Fábio Vieira is a midfielder currently playing for FC Porto’s second team. In fact, Vieira has played in FC Porto’s academy since the age of nine. Last season, this young player was one of the protagonists of the UEFA Youth League won by the Portuguese club as they beat the EPL side Chelsea, and became the first Portuguese club to win the competition. In fact, Vieira scored the first goal in the final which helped FC Porto to lift the trophy.

This season, Vieira is playing in Liga Pro, the second tier of Portuguese football. The 19-year-old, currently on his first season at senior level, is causing an impact in FC Porto’s second team. Vieira played 23 matches and he had a big influence on his team’s goals. This led him to be called by Sérgio Conceição to FC Porto’s first-team training sessions. Can Vieira grab this opportunity and become a first-teamer?

This scout report will provide a tactical analysis of Fábio Vieira and describe his role in FC Porto’s second team. Additionally, Vieira will be compared to other midfielders in Liga Pro. Last but not least, this analysis will also examine if Vieira can fit in Sergio Conceição’s tactics.

Overview

In this season, FC Porto’s second team coach Rui Barros chose a 4-3-3 formation almost for every game. Rui Barros, former FC Porto and Juventus player, elected Vieira to play in two different positions throughout the season: centre-midfielder or right-midfielder.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira’s prefered positions and heatmap

Vieira is a player that likes to control his team’s build-up but also participate in attacking and in finishing situations. Therefore, playing in a 4-3-3 as a centre-midfielder allows him to do just that. His vision and good passing abilities help his team in the build-up process. Equally, his good dribbling, shooting, and chance-creating capacity turn him into an asset in the final third.

Physically, Vieira is not a very tall player and has a thin body figure. However, his body structure helps him be a player with good pace, acceleration, and agility, though sometimes he lacks some strength in his duels. Mentally, Vieira is confident, audacious, and a creative player who he has an acceptable level of aggression.

Ball distribution

Vieira likes to have the ball on his feet and control his team’s plays. Overall, the young Portuguese has a good passing ability and is capable of executing all types of passes efficiently. In fact, Vieira has a passing success rate of 81.1%. It should be noted, that Vieira is a player that likes to pass the ball forward. Therefore, he tries more than the double of forward passes than back passes, with a forward passes success rate of 70.4%.

Consequently, the young player is an important asset to his team’s build-up process. Vieira is capable of dropping down to the middle of the centre-backs and start the build-up.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira dropping between the centre-backs to organise the game from the back

The midfielder plays always with his head up and has good vision. Vieira usually identifies with ease the best teammate to pass the ball to, and similarly, he can recognise an overload on one side and rotate the ball to the opposite side of the field. In fact, his 60.5% long pass success rate is reasonably good.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira identifies that the left side is overloaded and shifts the ball to the right side

In addition, Vieira also is capable of causing trouble in more advanced positions. The midfielder has a success rate of 73% in his passes to the final third. His vision, creativity, and audacity help him execute good trough and smart passes like the ones in the images below.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics

This passes from the young player usually create dangerous situations for his team with crosses or finishing situations. Viera also has a good average rate of passes to the penalty box, executing 4.15 per game with a 50% success rate.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira sees the space behind the defenders and takes advantage of his teammate speed to create a dangerous situation

Offensive input

Vieira is clearly a player that has an artistic flair. His ball control, speed, agility, and confidence make him very good in dribbling past his opponents. In fact, Vieira has good dribbling skills both in closed spaces and while accelerating with the ball. The young midfielder’s good first touch also helps in his dribbling. Sometimes, just with the first touch, he overtakes his opponents. The player uses his body feints to mislead his opponents and his quick feet to change direction and accelerate quickly. In fact, Vieira breaks his opponent’s ankles often and consequently, he also suffers an average of 4.15 fouls per game.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira gets the ball and dribbles past 4 opponents until he gets fouled in a dangerous position

The downside of his dribbling qualities and confidence is that sometimes he is careless and tries dribbles in dangerous places. Losing the ball in such areas sometimes leads to dangerous attacks from the opponents.

As can be seen in the chart below, Vieira’s has a good dribbling success rate of 59.02% and he is among the best in Liga Pro. These numbers are even more relevant because he is one of the midfielders with more dribbles per 90 min.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Comparison between Liga Pro midfielders dribbles success and dribbles per 90 min. The age of the players is shown next to their name. All the players above played more than 10 matches

The talented midfielder uses this perk to create dangerous situations and to exit situations where he is under pressure. Vieira often pushes his team forward with progressive runs with the ball and knows when to release it. Usually, his runs with the ball end with good passes or shots. The young midfielder has a quick trigger and he likes to shoot quite often.

Without a doubt, Vieira likes to shoot because he is the player with the most shots in the Portuguese second division. In total, Vieira tried 66 shots with both feet from different positions and the midfielder hits the goal 40.91% of the times. He has a reasonably powerful and quick triggered shot that sometimes surprises the goalkeepers. The graphic below shows that the midfielder likes to shoot and he doesn’t have a favourite area to shoot from.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira’s shooting positions and outcome

We have seen that Vieira likes to shoot but he doesn’t only try, he scores quite often. Vieira has the second-best xG ratio among midfielders in Liga Pro, as can be seen in the chart below. In fact, he has seven goals to his name in his first senior season.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
xG comparison between midfielders with more than 10 matches played in Liga Pro. The age of the players is shown next to their name

Overall this season, in all competitions for club and country, Vieira scored 14 goals and assisted his teammates five times. The image below shows a magical finishing from Vieira where he chips the keeper with many players around him.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Vieira finishes the play by executing a perfect lob leaving the goalkeeper static

Defensive contribution

Viera is clearly not known for his defensive skills. Defensive wise, he has acceptable numbers but in some situations, it seems he could do more. The midfielder in some defensive situations seems to not give his best. Sometimes, if he is beaten or the opponents counterattack quickly, he doesn’t go back at full throttle.

The chart below compares defensive actions between midfielders in FC Porto’s second team. We can see that Vieira is behind his teammates in some of the defensive aspects.

Fábio Vieira 2019/20 - Scout Report – tactical analysis tactics
Defensive actions comparison between FC Porto’s second-team midfielders

Without a doubt, this can be a problem if he wants to play under Sérgio Conceição – high defensive work rate is FC Porto’s motto. The Portuguese coach doesn’t allow his players, regardless of the position, to skip their defensive duties. This is especially true with the two midfielders in the 4-4-2 formation, as they are the ones that have to defend a wider area.

Nevertheless, Vieira could fill the position of right midfielder similarly to what Otávio and Romário Báro do in some FC Porto’s games. That position represents a player that can have more offensive freedom than the two centre midfielders. However, in FC Porto’s first-team, defensive duties must never be disregarded no matter the position.

Conclusion

Vieira is an advanced playmaker that likes to have the ball, create chances, but also finish them. The young player is very talented and still on his first season in the senior level. His artistic flair makes him unpredictable which allows him to create dangerous chances for his team. However, he needs to mature in some aspects of his game to play regularly in the first team, especially defensive wise.

Finally, Sérgio Conceição has been giving minutes to many academy players in the first team. Nevertheless, this season might still be too soon for Vieira to play in the first team. However, spending time with the first team might give him the maturity and experience he needs to improve his game and succeed.

Martim Gomes
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