In this scout report, we analyse Gerson. After three unsuccessful years in Italy, he came back to Brazil in summer 2019. He was the most expensive Brazilian who signed at a Brazilian club. Gerson thrives in the central midfield of Flamengo and has won everything except the Club World Cup, losing against Liverpool. The 23-year-old flexible midfielder was the backbone of Flamengo’s Copa Libertadores win. He is 1.75 metres high and weighs 66 kg. This transfer window the left-footed is linked to Chelsea FC and Borussia Dortmund.

We analyse why Gerson is on the top of the European scout reports in this tactical analysis. This analysis provides you also with Gerson’s understanding of tactics and where he can also improve himself.

Analysis of Gerson’s vision

Gerson’s favourite position is as the number eight or ten. This could be a reason wherefore he did not fit in the squad of AS Rome. While Gerson played only 37% at his favourite position at Rome, he plays 90% in it at Flamengo. Since the Brazilian missed just one game in the league due to a yellow card ban, he is paying back the trust by playing several key passes. Gerson’s biggest strength is to construe spaces before the rest. The tactical analysis below shows such a situation.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Gerson got the ball in the right corner of the penalty box. The opposing team doubled him. Gerson could play an easy pass to Gabriel Barbosa, the number nine. Nevertheless, he anticipated the space at the edge of the five-metre space. This passing line was closed, but Gerson played the key pass due to his superb technique.

He passed behind his standing leg. As you can see, Gerson was already in the move, when his teammates just entered the box. So, he saw space very early. This fact made the pass complicated.

Firstly, Gerson could not pass the ball too strong, as the goalkeeper would have picked up the ball then. Secondly, it had to be timed perfectly for his teammate’s run. Therefore, the pass had to be played with less power. In contrast to this, his move had to be fast, so that the opposing centre-back could not anticipate the pass. This pass showed Gerson’s vision and understanding of tactics connected with his technique.

The next analysis shows a similar situation just in front of the box. Gerson got the ball in zone 14.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

As you can see in the tactical analysis above, Gerson was not pressed intensively. He had two obvious passing options; the player straight next to him and the left full-back, who is not in the picture anymore. Though the youngster construes another option. His right full-back sprinted in full tempo towards the penalty area. Gerson just played a curved ball with a lot of finesse into the small space. The space was small, as it was in the near of the opponent full-back. But he was in the backward movement. Gerson timed the ball exactly. Once again, Gerson revealed his vision for space paired with his passing technique.

The next tactical analysis of Gerson’s vision is depicted below. His teammate Bruno Henrique just shot but the keeper defended the ball and let it bounce back.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

The ball jumped to Gerson. He could try his luck but again he demonstrated his overview. Instead of shooting through the goalkeeper and another defender, he passed the ball in the run of Henrique again. Henrique was better positioned, and the opponents were expecting a shot from Gerson. Offside was also offset. Gerson played the pass and Henrique just passed into the empty goal.

These tactical analyses reveal Gerson’s vision for spaces and his technique to exploit them. Scout reports are filled with this kind of talent because this vision is hard to train. Gerson also demonstrates his vision in the transition between the midfield and the last third.

Flat key passes over 20+ metres

Gerson plays in the tactics of coach Jorge Jesus as the pivot between the midfield and the strikers. He can turn around an opponent due to his high amount of touches. This results in a close ball control. The next tactical analysis shows his transition to the last third of the pitch.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Gerson got the ball with his back oriented to the open pitch. He was able to turn and then to dribble against three opponents successfully. He sidestepped the last one as he played the ball on the left side around the opponent, while he was running on the right side. Gerson uses this move often. After he passed the halfway-line he played a through ball, as you can see in the tactical analysis below.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

He assisted the goal with another exactly timed and flat ball. Henrique did not have to control the ball. He could score directly.

Gerson has a passing accuracy for 30 – 40-metre progressive passes at 94.7%. His overall passing accuracy for progressive passes is at 92.12%. He played the fifth-most passes in the league. Amazing is also Gerson’s accuracy for 40+ metre balls: 87%. These accuracies are a real threat and can be compared to the values of Toni Kroos’ accuracy.

The analysis below shows another through ball from Gerson. Gerson got the ball after a set-piece.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

He feinted a cross out of the half-space, so his teammate could run horizontal to Gerson into space. Rafinha locked the opposing left full-back on the right-wing. Gerson provided the ball flat to the strong foot of his teammate. Therefore, his teammate could shift it to the wing directly. Gerson can manage the pace of Flamengo’s game with small details in his progressive passing skills.

