Fluminense have produced some attractive footballing talents over the years from their academy. Chelsea midfielder Kenedy and Watford forward João Pedro are two of the most recent academy graduates to showcase their abilities on football’s centre stage, the Premier League.
Not only that, but Campeonato Brasileiro Série A has also produced world-class footballers from generational talents in Gérson and Sócrates to most recent starlets in Vinícius Júnior and Neymar. It’s fair to say that the Brasileiro is a hotbed for talent.
In this analysis, we take a look at the next talent that could join this illustrious list, Evanilson. Having made his professional debut in 2018 at the age of 18, Evanilson has begun to make a name for himself with the Fluzão alongside talented striker partner Marcos Paulo. The exciting 20-year-old forward has enjoyed a breakthrough season under head-coach Odair Hellmann after impressing for Fluminense’s under-20 team the campaign before last.
Without further ado, this tactical analysis will highlight Evanilson’s strengths and weaknesses and why he is the subject of interest from a host of European teams, including Premier League champions Liverpool.
Role in Fluminense’s team
Fluminense’s tactics in a 4-2-1-3 set-up provides emphasis on the front three to produce special moments, with Paulo operating as an attacking midfielder in front of the two defensive midfielders. Evanilson is comfortable rotating across the front line, though he has predominantly marked his trade as a modern-day number nine. As we can see from his heat-map below, we can tell he likes to drop deep as a false nine and link-up with his team-mates, whilst also getting into central goal-scoring positions in the penalty area.
Evanilson also averaged 3.28 touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes this season. Looking at the graph below, this ranks highly compared with other attacking players in Serie A, showing his threat and ability to get into the right positions when Fluminense are in possession of the ball.
This leads us nicely into the next section of this scout report. We will analyse the Brazilian’s best strength – his ability to get into positions and support his teammates.
Intelligent off-the-ball movements
Evanilson originally started out as a winger during his time with Fluminense’s academy but was eventually deployed as a striker during his loan spell with Slovakian outfit Samorin. His impressive return of three goals in six matches showcased his immediate adaptation to playing in a central role, which he has since never looked back on. The 20-year-old has a unique style of play that most forwards lack, dropping deep to provide a passing option before spinning in behind and utilising his pace in key areas. This is shown by the statistics, with Evanilson averaging 19.6 offensive duels per 90, the third-most in the league.
Fluminense’s outing against Corinthians earlier in the season provides a perfect example of the 20-year-old’s attacking intelligence when his team are in possession. Fluminense appear to be outnumbered in midfield with limited central in-roads to move the ball forwards, Evanilson comes inside his own half to provide a passing option, whilst his strike partner Paulo advances further forward.
Recognsing that his team are pressing high up the pitch, he immediately looks to provide a progressive passing option and looks to exploit the space in-behind the Corinthians right-back and centre-back.
Evanilson’s tendency when finding and exploiting spaces off the ball show glimpses of potentially world-class forward. His movement intertwined with his acceleration off the ball makes it very difficult for opposition defenders to nullify him in certain areas. Another example can be shown below in the Fluzão’s under-20 clash against Flamengo. The Brazilian uses his intelligence to quickly shift into the space available, but the pass ultimately results in the potential attack coming to nothing.
As you can see from the graph below, the 20-year-old is vital has been vital this season in his team’s transition from defence to attack in counter-attacking scenarios. His acceleration runs from deep highlight his direct threat off the ball, which rubberstamps the quality of most modern-day, world-class centre-forwards.
These examples indicate that Evanilson is a player that has intelligence way beyond his footballing years. His ability to understand the game and read the game complements his other strengths and why he is such an attacking threat to the opposition. As he gets more games under his belt and plays in a side with more quality to spot these intelligent forward runs his ability to impact games will only increase.
In the next part of the scout report, we will look at the Brazilian’s impact inside the penalty area with his shooting and finishing.
The young Brazilian has quite an affinity for goals. He finished as the top scorer for Fluminense’s under-20 team with 15 goals. After scoring two times in three appearances in the 2018/19 season, Evanilson has found the net five times in 11 appearances in all competitions so far in 2020, highlighting his impressive goal-to-game ratio.
