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Christy Grimshaw is a Scottish player who has just signed for Milan Women during the last few weeks coming from FC Metz, the French team that plays in the Feminine Division 1. The 24-year old player who started her career in Scotland at Aberdeen LFC could become one of Milan’s key players this season and maybe in the next seasons as well once she proves her talent and provides a concrete addition for the team.
And according to what she has done at Aberdeen and especially at Metz, it is fair to say that Grimshaw has the potential to excel in Serie A Women and be one of the good surprises of this season while helping Milan reach a Champions League spot and why not compete for the first spot as well.
In this tactical analysis article in the form of a scout report, I will aim at uncovering Grimshaw’s individual skills while also shedding light on how she can fit into Milan’s tactics. Moreover, a thorough analysis of the positions she can occupy will therefore be explored while explaining the roles and the addition that she can provide by playing in these positions.
Roles and possible position at Milan
First of all, it should be mentioned that this summer break was full of action for Milan since many players were transferred and many others joined the team. And this means that Maurizio Ganz, Milan’s coach, will need to make the right choices and choose the best formation or formations possible to suit the type of players he has in the squad and ultimately to get the best possible results.
In this regard, Ganz has got plenty of options to choose from and Grimshaw can be fundamental in any of the formations. In fact, what is very special with Grimshaw is her ability to play in completely different positions in distinct formations. In other words, she played as a striker in a 5-4-1, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations, she has also played as an attacking midfielder in a 4-4-1-1 formation.
In addition to that, Grimshaw has also a bit backward in central midfield as a left midfielder in 4-3-3, 4-3-2, and 4-5-1 formations. All this proves that this player has no problems of adaptation and can be integrated easily in a team like Milan.
Knowing that Ganz usually relies on the 4-3-3 formation, he can play Grimshaw as a left midfielder as a replacement of the transferred Nora Heroum, to benefit from Grimshaw’s key passes, vision and agility in midfield while supporting her with a similar player at the right and a more defensive midfielder like Refiloe Jane to create a balanced trio in midfield.
Moreover, Ganz can exploit Grimshaw’s attacking creativity in the best possible way by playing her as an attacking midfielder, also known as a trequartista, in a 4-3-1-2 which is a formation that Milan used many times last season and can be even more rewarding this season since the team is now having very dangerous strikers like Valentina Giacinti and Natasha Dowie who can benefit from the existence of a creative player like Grimshaw right behind them and make the best out of her passes/assists.
In fact, Grimshaw can be used in many formations in addition to the mentioned ones since she is a versatile player who can be beneficial for the team once put in a position that enables her to show her abilities and help her team.
When it comes to her attacking positioning, Grimshaw can be considered an intelligent player who knows exactly when to make her movements and where to run. In other words, the Scottish player is always active in midfield with and without the ball, making movements on the left and on the right to give additional options for her teammates. And the team advances to the attack, she joins the action and usually positions herself in dangerous spots away from defenders’ marking.
In the following example, we can see how she is approximately four metres away from the closest defender, a distance that allows her to get the ball comfortably and decide what to do with it prior to the defender’s intervention. When this counter-attack started, Grimshaw knew that she had to run towards the penalty area to be able to receive the ball from the left-wing and therefore she runs fast and reached that dangerous spot before defenders, which highlights her positional awareness and intelligence.
Moreover, her timing of accelerations during counter-attacks is fatal. by moving towards unmarked zones in the opposition’s third, Grimshaw often creates threat especially when her teammates notice her off-the-ball movements and pass the ball to her. These movements and intelligent decisions need to be considered from Milan’s staff to build on and enable the team to exploit them in the best way especially by training on fast passing combinations out of these movements.
You can see in this example how she runs past her direct opponent while asking for the ball in the empty space existing because of the counter-attack, creating a dangerous attack from scratch.
In addition to her attacking positioning and movements, Grimshaw is also a very disciplined player who applies effectively her coach’s instructions even if this includes defensive roles which are not necessarily the roles that fit her skills and abilities. For instance, against Lyon, and since the staff chose to play a defensive game by staying compact at the back and defending with ten players when out of possession, Grimshaw played the whole match defending at central midfield and sometimes even helping the defenders as well in their own third.
And when in possession, Grimshaw had to move forward and be right behind the team’s forward and link between midfielders, full-backs and the forward. As you can see in this example, Grimshaw pressed on opposition players in midfield and did her best to close passing intervals.
Apart from being a creative playmaker, Grimshaw is also able to play as a forward, which serves Milan as another attacking option. It is true that she did only score one goal in 13 appearances in Feminine Division 1, nevertheless, her contribution to her team was extensive. In other words, this player helped her team in attack through her passes, dribbling skills, off the ball movements, and providing options for her teammates.
She has a fairly excellent pass accuracy percentage of 84.5% overall, 91.7% of accurate passes to the box, and 67.4% one-on-one dribbling accuracy. These numbers inform us a lot about her traits and what she is able to do at Milan in terms of attacking support. Yet, on a defensive level, Milan’s staff will have to work on her defensive abilities to enhance her performance if they intend to give her defensive roles or play her in a defensive position like central midfielder or deep-lying midfielder.
Her first and last goal with Metz was scored when she played as a forward against Olympique de Marseille. And again, her positioning was the primary contributing factor to her goal since she was standing right in front the goal when her teammate was successful in stealing the ball and passing it to her, enabling Grimshaw to score the needed goal without real difficulties.
At the same time, when she drops back to play in midfield, Grimshaw is able to handle the pressure and can protect and preserve the ball under pressure. Even though she does not appear to be a physically strong woman, she is solid when it comes to duels especially when she has the ball, like in the following picture.
Grimshaw also plays well in her more natural position as an advanced midfielder. With her accurate and creative dribbling skills, she often creates space for herself and escape pressure to be able to either shoot or pass to a teammate, like in this example in which she perfectly dribbles past two Marseille’s players to find herself facing only one defender and having three passing options as well.
Also, Grimshaw has impressive tactical awareness that allows her to play in different positions and even excel as a striker. She continuously asks her teammates for deadly balls in the back of defenders while running towards the penalty area as she also pressures high on defenders when out of possession. Being able to successfully execute the roles of strikers, midfielders and attacking midfielders makes of Grimshaw a very useful player in any team and Milan can even contribute in developing this player even more in all aspects.
Christy Grimshaw can be a very important signing for Milan this season and in the upcoming seasons since she has talent, determination and intelligence as she also fits well in Milan’s formations and type of players.
Once integrated in the team and used to life in Italy, this season can be very special for Grimshaw since she will have all the means needed for success.