His game would also compliment Vardy’s. Vardy plays on the shoulder and stretches the defence, leaving gaps between the midfield and backline. Eze’s dribbling would allow him to exploit this space, and the tactical analysis has highlighted he is a danger when given the opportunity to do so. His goal creating ability would make him an ideal player for the way Vardy plays.
This tactical analysis scout report of Eberechi Eze has highlighted a few things. First and foremost, he has had a fantastic individual season at QPR. Still only 21 years old, there is plenty of time for development and improvement. His impressive on-the-ball work is matched by his equally impressive off-the-ball work. He is an unpredictable player, making it a nightmare for opposing players to defend against him. He is also a very intelligent player and can exploit spaces left or create spaces with his movement inside.
However, as this analysis showed, if he wishes to progress further and take his game to the next level, he will have to become an asset defensively as well as offensively. To play in a successful Premier League team, all players need to help defensively. He needs to become more aggressive in defensive duels and his overall play to fit into the tactics of the top sides.
Instead, a move to a team with less expectation (with all respect to Leicester) would allow Eze to flourish. They would complement each other’s style of play and he would provide healthy competition with an increased fixture list.