Amine Bassi at Nancy 2019/2020 – scout report
France has been a country where many young players have flourished and launched their careers to higher levels in recent years. Ligue 1 is the stage where a lot of those players show themselves to the rest of the world, but it’s not the only league with talented players in France, and if we go down a tier to Ligue 2 there is a lot of talent looking to take the step up.
Amine Bassi is 23-year-old Moroccan attacking midfielder that plays for AS Nancy-Lorraine. Nancy finished this season in 12th place and proved to be an average team all season, the numbers back up that statement, the team managed 6 wins, 16 draws, and 6 losses in 28 games played. When it comes to the goal record the picture is not more impressive, Nancy ended their league campaign with 27 goals scored and 26 goals conceded, ranking them in 15th place in terms of goals scored and 8th in terms of goals conceded.
This rather stale season from the team didn’t seem to affect Amine Bassi that much as the Moroccan had a very impressive season on a personal level all things considered. In this scout report, we will be showing just how good Amine Bassi was for Nancy this season with an analysis of his gameplay and stats. We will also try to find out if he is ready to take the step up to Ligue 1 and show his talent on bigger stages.
Amine Bassi is a very versatile right-footed attacking midfielder that can play in several positions. This season he has played has a CAM, RW, LW, CF and a few times as a CM as well depending on Nancy’s tactics and formations. He is a very creative player with great technique, vision, and spatial awareness and makes very good use of these strengths. The mentioned characteristics enable him to create chances for himself and his teammates, and that’s why he performs well when playing in advanced zones where he can face the opposition’s defensive line. From those positions he has a variety of ways in which he can hurt his opponent: play a through pass, dribble in a 1vs1 situation, or even shoot himself.
In the image below we can see Bassi’s heat map for this season. It clearly shows his versatility and ability to play in several areas of the pitch.
The heat map above also shows us how Amine Bassi operates mostly in the final third and in areas close to the penalty box. These zones of the field are the ones where creativity paired with great technique and vision can lead to goal scoring opportunities, they are also zones where most coaches allow their players to be more spontaneous and take more risks.
Amine Bassi averaged 1.93 deep completions (per 90min) this season in Ligue 2 which ranks him 1st place in this category. Deep completions are passes received (excluding crosses) in a 20-meter radius from the opposition’s goal line. This shows us how Bassi is able to receive the ball in those advanced areas quite often. In order to see what he can produce from those areas we created a graphic that can help us to compare the attacking output of wingers and attacking midfielders from Ligue 2 that played at least 1000 minutes this season.
In the graphic, we plotted deep completions per 90min and chances created per 90min on both axes. This way we can see which players get into those advanced spaces more frequently and how many chances they create. We then filtered the circle colour to display the number of goals scored and the size to display the shots per 90 minutes, showing the amount of chances players take themselves.
An analysis of the graphic reaffirms Bassi’s excellent ability to make himself available and receive the ball in areas close to the penalty area, but it also shows us that he is producing a lot of chances for his team. His dot appears clearly apart from others on the right side of the graphic due to his impressive numbers. The numbers displayed by the Moroccan are anything but average, he creates 2.1 chances per 90 min and has managed 3 assists this season, which is more than anyone in terms of chances created. He also tries to take chances himself, averaging 2.11 shots per 90min and having scored 4 goals in the league, he is the team’s 4th best scorer and best provider.
Now that we know how important Amine Bassi’s attacking contribution is for his team, and how his numbers are top-notch when compared to other Ligue 2 wingers and attacking midfielders, we will take a look at his gameplay in the various phases of the game.
AS Nancy-Lorraine most used formations this season were 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1, depending on the formation Amine Bassi sometimes played as a number 10 or as a winger. When playing as a number 10 Bassi tries to find space in between the opposition’s midfield and defensive lines to receive the ball. But that’s not the only space he tries to find, in fact, Bassi is a very agile and fast player and he often tries to make runs in behind the opposition’s defensive line. These runs happen a lot when Nancy’s striker drifts wide or comes deep to receive the ball while dragging a defender with him, therefore creating space, but Amine Bassi also makes a lot of runs in behind the defence through the half-space, especially on the right side, and those runs often get him in very good positions.
When Bassi plays as a winger the type of spaces he tries to exploit are very similar to when he plays as a number 10, he makes himself available to receive the ball either to his feet or to space in behind the defensive line. He is an unpredictable player and that gives him a very precious advantage over his opponents as they don’t know what he is going to do.
