Odsonne Edouard – Player Report

Edouard is a French U21 international striker who finished this season with the Scottish Golden Boot. He scored 13 non-penalty goals in the league, which is 0.5 per 90 minutes. He also scored two goals in Celtic’s European campaign. At 23 years old, the French forward looks set for a move to a tougher league. As I write this, he’s being closely linked with Leicester City where he can continue to play European football and join a team on the rise.

Physical

Edouard stands at 6’2″ with a decent build but isn’t a physical player. He can handle himself well but is fairly weak in duels and can go down quite easily at times. He has great acceleration and overall speed. His running style is similar to Tanguy Ndombele, where he can look quite heavy footed and come across as lazy or casual but is actually very explosive. He’s got quick feet and good agility, although his deceleration isn’t great. His work rate was a bit mixed and not great overall, he didn’t press much and could look lost in defensive transition but still made good runs ahead of the ball and is active in his positioning.

Technical

Technically, Edouard is excellent. He has a great first touch, able to receive long through-balls easily and kill switches and diagonals. He is very good at using his first touch to set up a shot and can control the ball out of the air really well. He isn’t a traditional target man though and doesn’t do well in aerial duels under long passes. When receiving back to goal, he’s able to turn well, usually doing a wide turn to his left and then can drive or find a teammate. He is right footed and when dribbling will mostly use his right but is comfortable using his left when needed and is happy to cut left when dribbling in the box, so he isn’t predictable. He has tight control and quick feet, he uses both feet well to retain the ball in tight situations. He uses step overs and feints effectively, and is able to go either way. He’s a confident dribbler with tight control and quick reactions, and is able to protectthe ball and hold up play when needed. He’s able to create space for himself but rarely looks to knock the ball past his opponent. He can over do it at times though and can take too long to pull the trigger and shoot in my opinion.

His play with his back to goal is mostly good. He plays layoffs into runners and spread play wide, or is able to turn and then play forwards. He has good forward passing and is creative around the box. He got three assists this season but I could see that being a lot higher in the future. He’s creative and takes risks, he likes to try flicks and back-heels. These are risky and don’t tend to come off but they’re usually good ideas, he’s similar to Dele Alli in this sense. So at times he could look after the ball and pick the simple option and this might happen over time. With his back to goal, he can struggle with physical pressure from defenders and a few of his passes were sloppy and too casual, losing possession too easily.

Pink = Goal, Blue = Saved, X = Off Target

Edouard is an okay ball striker but doesn’t tend to generate much power with his shots. He can be a great finisher and has perfected the chip shot. In 1v1s with the goalkeeper, he’s very composed and will always look to chip the keeper. He’s calm and places his shots with ease. He has underperformed his expected goals though and had a lot of shots blocked. He has a high shot volume because of the team he plays for but I also think he should be getting more. Firstly by making better decisions in the box, pulling the trigger earlier and by getting his head over the ball and shooting with power. I also think he had a lot of chances in the box where there were several blockers in place, so some expected goals models can overestimate his chances.

Tactical

The second reason I think he should shoot and score more is that I think he doesn’t have great instincts and movement in the box. Compared to current Leicester striker Jamie Vardy who I would say has some of the best instincts in the box. In the box, he can be quite casual and not on his toes enough. Edouard always wants the cutback, he likes to find space in the box, and is good at it. While he positions himself well, far too often the ball went across the face of goal and he’s stood off the defenders waiting for a ball into his feet. I’d like to see him make more intelligent runs to the back post or across defenders and to also dive in and commit to try and score low crosses, quite a few low crosses went right in front of him where I felt if he’d gone for it or been more on his toes, he’d have been able to reach. This is where instincts are important and I think he doesn’t read the situation well enough at times and expects the cut back too often and needs to be more reactive.

His movement ahead of the ball with runs in behind are good though and makes some smart runs on counter attacks. His positioning is excellent and he has the drifting trait. By drifting I mean his ability to float unmarked extremely easy and find pockets of space. He takes his time and plays the game at his own tempo at times and is unmarked very easily. Whereas a lot of strikers’ positioning is dictated by where the centre backs are, Edouard almost plays his own game. He’s really smart in these situations and is a handful for centre backs because he’s hard to keep track off and the defence rarely knows whose man he is. He’ll also hang offside, lose the attention of the centre backs and then drop in to receive easily.

He can drift wide at times and while his holdup and playmaking is good, I’d personally like to see him attack the box more often. Especially when he drifts wide unnecessarily and doesn’t really have an impact and then is out of position and the game can pass him by slightly.

Psychological

Confident, calm and composed on the ball, Edouard is very comfortable in possession. He’s always looking to receive the ball to feet. He takes risks which I like, but he does need to improve his decision making to make this more effective and less wasteful. He lacks aggression and doesn’t try to be physical or use his body, he’ll back into defenders a bit but he isn’t a dominant striker. He shows his frustration and I think out of possession he could work harder at times. Overall though he’s a naturally intelligent player but does need improve his movement and decision making in the box in my opinion.

Conclusion

Overall, I think Edouard could be a very good Premier League striker. He can score and create, he can play between the lines and make runs ahead of the ball. He can take on defenders but could still improve 1v1. He’s very quick but will need to work on a few things overall. However, at Leicester he’ll receive very good coaching and I think Vardy will be an excellent mentor for him and he’ll be able to learn a lot. He’s not a lone striker and is best in a front two or at least in a system where he has players around him and able to run ahead of the ball. Parts of his game remind me of both Harry Kane and Dele Alli but he does need to work on his finishing, movement and out of possession impact.

I would say he’s definitely ready for the step up and Leicester will be a good destination for him. He could develop into a very dangerous, well rounded striker who can play various roles and create and score goals. He’ll have to adapt to the intensity of the league and improve in defensive transition, but this is possible under Brendan Rodgers and as he gains more experience.

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