In this tactical analysis, we look at the 23-year-old striker Pedro, on loan at Flamengo from Fiorentina. Pedro has appeared in several scout reports of Real Madrid, Manchester United, and many Serie A clubs as a very promising talent.
Fiorentina bought him for €11 million last summer, however, he returned from a torn ACL and does not fit the tactics in Florence. The classical number nine just played 59 minutes in Italy as he did not get in with the team. So, Pedro was sent back to Brazil to gain some practice.
In Brazil, Pedro is comparable with the former striker Fred. Some big clubs from Europe will scout him to see if he can make some progress again. We provide you with Pedro’s strengths and his weaknesses in this analysis.
Pedro is a real poacher. A poacher has to be present in the penalty box so a number nine should not drift off to the wings. Also, he should act as a target man. Moreover, he should be totally focused on finishing an attack in the box. Pedro fits these tactics the most.
Pedro can shoot with his right foot, left foot, and is also strong in headers, but the right-footer is finishing 84% with his strong foot. He is 186 cm high and weighs 78 kg. Before the youngster left for Europe, he scored 20 goals and assisted for three at Fluminense in 58 games.
At Flamengo, Pedro is fighting back his way to his old strength. He has with Bruno Henrique and Gabriel Barbosa, two heavyweights as competition at the striker position. Pedro was starting 56.25% of the time and played since his return 43.06% of all the minutes. He was expected to score 5.4 goals during this time, but he outplayed this value. He scored already seven times for Flamengo and 56% of his shots were on goal.
You can see Pedro’s shooting stats in the image above. The young Brazilian was scoring all of his goals within the penalty box, while only 25% of his finishes went wide. Pedro is especially a threat if he can shoot from the left side of the penalty box. There is only one finish from the left side which went wide compared to three on goal and three goals. On the other side, he scored four goals, had another finisher on goal and missed for four. If Pedro dribbled in the final third, a finish followed to 60%.
You can see in the photo above a typical finish from Pedro. Against his former team, he was not involved in the passing game unto the penalty box. In the box, Pedro demonstrated his focusing and technique. Instead of controlling the ball, the Brazilian shot directly. He realised that the keeper was coming out of his goal to reduce the angle for Pedro. Pedro acted well and lobbed the ball with his inner side over the keeper. He had a natural feeling for the strength of his shot.
The next situation shows a header from Pedro. Filipe Luís broke through on the left wing and later played a cross. Flamengo had a numerical disadvantage within the penalty area: as you can see, Pedro was the only player of Flamengo who was in the box.
He feinted a run to the first post. To close the gap, the central defender made also a move towards the first post. This movement allowed Pedro to defect in the back of the defender, and now that he had some space, he headed it in the net. Pedro headed in the opposite direction of the movement of the keeper. As a consequence, he was not able to jump in the direction of Pedro’s header. In this season so far, Pedro scored both times after crosses.
Pedro demonstrated his tactical awareness in the next tactical analysis again. He got a pass played in his back while the left-back marked the 23-year-old striker. Pedro anticipated the defender’s move to close the direct alley to the goal so he controlled the ball with his left foot and assisted it directly for his strong foot. He finished it with his second touch, as he gained some space. Pedro has a superb link of orientation between his position and the opposing goal. As a result, Pedro can finish with a few touches, which makes it difficult to defend against him.
As a target man
Next to his finishing, Pedro is also very present as a target man at the front-line. He first works his body between the ball and the opponent. Afterwards, he would then control the ball until his team pushed up. His signature move in these situations is to play the ball directly forwards. This season, he played nine progressive passes with an accuracy of 100%. Since Pedro joined Flamengo at the beginning of 2020, he had a passing accuracy of 79% – this is quite a reliable value for a target man.
The still above shows Pedro’s typical signature move. This time, he came towards Filipe Luís but Pedro’s position was still with his back to the goal. The opposing centre-back had to go with him otherwise Pedro would have been able to turn himself. Pedro should control the ball and then play it back, but instead, he accelerated the game.
Pedro knew that behind the marking centre-back was now some space. Also, he did not feel any touch from the centre-back. As Pedro got the ball, there was a metre space between him and the central defender. So he passed the ball unexpectedly into the space for Gerson with a back-heel skill.
