Long regarded as one of France’s most promising young players, Serhou Guirassy has been slow to establish himself at the highest level. He played for the French U16, U19 and U20 teams. Trained at Laval, he joined Lille in the summer of 2015. He didn’t play a lot (only nine appearances) and was sent on loan to AJ Auxerre after half a season. He scored 8 goals in 16 games there and had a good second half of the season. His good form led to a transfer to Bundesliga club FC Köln for just under 4 million euros. His experience in Germany is rather mixed, with only 16 starts in two and a half years and nine goals in 45 games. However, he played five Europa league matches in the 2017/2018 season. Then, he went on loan to Amiens SC in January 2019 with an automatic six million euro purchase option if they stayed in Ligue 1. He signed a three-year contract after a successful loan and represents the biggest transfer in the club’s history. Guirassy has a very good 2019/2020 season with Amiens, which led a lot of clubs to follow his performances. Especially in England, where several clubs were interested in his profile (Brighton, West Ham …). Amiens would have received a loan offer with a purchase option estimated at 20 million euros in January. Today, the value of the Amiens striker is valued at 10 million euros on Transfermarkt, and he’s becoming one of the best striker in Ligue 1. In this tactical analysis, in the form of a scout report, we’re going to look at its impact on the Amiens attack as well as its margin for improvement.
Luka Elsner uses mostly a 4-2-3-1 tactics with Guirassy as the scorer and Gaël Kakuta as the number ten. Kakuta is a good complement to the former FC Köln player and always tries to play around him. Guirassy has played as a left-winger in the past, and you can see on the heat map that he regularly plays in this area of the pitch. He is 24 years old and has an imposing physique with 187cm for 82 kilos. He plays in a team that is 19th in the ranking and has the 19th rank in terms of xG in Ligue 1 (25.62 xG for 31 goals).
Excellent back to goal
Guirassy’s main strength is his ability to attract pressure on himself to give space to Kakuta or his wingers (Juan Otero, Fousseni Diabaté or Joseph Mendoza). He is powerful and easily gets the best on his opponent. He is a player who has a significant impact on the defenders because of his work rate, his many off the ball movements, but also because of his physique. Guirassy engages the opposing defenders in physical combat throughout the match.
As the graph shows, he fights an average of 9.54 aerial duels per 90 minutes, which is among the highest in Ligue 1. He wins an average of 44% of his duels. In addition to being tall, Guirassy has a good jumping reach and above all a perfect sense of timing. Against Marseille on 6 March, Guirassy won 63% of aerial duels (5 out of 8).
Régis Gurtner, Amiens’ goalkeeper, made 7 clearances on Guirassy during the match. This shows that the Amiens striker is an aerial support for his team. Kakuta is always close to the Guirassy area to recover a possible one-touch pass. It’s a great asset for Amiens to have such a profile in his team. Because faced with teams that are pressing hard and high on the pitch, there is a long-passing solution with Guirassy. That allows both to break the pressure with a long ball and also to have a counter-attacking opportunity if Guirassy wins his duel.
The images above show an example of its quality in the air. Thanks to a good impulse, he gets the best out of the defender and finds Kakuta with a header. Guirassy is constantly being sought after for his team’s long clearances and goal kicks.
Guirassy is also important thanks to his one-touch passing. He is quite skillful with the ball and the fact that there is always Kakuta nearby also allows him to combine with a partner and have a close solution. One of these qualities is also his ability to use his body as a pivot. He positions himself in front of the defender and puts his body in opposition so that his opponent cannot recover the ball.
In this picture, Guirassy comes through the Marseille lines to receive the ball. He moves in the midfield and is not followed by the centre backs.
He wipes out Valère Germain with a nice oriented control. He turns around and attacks the free space.
He quickly drives with the ball into the half-space and represents a danger. He attracts four Marseille players on him and allows Haitam Aleesami to have space on the left-wing.
He waits until the last moment to be able to serve Aleesami in the best possible conditions. This has led to dangerous action for Amiens.
This is an example of the variety of Guirassy’s game. He makes himself available and tries to participate in the build-up play. His speed with the ball at his feet allows him to represent a permanent threat to his opponents. Moreover, by dropping so low, he frees himself from the marking of the centre-backs and has more space to express himself.
In the picture above, Guirassy makes the same type of movement as before, placing himself in front of his opponent. He receives a pass from his midfield player.
He puts his body in opposition to prevent his opponent from intervening.
His oriented control wipes out his opponent and offers his team a great opportunity to counter-attack.
Use of his body
These images illustrated what is certainly his greatest strength, power and use of his body. It is very difficult to defend on Guirassy when he has his back to you. His body allows him to bring his opponent where he wants to go. We will see on the following pictures how dangerous he is on a harmless action.
Guirassy places himself in front of Boubacar Kamara, spreading his legs and using his arms. It is very difficult for the Marseille defender to cut off a possible pass to the Amiens striker. The most dangerous thing for Marseille here is that Guirassy is orientated in such a way that he can get in front of the goal. He doesn’t really have his back to the goal, which makes him all the more dangerous.
The defender with the black arrow will manage to recover the ball. But if he hadn’t been able to do that, it would have been a one-on-one between the goal and Guirassy. The latter had managed to put Kamara out of reach just with the help of his body.
Same situation on this image above. On an aerial ball, he positions his body slightly backwards so that the defender cannot prevent him from receiving the ball. This is one of Guirassy’s most striking qualities, and it represents a real weight on the defences. It’s very complicated to defend against him when he shields the ball. He gets about 1.8 fouls per game. Guirassy is not a player who dribbles a lot. He tries on average only 0.7 dribbles per match with 47% of success. He has good ball control, allowing him to change direction quickly and to be dangerous on counter-attacks.