The 20-year-old forward registered a total of 46 shots for Fluminense, with 26 on target. With those shots on target, he scored 14 goals. Using an analysis of his shot placement, we can tell that the forward is prolific when it comes to his efforts on target. The Brazilian prefers to shoot with his stronger foot, with 26 of his total shots coming from his right foot. Most of his goals have come in central areas with an expected XG of 9.45, highlighting his ability to finish chances despite the challenge it may present.
As you can see from the visual above, the 20-year-old’s primary hunting ground is inside the penalty area. His instinct in and around the six-yard box highlights him as a poacher, which will only develop with game time and the correct man-management. The shot map selection also highlights his ability to score from different areas in the penalty area, adding variability to his finishing which is an important asset for any modern-day striker. We can also see that he only scored one goal from outside the penalty area while attempting eight shots from distance, compared to 38 inside the penalty area.
As previously mentioned in this scout report, Evanilson’s goal to game ratio is very impressive. The Brazilian continues to excel game after game and his finishing ability is also an attribute that cannot be overlooked. His average of 0.58 goals per 90 ranks the 20-year-old with the highest in the league, despite only averaging 1.55 shots per 90. This highlights the youngster’s prolific nature in front of goal. The following examples for Fluminense this season showcase his composure and intelligence when presented with a chance in front of goal.
As shown here against Palmeiras, this is a perfect example of the Brazilian’s ruthlessness in front of goal when presented with the opportunity. Despite being closely pressured by an opposition defender and the angle being against him, the forward takes one touch before striking an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper with his weaker foot.
The Brazilian has scored four goals from crosses this season, highlighting his ability to drift into the right positions despite only standing at 5’9. In the first leg of the Campeonato Carioca final against Flamengo, we see Evanilson combine his intelligent off-the-ball movements with his eye for goal. He positions himself on the blind spot of the last defender at the back post before finishing instinctively the first time. A big game with added pressure? No problem.
If that isn’t enough to convince you of the quality the forward has, I’m sure this last example will. We mentioned previously in this scout report about Evanilson’s intelligent movement off the ball and how this is difficult to handle. This goal below against Vasco De Gama is a prime example of that.
As you can see, Vasco De Gama enforce a high defensive line in an attempt to nullify Evanilson’s runs in-behind by catching him offside. Their narrow defensive line also attempts to block central in-roads in which the Brazilian can make runs between the defenders, but the positioning of one of the defenders allows the forward to use his pace as an advantage and adopt a threatening position to present a central run. He has all the hard work to do after being played through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat.
In typical Brazilian style, Evanilson chips the onrushing goalkeeper to give Fluminense the lead. The forward’s ability to take a touch and clip it over the keeper under pressure shows his world-class potential that is yet to be unlocked. His finishing variability makes him a constant threat and is very similar to the quality that the likes of Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez possess.
Dribbling and recoveries in the final third
Rounding out Evanilson’s strengths in the final third is his supreme dribbling ability. As stated previously, the Brazilian is comfortable dropping deep to present a passing option and link-up with his team-mates, before carrying the ball forward with his close control. The forward averaged 3.28 dribbles per 90 and totalled 33 successful dribbles in the 2019/20 season.
As we can see, Evanilson’s dribbles in the final third have mainly been in wide positions. He has also managed to keep possessions in threatening areas, outlining the effective contribution he brings to Fluminense’s attack.
Despite Hellmann placing emphasis on Evanilson staying centrally when out of possession to provide a counter-attacking threat, the youngster can also occasionally be valuable in transition. The Fluzão striker totalled nine recoveries from zone 14, and three recoveries from the left and right flanks. His defensive work in the final third needs some polishing, but this will be developed in time.
Evanilson is an exceptionally talented forward and well-rounded striker. His breakthrough season showcased his world-class talents and why he could replicate the success of top strikers across Europe.
The Brazilian has excelled since his professional debut and will continue to learn under Hellmann this campaign. It goes without saying that he and Paulo will not be at Fluminense for much longer if they continue to put in these kinds of performances. Evanilson has all the attributes to reach the very top of football and become Brazil’s next success story and with his contract soon to expire, many clubs including Liverpool and most recently Manchester City will be battling for his signature. It’s fair to say, whoever wins it has one hell of a player on their hands.