The man known in his native Brazil as Cebolinha had a monster 2019 calendar year. In the Brazilian Serie A alone, he tallied 15 goals and seven assists for Gremio. Everton’s performances earned him a spot on the Seleção that won the Copa America in Brazil last summer, where he contributed with three goals and one assist. This made him a transfer target for clubs such as Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton. The most recent news is that Serie A side, Napoli was set to bring the Brazilian in as a replacement for the departing Jose Callejon.
In this tactical analysis piece in the form of a scout report, we will see how Everton is a key member in the Gremio squad. We will be analyzing his recent performances in the Campeonato Gaucho and Copa Libertadores before the pause in football.
Positioning for Gremio
Everton Soares primarily lines up on the left side of the field as a forward in the 4-3-3, or as the left-winger in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1. His favoured foot is right foot, and as you can see on his heat map he tends to cut inside. There are several tactics that Gremio utilize Everton’s positioning. He is strong in 1v1 situations, so he has the ability to find space to turn and run at defenders.
There are times where he drifts towards the centre of the field to give space to the full-back. This move also allows Everton to check into the empty space and still be isolated with a defender. In this example against América de Cali, Everton has just received the ball from Caio Henrique after checking into the space from the centre.
He then deftly cuts inside to his favoured right foot, using the defender’s momentum to his advantage. After taking a few touches inside he draws a defender away from his teammate. Everton then passes to his newly open teammate so Gremio can switch the point of attack with ease. In the next section of the scout report, we will take a look at Everton’s biggest strength, his dribbling.
Everton’s willingness to dribble
Cebolinha is an incredibly aggressive dribbler when it comes to the final third. So far this season he has an average of 8.75 dribbles per game with a 40.3% success rate. These numbers indicate the Brazilian is on track to eclipse his stats from last year, which were 9.92 dribbles per game and a 42% success rate.
In this graph from Wyscout, we can see the variety of ways that Everton delivered the ball into the penalty area. Last year in around the penalty area he connected 33 successful passes and connected 11 crosses. The 29 carries into the box clearly show that he was looking to bring the ball closer to goal himself.
In the graph below we can see his eagerness to take on defenders in the final third in 2019. In the Campeonato Gaucho alone, he attempted 387 dribbles and had a 66.9% success rate. Everton also attempted 94 shots after these dribbles and had 38 on target. Of those shots on target 11 found the back of the net.
While he does shoot after beating a defender, he also uses this ability to create opportunities for his teammates. Defenders tend to gravitate towards the ball, and Everton uses this to Gremio’s advantage. Using this instance in Gremio’s match against America de Cali, we see an example of Everton’s dribbling ability.
Everton takes on three defenders and as they follow him down the line, he cuts back. Having created space by dribbling he passes to Matheus Henrique, who takes an uncontested shot that beats the keeper.
This brings up his next strongest attribute, which is shooting. Everton is not just an aggressive dribbler, but also takes a lot of shots. He generates these opportunities due to his positioning on the field and his assertive dribbling around the penalty area. In the next section of the analysis, we will take a more detailed look at his shooting.
Cebolinha’s shooting contributions
Everton was also on track to surpass his shooting output this year. He finished 2019 with an average of 2.8 shots per game. So far in 2020, he averages 3.1 shots per game. The Brazilian has taken the highest volume of shots in the tournament with 24 total shots.
Focusing more on his shot selection, the majority of his shots are taken around the left of the penalty area. Out of 146 total shots Everton took, 76 were inside of the penalty area while 68 were outside of it. To highlight his shooting preference, he took 104 of those shots with his right foot.
Using match footage from the match against São José, we have two examples of Everton shooting. In the first sequence, the left-back Cortez has drawn the attention of two defenders opening up space in the middle. He chooses to pass to the midfielder Maicon, as Everton moves into the open area at the top of the box. Maicon then lays the ball off to Cebolinha who shoots with his first touch.
Towards the end of the match, we see Everton showcasing his strong dribbling capabilities to create a chance. After receiving the ball from Cortez, he fakes a shot which commits two defenders into blocking his action.
Cebolinha is really looking to get into the space behind them, so once they are on the ground, he dribbles around them. He is then able to get the shot off in a pocket of space between four oncoming defenders.
Being such an aggressive dribbler comes at a cost. Everton also has a high rate of losses and misplaced passes. Looking at the graph charting losses, we can see his failed passes and dribbles. Averaging 10.71 losses per game, mostly happening in the final third where he has lost the ball 268 times.
There are times Everton where successfully navigates past multiple defenders at once, he is also insistent in doing so. Being deployed on the left flank, there is a certain amount of time he is willing to spend on his weaker foot. Here we have an example of both of these instances from the Porto Alegre derby against fierce rivals Internacional. Everton is leading the counter-attack and seems to be in a favourable situation against a lone defender. Instead of using his pace to get around the defender, Cebolinha decides to slow down and cut the ball back.
This allows another Internacional player to come to the defenders’ aid. Although he is able to dribble past one, the second defender tracks his movement and is able to dispossess Everton.
Everton’s aggressive dribbling style and increasing shooting output would be a welcome addition to any European side. He would be following in the footsteps of former Gremio players such as Lazio’s Lucas Leiva, Arthur, and Ronaldinho. Everton Soares is a quality Brazilian talent to keep an eye on for the future.