Gerson was also responsible for the quick switch into the last third in the Copa Libertadores final 2019. The tactical analysis below shows such a situation.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Gerson controlled the ball at the halfway line. He turned his body towards the opponent’s half. Afterwards, he played another flat through ball to the wing. Gerson passed the ball with the right speed, that his teammate could take the ball at the edge of the penalty box. This is how you can achieve an advantage for your teammate because he is faster without the ball.

Coach Jesus knows about Gerson’s strengths to provide the ball to his teammates at the right time. So, he built his tactics around Gerson’s position to strengthen these skills even more. Coach Jesus let Gerson come to maturity at the half-spaces.

Analysis of Gerson’s moves in the half-spaces

The picture below shows Gerson’s heatmap. Gerson is most likely staying on the half-spaces behind the halfway-line till the penalty box.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

As you can see, he is more responsible for the pass into the last third than for the build-up.

The left-footer moves aware of these spaces, because it is difficult to cover them through formations. Besides it is possible to play balls from these positions, that cross the run from the forwards in the centrum or the wingers on the flanks. If they were covered, space is generated at the wings and Flamengo’s full-backs are offensively strong.

The tactical analysis below shows also another threatening option, that Gerson generates from the half-spaces. If he is in the near of the box, the central midfielder could shoot or flank the ball into the box.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

As you see, Gerson dribbled inside and shot afterwards. This move was Arjen Robben’s signature move. Gerson shoots from distance with a mix out of a laces kick and his inner ankle. This technique gives the ball a strong but also accurate trajectory. He hit the bar in this scene.

Below is a quite similar situation. Gerson controlled the ball against FC Santos, after he eluded the space on the wing. As his teammate made his run deep, Gerson dribbled inside and shot with the same technique again. This time, he scored.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Last season, Gerson scored two goals from outside of the penalty area in contrast to an expected goal rate of 0.51. In the penalty area, he scored three goals as opposed to an expected goal rate of 2.08. So, he outscored his expected goal rate.

But Gerson could also provide crosses from the half-spaces. In the analysis below, Gerson had the ball in the right central midfield.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

This situation shows up, why Gerson prefers the half-spaces. The opponent encircled Gerson with four players, but no one pressed him intensively. The former Roma man played a cross to the penalty point. He served the ball with a 45° angle with the result, that it is long enough in the air. Gerson calculated the long ball right. He assisted another Henrique goal. Altogether Gerson assisted for five since he arrived at Flamengo.

If Gerson is getting some time, he will provide the ball accurately. His game is vertical. But these abilities show also his weakness.

Short distance combination plays

Gerson is excellent in overplaying the last four with a long pass. But he has a weakness in short quick passes. He has just an accuracy rate of 76% for a passing distance between 0 – 20 metres. This is Gerson’s lowest passing accuracy rate. This fact may be interesting for Dortmund and Chelsea because they build their tactics on their combination play. Chelsea has an average passing length of 16.65 metres. Just Barcelona and PSG are passing over fewer distances in Europe. Dortmund is in sixth place with an average passing length of 17.16 metres.

The analysis below underlines his lack of combination play. Gerson got the ball played to his food. An opposing midfielder covered him closely.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

Instead of passing the ball back to Willian Arão, Gerson tried to turn around his opponent. Arão had a better position in this situation. The angle of his body is wide opened towards the opponent’s half. Afterwards, Gerson could offer another passing option.

To be fair, Gerson dribbled around his opponent and hence he overplayed three players. But on the other hand, his dribbling slowed down Flamengo’s game. This loss of tempo might not be significant in Brazilian’s Série A. At the absolute top level in the Champions League, this lack of tempo gives an opponent too much time to reorganise themselves.

A similar situation is in the next tactical analysis. Again, Gerson got the ball, when the opponent covered him closely. Passing him the ball when he is marked is an advantage of Gerson.

Gerson 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics

The young Brazilian got three open passing lines within 20 metres. The progressive pass into the open space might be the best option to gain the attacking progress. But Gerson slowed down the tempo because he feinted his opponent again. Also, in this situation he was successful. But for combinational tactics, Gerson is too fixed on the ball.

Conclusion

As this scout report revealed, Gerson is a highly talented player. His strength is to translate the game quick into the threatening area with extreme accuracy. He is also able to anticipate spaces early and is comfortable with the ball at his feet. On the other hand, Gerson is slowing down the game as he does not combinate a lot. One-twos are rare.

All in all, Gerson should be very interesting for European’s top clubs, because the 23-year-old could improve his abilities in short and quick passes. Furthermore, his abilities are a gift, which is much harder to improve. Hence, they have much worth. In our opinion, we would like to see him back in Europe.

Philipp Von Friesen
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