Antony — Scout report 21/22

The transfersaga between Ajax, Antony and Manchester United hasn’t yet come to an end, but it seems like Antony will join the Red Devils for an astronomical amount of money. But how good is he actually? We will take a look.

Antony is an exciting player who can be considered a player that like confrontation via 1v1s, take ons, and dribbles. He is an exciting winger who can create opportunities on the right flank for himself or the upcoming full back, but also can cut inside.

We will use data to illustrate how Antony has done in the Eredivisie 2021/2022 and we will focus on the winger position on the right flank. It’s interesting to look into this profile, as he is quite particular in his attacking actions.

Contents

  1. Biography
  2. Seasonal stats
  3. Positions/roles
  4. Ball progression
  5. Dribbling
  6. Expected threat
  7. Key passing
  8. Shooting
  9. Assisting
  10. Expected goal contribution
  11. Comparison with Antony
  12. Final thoughts

Biography

  • Name: Antony
  • Date of birth: 24–02–2000
  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Position: Right winger
  • Contract expires: 30–6–2025
  • Current club: Ajax
  • Previous clubs: São Paulo(Y), São Paulo
  • International: Brazil (9 games)

Ajax’s network in Latin-America gained more significance after the success of David Neres. With Antony, the club hoped to gain such a profile once more, but why is Antony such a gem for the club and so wanted by Manchester United?

Antony is a player with high intellect and a winning mentaltiy, who can be regarded as very creative player. His qualities lie in the fact that he has great control of the ball, dribbling in the final third, taking on his direct opponent in 1v1s and his key passing in that final third or penalty area. These qualities help him into the decisive moments, where he often opts to pass to the upcoming full back or cut inside. The latter is done, because he is very much one-footed and only shoots or crosses with his left foot. Ajax have really profited from his way of play with Haller, as he benefited hugely from the inswinging crosses from the right flank.

In the style of play you can use him very well in both positional play as in counter-attacks. Personally, I think in counter-attacks he presents himself better, as he can use skill and pace to kill an attack. With positional attacks he is very dangerous too, but he lacks the elite decision making skills for when to pass and when to shoot. If he improved that he would even contribute to more goals.

This left-footedness makes him rather predictacble in what he will do in terms of shots and passes, but his individual skill does mask this in 9 of the 10 situations. What worries me more is the fact that in the Premier League — or Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A — there is less time to think what your next action needs to be and that’s a worry with his relatively average decision-making skills.

Seasonal stats

If we look at this specific pizza plot, we can say a few things. But before we turn into the meaning, it’s good to stress that this mostly gives us a stylistic idea of the player rather than a definitive performance one.

What we can see is that there are two metrics in which he scores under the average: shots on target, % and head goals per 90. The second one is to be explained as he doesn’t come in those positions often and is relatively small.

There are three metrics where he scores extremely well: shots per 90, xA per 90, and progressive runs per 90. These indicate that he often comes in the position to shoot, is expected to give a high number of assists, and that his progressive runs are very high in relation to his peers.

In the image above you can see how Antony compares to his peers on the data metrics selected. The average is in blue and Antony in red. Antony is better in all but two metrics. In the metrics of head goals per 90 and shots on target % — he scores under average.

Positions/roles

In the image above you can see the positions in a 4–2–3–1 where Antony can play. He is the best suited for the wide midfield/wingers role on the rigt, where he needs to make runs down the line and in doing so provides passes for the attackers in the Ajax side or cut inside and shoot himself. He could play on the left and in attacking midfield, but his skill set wouldn’t come to fruition as much.

In the image above you can see a 4–2–3–1, but he can play as a wide midfielder in a 4–4–2, 4–5–1 or 4–1–4–1 too. If you play with three attackers in a 4–3–3, he will play higher up the pitch as a right winger.

Ball progression

The modern winger isn’t only concerned with dribbling and crosses — but he/she also needs to be comfortable on the ball and progress play from it.

In the scatterplot above you can see the progressive metrics of progressive passes per 90 and progressive runs per 90. Antony does extremly well here as he has the most progressive passes per 90 and is second in the progressive runs per 90.

Dribbling

Antony is excellent at dribbling, but how does he rank to others in this metric?