In the image below we can see an example of Amine Bassi making a run in behind the defensive line through the half-space. He then gets a shot on goal and his teammate scores in the rebound.
In terms of stats, Amine Bassi receives an average of 29.63 passes per 90 minutes which is very good considering that his team attempts 366 passes per 90 minutes, a number that falls below the league’s average of 379. This shows Bassi is able to make himself a viable passing lane for his teammates very often. The already mentioned 1.93 deep completions per 90 minutes show us how Amine Bassi finds space in areas where he can create dangerous situations and the fact is that he is constantly looking to receive the ball close to the penalty area.
Creating and scoring
Amine Bassi’s contribution to his team when it comes to creating chances and scoring has been huge this season. We’ve seen the data, the Moroccan leads the table on chances created with 2.1 per 90 minutes and has produced 3 assists and 4 goals in the league this season. Part of his success is related to his ability to find spaces in dangerous areas, but technique and vision also play a very big role in his offensive output.
Amine Bassi has very good technique and that shows in his ball control, passing, crossing, and shooting. He is able to execute fast and with precision and that enables him to create a lot of danger for the opposition. He is also very versatile with the ball in his feet, this means he can pass, cross or shoot using different techniques that involve striking the ball with different parts of his foot. He knows how to choose which type of pass or shot suits each situation, and in fact, this comes naturally to him and allows him to play first time passes and shots that surprise the opposition.
When Bassi receives the ball facing the opposition’s defensive line he immediately looks for teammates making runs in behind he can play a through pass to, this situation has lead to him creating many chances for his team. Sometimes Bassi receives the ball in wider areas when he is playing as a winger or if he has made a run in behind the defensive line through the wide channels, in these situations he is equally capable of delivering quality crosses or passes for his teammates inside the penalty area.
The map below shows us Amine Bassi’s penalty area deliveries and it is consistent with what was just said.
As we can see in the map many deliveries come from passes, and many of those are key ones, which means they lead to a shot that didn’t end up in a goal. The deliveries that come from the right wide space are mostly crossed and that is due to the fact that they occur when Bassi is playing as a winger. The most common spaces where Bassi’s penalty deliveries come from are the ones close to the penalty area, either in central zones or in the right half and wide spaces. These areas are the same ones that we already mentioned Bassi tries to receive the ball in, and they are also the ones from where he creates the most chances.
In the image below we can see one of the mentioned situations where Amine Bassi receives the ball facing the opposition’s defensive line. He spots the run of his teammate (9) and plays a through pass that gets him in a 1vs1 situation against the goalkeeper.
Besides his ability to create chances, Amine Bassi is very capable of scoring himself. His shooting technique is particularly useful and he is not afraid of shooting from long distances. He is a good free-kick and set-piece taker in general and has already scored from this type of situation. Bassi uses short and effective dribbles to get his opponents out of the way and find just enough space to get a shot away whenever he feels like he is in a good position.
In the image below we can see Amine Bassi taking a long-range shot right after he skipped past FC Chambly’s player. The shot ended up in a fantastic goal!
One particular aspect about Amine Bassi is that he gets in the box to attack crosses a lot and does so in a very intelligent way. He tries to attack the near post area very often but he also attacks the central zone of the penalty box. Whatever the zone Bassi decides to attack he delays his run into the box, this way he waits until the opposition’s defenders are dragged by the other attackers’ movements and the space for him is left wide open.
In the image below we can see Amine Bassi delaying his run into the box and receive a cross with some space because Metz’s defenders were dragged by the movement of Nancy’s attackers. He then quickly rotates to find a shooting position and fires a nice shot that ends up in a goal!
AS Nancy’s defensive shape is a 4-4-2 most of the times. Like many teams that defend in this shape Nancy try to block the central spaces so that the opposition cannot build its play in those areas and are forced to pass the ball wide. The two men on the first line will press the opposition’s centre-backs to force them to make a mistake, sometimes an additional man will join this press.
Amine Bassi is part of that first line of pressure when he plays as a number 10 but when he plays as a winger his job is to block the central passing lanes for the opposition’s full-back. If the team feels they can win the ball another player will join the first line of two men in the pressure, and sometimes Amine Bassi is the one performing that task as he is quick and intelligent with his press.
In the image below we can see AS Nancy in their usual 4-4-2 defensive shape with Amine Bassi joining the striker in the first line of pressure.