In the image above, Pedro used the same skill in a different situation. He got the pass in a close-packed penalty area where there were three opponents in close to the vicinity to Pedro. This time, the marking defender was even closer. Pedro could not shoot as he did not stand correctly to the ball. But he demonstrated his great overview again: with his technique, he shifted the ball directly into the space. where his teammate was now able to finish unmarked.
This situation shows Pedro again in a typical situation for a target man. Flamengo threw in and Pedro was marked, with his back to the opponent goal. You can see in this picture clearly how Pedro leaned back into his opponent. His body’s centre of gravity moved towards the opponent and stretched his arms around his opponent. By doing this, he felt how the opponent moved. Pedro also fixed his opponent in this position.
Pedro did not control the throw-in as he played it directly into the space. He was still blocking his opponent so his teammate was able to shoot as a result.
Analysis of releasing timing
Pedro completes the attributes of a front-line striker as he has a feeling for releasing from his opponent. This is one of the most important skills of a goal poacher. In the example below is such a situation. Pedro was not involved in the passing game.
Flamengo’s left-winger got the ball and so the opposing right-back had to leave his position. As you can see, Pedro was waiting for this situation, because he was observing his opponent. Pedro speculated for a one-two of his teammates so his goal was to fan out and gain space for them.
Although he was the central forward, he made two steps to the left wing. Pedro’s timing was crucial in this situation. The Brazilian striker could just leave his initial position, as his opposing player attacked Pedro’s teammate. If he had moved too early, his idea could be anticipated. On the other hand, if Pedro had moved too late, the passing alley might be closed again.
The image above shows a similar situation. Pedro was not involved directly as he offered a passing option as a target man at the first post. Also, the opponent marked Pedro closely. Rafinha played a cross to the second post as Pedro’s opponent marked his attention on the ball, while Pedro turned around him. It was important that Pedro moved around the defender outside since Pedro was then in the back of the defender, which is a huge advantage.
Pedro was now unmarked. His teammate played the ball back in the centre. As a consequence, the unmarked Pedro was two steps quicker than his opponent and scored with a drop-kick. Robert Lewandowski is the master in releasing and Pedro seems to copy this style.
Getting back on the track after a torn ACL
The Brazilian national team already called Pedro in 2018, but he had torn his ACL then. The seven-month break also destroyed his agreement with Real Madrid. Nevertheless, Pedro signed a new contract with Fiorentina but this step might be too big for this time. Firstly, the young striker had to get back to his own old level in a new club. Secondly, there is also a quality difference between the Italian and the Brazilian Serie A, especially in tactics. Thirdly, Florence was the first time Pedro left his hometown, which was also an impact.
Nowadays, Pedro fights back at Flamengo. But he is not a starting XI member right now. Scouts will track his development fastidiously and in some situations, you can see that he is still not at 100%. He is making some small technical mistakes in ball control, which should be avoided after gaining more practice.
In the example above, you can see such a technical issue. Pedro should act as a target man and ge should drop the ball to Gabriel Barbosa. Instead, he blew it away out of the penalty box due to his lost technique.
Also, in the situation above it shows poor ball control. First of all, Pedro is closing the alley well and was able to counter-press the opponent – he actually intercepted the ball. But instead of controlling it, he gave it away again so he missed a chance of a finisher. Fortunately, the ball jumped to his teammate. These small mistakes are important to suppress but the upside is that Pedro is getting more and more playing time.
Pedro was – especially before his torn ACL – a very promising talent. He is a clear system player as a real number nine. In the penalty box, Pedro is a threat. He can finish with his right foot, his left foot, and also with headers. If he is not finishing by himself, then he is the target man in the frontline to assist. Pedro can work his body superbly between the ball and the opponent.
On the other hand, we also showed you in this scout report how many factors have to be added together. If Pedro can come back to his old strength, he should be an option for the European top clubs. Flamengo seems to be the right spot right now. Pedro’s teammate Gerson passes through a similar revitalisation as Pedro at this club. We hope to see Pedro back as soon as possible.