He makes an average of 18.9 passes per match with a 71% success rate. He has a 65% success rate in the opposing camp. Amiens is the team with the lowest average possession in Ligue 1 (46.5%) and the 19th lowest pass rate (77.4%). This is because Amiens mainly plays counter-attack and therefore has to make riskier passes to destabilize his opponent. Guirassy performs well on short passes and in small spaces, but much less well on long or mid-distance passes. He doesn’t have an excellent vision of the game that you see in many modern strikers such as Roberto Firmino or Robert Lewandowski. He makes an average of 0.6 key passes per match, which is not a lot. There are few creative players in Amiens apart from Kakuta and Saman Ghoddos, and that forces Guirassy to take responsibility for building the game as well. This pushes him to make bad passing choices. He has delivered only one assist this season, against Metz.
The two essential characteristics of a good striker are finishing and off the ball movements. Making the right move at the right time to receive the ball in the right conditions and being effective in front of goal. As said before, he is a player with good speed, which allows him to be unpredictable for defenders. He has a lot of activity on the field, and regularly offers solutions in depth. As Amiens plays counter-attacking, he has a lot of space behind the defensive line and can use his speed to make the difference. He is on average 0.6 offside per game, which is relatively correct. We often see him adjusting his positioning to align himself with the opposing defence.
He has scored nine goals this season with 8.72 from xG. He is right-footed but decent with his left foot too. He has scored two goals with his left foot, one with his head and six with his right foot this season. He is a player capable of scoring with all parts of his body and his athletic qualities allow him to score in any position. Three of his nine goals have been on penalties, where he is quite comfortable (75% success in 2019/2020).
However, he still has some progress to make in finishing, he needs to be more clinical and more efficient. He sometimes misses open goals, perhaps due to a lack of composure or lucidity. It must be said that Guirassy puts a lot of effort into the field and the fact that he always wants to be available on the pitch makes him less lucid on key opportunities. Some strikers are very good at making themselves forgotten and coming on at the right time to score.
Mauro Icardi comes to mind, who is a real poacher. But Guirassy is also capable of scoring where we don’t think it’s possible. His goal against Monaco with 0.16 of xG is proof of that. A sudden shot into the top right corner of Benjamin Lecomte. He is an unpredictable and constantly dangerous striker. We’re going to look at several phases of play where we’ll analyse both his movements off the ball and his finish in front of goal.
In the picture above, Kakuta picks up a ball in the centre of the field and notices the free space between Thiago Silva and Mitchel Bakker. Guirassy also notices it and triggers his run between Tanguy Kouassi and Silva.
He outpaces Kouassi and Silva, who only anticipate Guirassy’s run too late. The latter anticipates Kakuta’s pass which allows him to take the lead over the two PSG defenders.
Facing Keylor Navas, and from a difficult angle, Guirassy manages to score. He shoots between the legs of the former Real Madrid goalkeeper. He will score two goals in this match against PSG. Certainly his best performance match of the season, so much he caused problems for the Parisian defenders.
In this picture, Guirassy is careful with his position so as not to be offside. He notices directly the free space behind Bakker. The latter is attracted by the ball and does not see what is going on behind his back. Guirassy indicates where he wants to get the ball with his arm.
The pass is perfect behind Bakker’s back and once again Guirassy faces Navas.
The PSG goalkeeper reduces the angle shot well and makes a great save, with a very firm right hand. The angle was complicated for Guirassy but it is still an action where he could do better.
As we saw at the beginning of the article, Guirassy is very valuable for his team in the aerial game and especially on opponents’ set-pieces. We regularly see him clear the ball from the head on corners. He is also active at the loss of the ball, pressing the ball carrier and cutting the passing lines. Guirassy and Kakuta will often press the central defenders at the loss of the ball to avoid them an easy clearance.
Álvaro González is oriented towards Kamara to pass to him. Kakuta goes to press the Spanish centre-back and Guirassy does the same with Kamara. The idea was to save time to form a defensive block and prevent Marseille’s defenders from easy progressive passes.
Guirassy is positioned to be able to cut Álvaro’s pass line to Kamara and is close enough to the latter to be able to harass him if he gets the ball. Álvaro is forced to pass to his goalkeeper. The work done by Kakuta and Guirassy is very important and the 4-2-3-1 is very effective in pressing the centre-backs. Once again, Guirassy’s speed is an asset to press. We know the good clearance of Kamara and this pressing makes a lot of sense.
Kevin Strootman has the ball in midfield, oriented towards Kamara. Guirassy starts a direct run towards Kamara to cut the pass line.
Guirassy again positions himself to avoid any pass to Kamara, who was certainly targeted by Luka Elsner for his passing skills. Strootman is forced to give up this passing option. Guirassy’s defensive work is not necessarily reflected in his stats. He averages 0.2 interceptions and 0.3 tackles per game. He is a player who does not neglect his team’s defensive duties and he knows that his work can help his team.
This tactical analysis shows that Guirassy is a really interesting striker who will be of interest to many clubs this summer. His profile seems perfectly suited to the Premier League, where his physical impact will be significant. He’s got a wide range of skills and he’s performing well in a lot of different areas. Whether in-depth or pivot, he is always available for his team-mates. He can still progress in his finishing and his vision of the game but he seems to be on the right path. One thing’s for sure, Guirassy is a key player at Amiens and plays a big role in keeping his club in Ligue 1.