In terms of stats, Amine Bassi averages 4.75 defensive duels per 90 and he wins 53.77% of those duels which are decent numbers for a player of his characteristics and stature. Most of his ball recoveries are in the final third and come from counterpressing actions. He averages 1.57 final third recoveries per 90 and 2.15 counter-pressing recoveries per 90. This is consistent with Nancy’s attempt to get the ball back when they lose it, the team tries to counterpress when they lose the ball and win it back quickly. If they are not able to win it in the first moments that follow the ball loss, they will regroup back into shape.
When Nancy win the ball back they try and counter-attack. The usually leave two players up the pitch so that they have viable and progressive passing options to start the counter-attack, those players are usually the two strikers or the striker and the number 10. What this means for Amine Bassi is that he is often one of the players that stays up the pitch when the team his defending in their own half. He mostly stays near the centre circle, from there, he either falls back to receive a pass if needed or he makes a run in behind the defensive line to exploit space. Because he is more capable in terms of passing and vision he is the one that falls back the most to start the counter-attack, his ball carrying abilities are also very useful in counter-attacking situations as he is able to progress the ball up the pitch with some ease.
One other common action we see Amine Bassi doing in counter-attacks is making a counter-movement when Nancy’s striker drops deep to receive the ball and help the counter-attack to progress. The movement from the striker often creates a space in the defensive line and even if that doesn’t happen it always makes the defenders focus on where the ball is. Bassi likes to take advantage of these type of situations to immediately make a tun in behind the defensive line as he is fast and very capable of winning the race against the defender.
In the image below we can see Amine Bassi making the mentioned counter movement to exploit the space in behind FC Chambly’s defensive line. Nancy’s striker dropped deep to receive the ball and start the counter-attack dragging a defender with him, and Amine Bassi immediately tries to make a blindside run to get through on goal.
When Nancy lose the ball they try and counterpress to win the ball back as quickly as possible. This means that if the players don’t get the ball back right after they lose it they will regroup and get back into their regular defensive shape. Because he plays in advanced positions, and also more prone to losing possession, Amine Bassi is often one of the players that tries to counterpress the opponent.
If Nancy isn’t able to win the ball back and the opposition gets past their first line of pressure the team regroups into shape. Like it was already mentioned Amine Bassi often stays up the pitch so he can be a viable option to start the counter-attack and, as such, he doesn’t fall back that much.
In the image below we can see an example of AS Nancy counter-pressing to win the ball and stop FC Chambly’s counter-attack chances.
Is Amine Bassi ready for Ligue 1?
In order to determine if Amine Bassi is ready to take the step up and play for a Ligue 1 side, we created a similar graphic to the one at the beginning of the report but comparing the Moroccan with other wingers and attacking midfielders from Ligue 1. The methodology was the same, we plotted deep completions per 90min and chances created per 90min on both axes. This way we can see which players get into advanced spaces more frequently and how many chances they create. We then filtered the circle colour to display the number of goals scored and the size to display the shots per 90 minutes, showing the amount of chances players take themselves.
Of course, we have to take into account the differences in the quality of the league when looking at the data, as such, Bassi’s numbers would most likely be different if he played in Ligue 1 but for comparison purposes putting him alongside other Ligue 1 players will help us to understand the level he is in.
An analysis of the graphic shows how Bassi’s numbers are very good compared to other players in his position playing in a higher league, and some of them play at an even higher level in the Champions League. The differences between the two leagues are big of course, but Bassi’s stats in terms of chance creation and getting into dangerous positions are so far above all the other players in Ligue 2 that they most likely would also be very good in Ligue 1. This would all depend on his team and opponents but data clearly tells us Bassi is ready to experience Ligue 1 football. The only player creating more chances than the Moroccan in the graphic is Angel Di Maria who plays for PSG and the colour and size on his dot show us he is also of a high standard when it comes to taking those chances himself.
This tactical analysis showed how lower leagues also have very talented players playing in them and how some of them are true hidden gems. Amine Bassi has been fantastic for Nancy this season and his stats are impressive when compared to other players in the league. The Moroccan is still young at 23-years-old and there is definitely room for improvement and growth, but he is already a real chance-creating weapon and also a very capable goal scorer.
Amine Bassi is very much ready to take the step up and play in Ligue 1, assuming he wants to stay in France, or any other top league in Europe, he just needs a club to give him that chance. All scouts and football enthusiasts, in general, should keep an eye open for Amine Bassi in the future as he packs all the elements to produce some exciting high-level performances on bigger stages.