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Clarisse Le Bihan: What can she add to Angel City

Clarisse Le Bihan is a French international player who has just moved to NWSL’s newly registered club, Angel City. She had been playing for Montpellier since 2016 and before that, she had some long and instructive experiences at Guingamp and Stade Briochin. Le Bihan was called for international games in 2015 and played several matches for the French national team alongside players from PSG, Lyon, Barcelona‘s Kheira Hamraoui and others but then the journey didn’t continue. Joining a team like Angel City would, perhaps, represent a great opportunity for Le Bihan to show her skills once again and get onto attract the radar of France’s coaching staff.

In this tactical analysis scout report, we will be focusing on discovering the French player with extra attention to her skills, roles and positions, main characteristics, as well as what to improve to be as effective as possible for her new club. Moreover, we will explore how can Le Bihan’s abilities fit with Angel City’s playing system and whether she can represent an addition to the team or not, from a tactical perspective.

Roles and positions

Le Bihan is naturally a defensive midfielder who is used to playing in a plethora of positions. She has already been used as a central midfielder, second striker, striker and a left-winger as she is familiar with fitting into various formations such as the 4-2-3-1, 3-4-2-1, 3-5-2, 4-4-2 and the 4-3-3 given that Montpelier switched their formations regularly depending on their opponents and on their players’ availability.

This wide array of possible positions and roles gives Le Bihan the possibility of fitting into almost any team since she can occupy a lot of different positions and can adapt to numerous formations. Being able to interpret midfield or attacking positions successfully, and with almost the same efficiency, is a fact that can be exploited very well at Angel City given that the team looks to start the NWSL season as powerfully as possible and with signings like Le Bihan, the coaching staff’s choices can only be richer, which would impact the team’s performances positively if they succeed in managing and using the players at their disposal in the best possible way.

In fact, Angel City have been using the 4-2-3-1 formation during the NWSL Challenge Cup 2022 so far with both Dani Weatherholt and Cari Roccaro being the central midfielders. Le Bihan can either compete with these two players for a possible regular spot or be used in a little bit of a more advanced role by replacing one of Jun Endo or Savannah McCaskill for the advanced playmaker position. Moreover, she can be employed on the left wing too as she can be useful on that side. However, knowing that Le Bihan’s main position and expertise is in midfield, it is more likely that Angel City would use Le Bihan as a central/defensive midfielder to exploit her best traits in that important role. The player’s consistent European experience can be fundamental in guaranteeing and ensuring the stability of the team from a defensive perspective and in guiding her teammates especially in delicate moments and in terms of defensive positioning.

Furthermore, two important pieces of information make Le Bihan an attractive player for most teams: 1. having a sense of leadership and captaincy since she used to be a captain at Montpellier and 2. ability to play with both feet. This means that Le Bihan can bring a lot of maturity and guidance to a team that needs not only talented but also experienced players like ex-Manchester United‘s Christen Press.

As you can notice from this heat map of the last 5 games, Le Bihan covers the whole midfield and reaches the penalty box too; this proves that she runs a lot over 90 minutes. Also, she tends to lean towards the left-wing more often as she finds herself more comfortable with the ball on that side given the previous experiences she had on that wing.

Playmaking and goalscoring

In terms of playmaking, Le Bihan is a decent passer and an intelligent midfielder. Her passing accuracy equals 72.7% while her forward pass accuracy is 59.4%. These two statistics can guarantee that Le Bihan is a reliable midfield player in terms of retention, even though her forward passing rates can be improved. The same applies to her assists since she has 0.13 in terms of xA, which is quite low. However, when considering that she usually has defensive duties and that her defensive midfielder position doesn’t necessarily require putting assists as a priority, that xA would appear logical. If Le Bihan would be used as an advanced playmaker regularly in the future, it is certain that her xA, as well as her number of assists, will increase because the player has the vision and the quality of passing needed to excel at providing assists.

As an example, in this match against Paris FC, Le Bihan was playing as a second striker and when she received the ball in the final third, she instantly dribbled past her opponent and found herself circulated with other players and needed to make an instant passing decision otherwise she would lose the ball. Le Bihan’s vision enabled her to opt for the best possible option as she saw her teammate, Lena Petermann, unmarked and intending to run towards the box. Being able to spot the movement of her teammates, take the passing decision at the right timing and execute it well is something that confirms Le Bihan’s passing abilities and tactical awareness inside the final third. Therefore, this player can provide plenty of key passes in this area when used in an advanced position as she was in this match.

