View Full Version : Scouting in EPL, maybe MLS

05-29-2008, 10:50 AM
Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on how scouting is done in the EPL...I wonder when MLS will get up to par????

The following is an example of a Scouting Report and Analysis for an upcoming opponent in the English Premier League.
It shows the attention to detail that goes into such reporst week in week out in the EPL


FOR.................................... DATE..............

Remember this is for reference only. Each club would present it slightly differently but the main format remains. This will go on week in week out even to the extent that sometimes a club will employ the services of Scouts NOT connected to the club to scout thier OWN team to see where their weaknesses are.

TEAM A?................................................

System of play used: Classic 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 Diamond Shape




• Team organised in Classic 4-4-2 or 4-4-2 Diamond Shape.

• Inconsistent displays, but getting someway back to good results.
• Motivation high at present with a noticeable team spirit.
• Very attack minded with aggressive play, always wanting to play forward keeping a high tempo
• The build up phase and transition passes are fast and targeted with sudden bursts of even fast paced possession balanced with direct play deep for the main striker.
• Extremely effective 4th Phase efficiency with a powerful attack duo that punish crosses
• Short build-up has 1st pass to central defenders
• They are really vulnerable in 1st phase under pressure and one particular centre back makes frequent mistakes by trying to play 1st passes to the midfield defensive duo
• Long build up is a big threat. The GK puts the ball on the tall strikers head precisely with the danger of the flick on into the 2nd strikers
• 2nd balls are also contested aggressively by the midfield defensive duo, who react quickly with organise straight away
• From 2nd to 3rd phase, the build up also a pattern. Normally it’s a mixture of direct play and short possession passes.
• The full backs like to combine with the wingers to progress with the ball
• If space is tight, the smaller of the two strikers will make shuffle movements to the right wing (usually) to receive
• The other pattern is when the defensive duo come short to receive and instantly release the strikers in depth using their vision to anticipate the level of depth
• The nature of this system of play, one of the defensive duo is involved in central penetrating runs, especially down the central right hand side
• The Right Winger seldom goes wide on the right. He prefers to play as the 3rd midfielder between the lines and the front two strikers to arrive with deadly timing beyond opponents defensive midfielder and from there, releases the strikers with dangerous penetrating passes between positions.
• If he is unable to do that, because the defence is tight, he will attempt to release the right full back who arrives from behind to cross ( important for our winger to be aware and track back)
• The Left sided player is a pure out and out winger who gives width, receives when opened and from there attacks the full back 1v1 with tremendous fast pace.
• Employs the full range of winger behaviour, with a great awareness to do inside diagonal runs everytime the taller striker drops into midfield
• Has the timing to arrive just in time to finish
• Always expect the 2 striker combinations between the front two with lots of across the face of goal and decoy runs all with speed and aggression
• Apart from the times when the smaller striker shuffles to the wings to receive, the other striker always plays slightly behind in order to feed the ball to him
• They do this very effectively so we must ensure we have a plan to defend this (full backs closing well inside) to the 2nd ball played from the taller striker (which could be a header or by holding defender, turning and making the pass).
• The smaller strikers movement is more unpredictable when near the box as it can be played in front or behind the last defender (important to anticipate but with certainty in decision).
• Every cross is a dangerous situation, so it’s important to prevent them or at least restrain them in any situation.
• The normal movement is to attack the cross diagonally; the small striker fakes back post but arrives at the near post. The taller striker likes to attack the penalty spot using his body and power to free himself from opponents


• Quick and aggressive change of attitude. The smaller striker’s movement in depth is the main threat. From their defensive third, they can track his run and instantly free him in space behind our defence.
• When aggressive transitions are not possible, possession will be established with the defensive duo become focal points for a measured attack and organisation.
• The team quickly move up to support, particularly the full back who arrives from behind, giving width and from there can hit quality crosses into the box
• Inside the defensive third, they commit mistakes and react poorly to pressure from the opponent which is an ideal moment to stop their momentum and exploit it.
• Transitions from the GK starts with an instant long pass in depth or counter attack throw to the winger or full back just outside the box. It will important to block or anticipate this.

05-29-2008, 10:51 AM
Part 2:


• Team organised in a general “C” shape with 2 centre backs deeper than the full backs.
• Medium defensive organisation mainly due to the emphasis they put on attack which leaves them exposed or at least unbalanced numerically as when they lose possession there are a lot of players out of position centrally AND to the sides.
• The team mixes aggressiveness and composure depending on the opponents. They will try to tempt opponents forward when at home so they can exploit the space left and then BANG, hit them when possession is won straightaway.
• They are vulnerable to the long build up as long as we do it through the wings or, if centrally, shorter than the central defensive zone and straying into their defensive duo.
• This kind of situation allows us to win 1st ball in the air to create danger with flicks.
• Midfield pressure depends on the system used. If classic 4-4-2, their play has two different ‘moments’;
• In 1st and 2nd phase, if the opponents play to their midfielders facing their own goal, they pressure very hard to try and force mistakes.
• When opponent is facing play (normally in 3rd phase) they won’t pressure and will just keep compact, blocking pass routes, shuffling from side to side and wait for mistakes.
• If they play 4-4-2 Diamond Shape, their play will be more aggressive, space in the centre will be highly condensed and playing to the midfielders involves a high risk of losing possession ( but also our full backs will enjoy more freedom)
• The Defence is highly inconsistent due to either individual mistakes, mainly the left centre back, or due to line coordination.
• They mix zonal with man marking and the left centre back has instructions to follow deep the opponent’s striker they are marking. Because of this he is rarely in position to cover the left back which also weakens the left side.
• We must make full use of our pace, rhythm and explosive changes of direction as he is slow to react. 1v1 situations come easy.
• The GK is highly inconsistent as well. 2nd balls from crosses or from shots are frequent so its important our strikers follow through with shots with belief.


• Medium change in play, but the team is very fragile and split, especially on the right side where they have two players unable to recover quickly back to their optimum defensive position (right back and right wing).This means only the deepest of the defensive duo, the only possible block to stop our transition but spaces are too big for him alone to control, we can hit them with quick transitions.
• On the left, the winger has excellent defensive transition and recovers quickly or closes down in midfield; this endorses the importance of attacking their right side on transition.
• The defence can be positioned too far up the pitch. There are spaces behind them that can be used in attacking transitions. They could try offside but always believe in bad timing and bad judgement from both central defenders.


• Probable kick off combination. Ball played long to strikers or wingers.
• Lateral free-kicks can be taken outswinging or inswinging by the attacking half of the defensive midfield duo, the left or right wingers, all with precision crosses
• Normally 4 players will attack the ball diagonally, one late run from one of the 2 players that stay out of the box.
• Most dangerous movement is by the strikers
• Quality in 2nd ball outside the box, instant shots so blocks important
• A lot options in free kicks in front of goal (combinations especially to be made aware of;
- Indirect free kicks with a touch to the taller striker who possesses an explosive shot
- Attacking midfielder can curl the ball round the wall to furthest post away from the GK and on the left side the left winger can do the same. Watch for the smaller striker sniffing for the 2nd ball.
• Corner kicks are taken by the attacking midfielder, or two wingers
• As well as diagonal runs, there are lots of players spinning to arrive at the far post (mainly the right centre back)
• The smaller striker troubles the GK but also is ready to anticipate the near post ball. The other striker is also a threat.
• Attention to combinations with the right back. He stays defending but if opponent sleeps he will show up short and cross 1st time surprise.
• Long throws are the most dangerous with the right back looking for the tall striker in the box who finishes it or flicks on to the other striker. Danger on 2nd balls.


• In lateral free kicks, they put 2 players in the wall (don’t jump), the left winger in space, they don’t leave anyone up front but they have ability to counter attack with danger.
• All other players mark man to man.
• In front of goal free kicks they put 5 men in the wall (don’t jump). They put a player free outside the box to prevent any free kick combination.
• They don’t leave anyone up front. All others mark man to man
• In corner kicks they put the right back on one post and the right winger on the other.
• They put the left winger in the space between the 6yd box and the near post.
• They put the smaller striker and the attacking midfielder outside the box.
• Transitions will be through them so it’s important to control movement when the ball is lost –prevent their pace for counter attacks.
• If the taller striker is the man staying in space, exploit one less tall marker and take advantage to punish them at set plays.
• GK inconsistent with crosses. Usually punches to clear crosses.


• Be aware of substitutions as some players on bench are potential match winners for them
• The team is having a good run at present. They are motivated and finally finding its balance. It’s important to keep focus as they will play with a high intensity.
• Very quick and alert team reacting to 2nd ball situations. After winning it they can use it wisely and have good transitions in depth directed to the small striker.
• Very poor defensive transition after set plays for. They leave players in the back to have numerical superiority, but have great difficulty to lead with an opponent with pace or an opponent asking for the ball in space behind. This is even more evident on the left side (chance to exploit)
• Substitutions don’t implicate a change in the system played. But 4-4-2 Diamond Shape is always the option if needed. Players on the bench normally have a lot of technical quality and can change the game. 2 are dynamic and always take on roles that make full use of their mobility. The other striker is always a threat in the air and in set plays while the remaining player (if not 2nd GK) has pace.
• The small striker chases all lost balls and back passes to GK (great danger)

Obviously there would be lots of diagrams to accompany the above points so that all players will understand how they will likely play and try to be one step ahead.
And after the match, well its onto the scouting report for the NEXT opponent !!

05-29-2008, 02:56 PM

Where did you get this?

05-29-2008, 03:26 PM
I believe that is infamous scouting report prepared by Chelsea when playing Newcastle, which was leaked out a couple of years ago. If that's the case, it's not the norm, but an example of the extreme levels of preparation that Mourinho went to.

05-29-2008, 06:43 PM
My dad scouted for many years for Middlesbrough FC and he would write a report about 4 pages long about a player! I went to Ashton Gate with him once when he was watching Lua Lua, who eventually signed for Newcastle. Not knowing how he went about the details I wrote my own report on the lad and we compared them on the way home. I wrote no more than half a page and that was it. My dad started mentioning things that I didn't even consider thinking about, but obviously looking back now was necessary to know.

Anyway, a few weeks later my dad asked us if I wanted to go back to Ashton Gate as there was this other player that clubs were sniffing around. I learn't from my mistakes this time and wrote my boll*cks off for the entire 90mins. Excited at the thought my dad would think of me as a scout in the making, I read off in detail what I thought about this player. 3 pages later my dad tells me to stop, and so I turn to him and ask him what he wrote. 'Three words' he said, 'waste of time'. Low and behold, he spent the remaining 80 mins enjoying the game, having made his mind up on the kid in a matter of minutes. He plays non-league football now.....I think!

Northern Soul
05-30-2008, 10:58 AM
Apparently he plays in Greece now...