In the scatterplot above you can see how well the player are scoring in terms of volume of dribbling and the success rate of those dribbles. As you can Antony has the most dribbles per 90 of all the attackers bar Gakpo, and while he hasn’t the highest percentage of completed dribbles — he is in the top tier for both these metrics.

Where does he take on/make his 1v1s on the pitch?

As you can see, it’s Antony that makes his actions on the right sideline in both the middle and attacking third. He engages mostly in the middle third and his intention is to beat his direct opponent there and progress towards the final third/penalty area.

Expected threat (xT)

The basic idea behind xT is to divide the pitch into a grid, with each cell assigned a probability of an action initiated there to result in a goal in the next actions. This approach allows us to value not only parts of the pitch from which scoring directly is more likely, but also those from which an assist is most likely to happen. Actions that move the ball, such as passes and dribbles (also referred to as ball carries), can then be valued based solely on their start and end points, by taking the difference in xT between the start and end cell. Basically, this term tells us which option a player is most likely to choose when in a certain cell, and how valuable those options are. The latter term is the one that allows xT to credit valuable passes that enable further actions such as key passes and shots. (Soccerment)

So how does Antony contribute to attacking threat in the Eredivisie?

If we look at all these actions we can see Antony is the ninth on the list of highest xT generated throughout the season via carries. He has an xT of 1,29.

Key passing

Every player makes passes in a game, but which passes actively contribute to the progression and construction of an attack? You can see some of these metrics in the beeswarm plot below.

As you can see in the graph above, Antony scores quite high above average in almost every metric, only not the passes to the final third. He scores excellent in the assists per 90, key passes per 90, and passes to the penalty area per 90.

What’s interesting is how he makes key passes. He scores in the high average, but the intent of his through passes does tell a lot about how he can help in an attack.

Shooting

In the scatterplot above you can see the metrics of shots per 90 and expected goals per 90 combined. as you can Antony scores above average for for shots 90 and is one of the highest in this metric. For expected goals per 90 he scores slightly under average.

When we look at the expected goals and the actual goals we see that he averages 0,30 xG per 90 and 0,39 goals per 90 — this means that he is slightly overperforming on his xG.

Antony does sometimes come in the position to shoot, but how does he do in the quality of shooting?

In the shot map above you can see from where Antony has conducted his shots in the 2021/2022 Eredivisie season. He had 61 shots of which 8 went in goal. 44,26% of his shots were on target and he generated a total xG of 7,1— the latter meaning that he is overperforming with +0,90.

Apart from shooting in the box, he loves to shoot from the righy side inside outside penalty box. 3 of his goals come from this area.

Assists

In the scatterplot above you can see shot assists and expected assists combined. A shot assist is a pass that leads to a shot. This can lead to an actual assist but it doesn’t always have to. As you can see Antony does very well in both metrics, but can touch the top performers in this metric: Gakpo, Mahi and Tadic.

Not only did he score 8 in the Eredivisie, but he also provided 4 assists during the season.

As you can see he has an expected assists number of 0,26 per 90 and while others do score better on that front, he has an actual assist number of 0,20 and is underperforming on this particular metric.

Expected goal contributions

If we look at the expected goal contributions per 90 minutes we can see something very interesting. Antony is expected to contribute to roughly 0,56 goals per 90 minutes. Which in this case makes him a very good player in terms of xA per 90, but scoring under average for xG per 90.

Comparison with Gakpo

Frequently spoken about is the comparison between Gakpo and Antony. While they are two very different players and Gakpo likes to engage more in passing and Antony more in 1v1s — it’s interesting to see what their output is. Gakpo scores better in the data on all but two metrics: progressive runs per 90 and shots per 90. In all the other data metrics — Gakpo scores higher.

Final thoughts

When we look at the data Antony seems very promising in the ball progression metrics, but not so much in the goals contributing metrics. He is often compared to Gakpo and we shouldn’t do that too much. Ajax was far less dependent on his actions to score, but he creates a lot of space in the final third with his individual actions and runs — allowing others to come in those goalscoring positions.

Is he worth that much money? That’s a very tough question to answer because the market is changing as well. As far as the data goes, Antony is an exciting, confrontational highly skilled, and playmaking winger. One who should be judged more on his playmaking and space creating actions than he is right now.

Geef een antwoord

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *