It’s happening. Victoria Pelova, arguably the Eredivisie Vrouwen’s best player, is getting her move to the WSL in England. It’s reported that the young attacking player will sign for North London side Arsenal and will become needed in the attacking ranks.
But what kind of player is Pelova really? The general public might not know her and if they do know her, it’s from the Dutch national team or the games in UWCL qualification against Eintracht Frankfurt and Arsenal. It’s hard to assess her performances due to the lack of Eredivisie Vrouwen games available, but in this scout report, we will look more closely at her (limited) data and video.
- Seasonal stats
- Key passing
- Final thoughts
- Name: Victoria Pelova
- Date of birth: 03–06–1999
- Nationality: Dutch
- Position: Attacking midfielder, winger
- Contract expires: 30–6–2023
- Current club: Ajax
- Previous clubs: ADO Den Haag
- International: Netherlands
The Eredivisie is still underway and it’s for 50% played at this point, but we can have a look at some interesting statistics in front of goal for Pelova. Pelova plays for Ajax and the Amsterdam formation is ranked 2nd with 27 points from 10 games, only losing to league leaders FC Twente. They have scored 38 goals and conceded 7, meaning that they have a positive goal difference of +31.
In the image above you can see the top 15 performers in the Eredivisie with goals. As you can see Pelova scores 14th with 3 goals and isn’t a major goalscoring player.
In the image above you can see the top 15 performers in the data metric of assists. You can see that Pelova, again, is not a top performer — being 13th on assists. Combined with her goals she has contributed to 5 goals, which isn’t a lot but also isn’t too few. Especially considering she played mostly from the #10 role, rather than in attack.
Pelova is a relatively versatile player, but also a hybrid player. She can play on different positions and assume different roles.
As you can see in the image above, I’ve chosen for a 4–3–3 formation to illustrate where she can play the best. She isn’t very well suited to play as a striker in most systems, she will be dominated quite easily. The role of a false 9 could suit her better, but still not a desired position/role.
The wings are better suited. While the left is not the best for Pelova, the right win is something she can excel in. Relating to Arsenal, that would be the position where she might feature the most. She is not a typical wingers in the classic sense, but more a wide playmaker who loves to invert and play from the half-spaces.
With Ajax she often played on the #10 position as a creator with dribbling tendencies. In this role she could orchestrate attack and launch her teammates, as well as make an action herself.
The first aspect we are focusing on is the metric of dribbling. Dribbling is very important for a winger and attacking midfielder, and it’s important to assess how good Pelova is in this regard.
Pelova has a natural drift to accelerate with the ball. She is strong on the ball, keeps the ball close to her body and switch easily between angles and sides. Her style of dribbling attracts multiple defenders because her technique is good, and therefore also opening up space for runs of defenders and/or midfielders.
In doing so, she can make sure the team drift towards the final phases of the pitch and generate overloads, because how good she is with the ball. A few things about her dribbling though; she has her limitations with it. Because she is technically gifted and better than most, she will sometimes go too far with her dribbling and run into a wall. The transition following that can leave her team vulnerable. Especially when she plays as a 10, she needs to be conservative and pass the ball earlier — to prevent high risk turnovers.
In the video above you can see the key passing as conducted by Pelova. Through her positioning she always gets in the right positions to execute passes. She uses the momentum to keep the ball and at the same moment allows her teammates to get into better positions.
By doing this she has more specific passing options which she can utilise by her passing technique. She can do this with set pieces, through passes or crosses. If she plays as a winger or on the 10 position, she can really be pivotal in central areas or in the half spaces.
In the video above you can see Pelova’s shots in the games with Ajax against quality opposition. What’s interesting is that the player often comes in the positions that she has enough time to shoot – as you can see in the video, but doesn’t convert those chances most of the time.
This can be explained due to the fact that she is more of a creator than a finisher, but also her finishing abilities really need an upgrade does she want to be more clinical on the finishing aspect of her game. Especially in comparison with her playmaking skills. What’s very positive about her play is that she always comes in the position to shoot, so when she works on her finishing, she will be unstoppable.
In the video above you can see the assists given by Pelova in her Ajax time and also with the Dutch national team. What’s prominent in her play is that she is really good at creating high quality chances for her attackers, which can be seen in the video.
Outside of assisting, she manages to get the ball – make a dribble and look for the best options. Because she isn’t overly selfish as a winger or attacking midfielder, she often knows what’s needed to get that decisive pass or cross. If the attackers she plays with, understand her even better, she will score higher and higher in the assist rankings.
Victoria Pelova is not your typical winger. She is more a playmaker than a traditional winger. She likes to dribble down the line and provides crosses, but more than that she likes to go into the half spaces and orchestrate attacks from there. I would say she is even better at #10 role because of it, but in the winger role she will invert and create from the half-space and open up space for midfielders to run into.
Her qualities can be seen in her vision, attacking positioning and her eye for a good decisive pass. She needs to work on her finishing, but she has great potential.