Moreover, Le Bihan can be extremely useful from the left wing as she proved several times that she can protect the ball, dribble quickly past her opponents and provide key passes or crosses to the players inside the box. What helps her a lot in executing her actions from this wing is her ability to use both feet with great accuracy. In the following image, Le Bihan dribbled past her opponents to find herself near the edge of the field and was still able to provide an excellent pass/assist to her teammate who was near the far post.

When it comes to goalscoring, Le Bihan can present more danger to her opponents since she has many ways of scoring goals. Firstly, being able to shoot with power and accuracy using her right and left foot can always confuse defenders and goalkeepers and what is excellent is that Le Bihan is aware of this advantage and often alternates in shooting to surprise her opponents. Perhaps one of the player’s most beautiful goals was scored with a long-range left-footed shot from outside the box — with a first-time touch — making it extremely difficult for the goalkeeper to even predict the trajectory of the shot.

As the picture shows, the ball went too high and dropped towards the right angle while curving on the way and without losing its power. Being able to produce such excellent shots and succeeding in their execution can be very beneficial for Angel City in NWSL, as the French international can score numerous goals from outside the box especially in her initial season in NWSL because goalkeepers and defenders are not used to her shooting abilities, therefore, they may not expect such actions from her.

Indeed, Le Bihan’s shooting and goalscoring statistics are not excellent, but that, once again, is mostly related to the unstable usage of Le Bihan at Montpellier in terms of positioning. What is certain, though, is that this player has got quality that needs to be assessed and used perfectly at Angel City in order to get the best out of her from an attacking perspective. Le Bihan’s decision-making in situations that require quick or instant decisions is excellent. She proved on many occasions that she doesn’t overthink and that she usually knows how to get out of difficult situations by opting for the best solutions. Here, for instance, she got the ball in a situation where she saw the opposing goalkeeper in an advanced position and she didn’t hesitate at all before going for a lob with perfect accuracy. These shots might look simple from afar but they require a lot of concentration and skill because the trajectory needs to be flawless, and that’s why Le Bihan’s shooting and goalscoring abilities shouldn’t be undermined.

Being a captain at Montpellier also means that Le Bihan is a leader on and off the pitch. Apart from psychological and other aspects of captaincy, Le Bihan is a captain who scores penalties and free-kicks and doesn’t fear taking these set-pieces. On the contrary, she has got the confidence needed to opt for shooting even when taking set-pieces that are distant from goal. Having players who score these kinds of free-kicks is rare in women’s football nowadays, and that represents another trait that Le Bihan and Angel City can use as a weapon during the season.

Ball protection and duels

Playing mostly in midfield, Le Bihan has got to be solid in duels and in keeping the ball at her feet in delicate areas and not lose it since she often plays in front of defence. Le Bihan wins 63% of the defensive duels, 34.2% of the offensive duels, 40.8% in aerial duels and has an average of 30.4% successful tackles. These statistics are surely not the best, as they can be improved upon a lot. Nevertheless, these numbers can’t cancel the fact that Le Bihan is a strong midfielder with a lot of qualities that can be consolidated with more work. She is excellent in the build-up phase and in protecting the ball when pressed. Although most midfielders learn to play under pressure, not all of them succeed in doing so without committing a lot of mistakes that lead to dangerous attacks. Le Bihan doesn’t commit a lot of mistakes in midfield and often knows how to distribute the ball to her teammates without being distracted by the disturbance of opponents.

As shown in the following picture, she was clearly protecting the ball with her body here to not let her PSG opponent intercept it before providing a pass to her teammate on the left flank.

Le Bihan has also got the fluidity needed to make sudden changes of direction, which help her confuse her markers and get away from them. She does this quite often especially when having a passing idea in mind, as we saw in the next action when she was running while surrounded by two PSG players. As soon as she spotted an unmarked teammate on her left, she made a sudden change of direction to get away from her two markers before passing with her left foot quickly and creating a numerical superiority. What is remarkable as well in most of Le Bihan’s actions is the quick execution of her thoughts and decisions. Such rapidity allows her to win time over her opponents whenever they get closer to her.


Clarisse Le Bihan was one of Division 1 féminine’s best midfield players and this move to Angel City can only help her develop even further, via a different but enriching experience. She should, therefore, exploit this opportunity to showcase her talent even more since she will be exposed to more light at NWSL, knowing that she has all that is needed to succeed in putting on solid performances to help her team reach their seasonal goals and even potentially make a return to the French national team soon. As explained above, the player has some special traits that allow her to be very useful to Angel City whether in midfield or in attack, depending on how Freya Coombe would like to use her.