Emilie Haavi is a 29-year-old international Norwegian player who just moved to Roma Women during the winter transfer market. Haavi started playing for the Serie A Women’s side for the first time ever in January 2022 when Roma faced Milan Women in the Italian Women’s Super Cup semi-final. Before that, Haavi’s career witnessed adventures at distinct clubs such as Røa, LSK Kvinner and Boston Breakers. Despite scoring a lot of goals for each team she played for, the start of her spell at Roma seems the most promising one since she was able to put on some solid performances starting from day 1 at the club, scoring in almost every match she played until now, apart from the one against Milan.
In this tactical analysis article, we will be focusing on Haavi’s main skills and characteristics to see how the Norwegian international can take Roma to another level in terms of attack and especially goalscoring/assists. The analysis will be carried out relying on data, match footage of Haavi not only since she joined Roma but also from when she played for LSK Kvinner, in addition to her performances with the Norwegian national team.
Positions and roles
When it comes to positioning, Haavi can be considered one of the most versatile players in Serie A since she can be deployed at more than just one position. In fact, Haavi was used as a second striker in a 3-5-2, a left wing-back in a 3-5-2, a right wing-back in a 3-4-3 and in a 3-5-2 formation, a left-winger in a 3-4-3 at LSK Kvinner, a left-winger in a 4-4-2 and an advanced playmaker in a 4-2-3-1. This just shows the player’s immense ability to adapt to various playing systems and to the tactical roles assigned to her. What is even more impressive with Haavi is that she was able to make a tangible impact while playing in most of these positions as she scored and made assists in the last few matches despite the changes of position in each game.
Such consistency is very promising for Roma’s coaching staff and for the player herself since it confirms that she is adapting well to Serie A’s playing style. Roma’s head coach, Alessandro Spugna, should now keep exploiting Haavi’s talent and experience in the best possible way by giving her clearer duties in attack and in the non-possession phase in order to enhance her performances even further and allow her to excel in one of the attacking positions.
This can be done while bearing in mind that he has a player who can adapt well to any attacking position and, therefore, represents a weapon he can use whenever he feels the opponents are reading his plans accurately. A change of Haavi’s position even during games can be fruitful for the team as it would create problems for opponents who would not expect such a change.
In the following heatmap, it is apparent that Haavi’s movements cover most of the pitch and especially on both wings despite the fact that the heatmap was made from the data of only five matches.
Haavi has already scored many goals for Roma since her January move and is expected to help the team reach an advanced spot in the standings at the end of the season through her goals and assists. It was clear from day one that she fits the system perfectly given that she knows how to run, when to run, in what directions and when to economise energy. These might sound like basics in football but are extremely important as they create the difference between players. Those who excel and focus a lot on these details become more efficient and the players who don’t give much attention to these things most of the time struggle to reach the peak of what they can achieve.
Haavi is one of those players who knows when to economise her energy and when she should give her all in terms of running and attacking support. This played a factor in enhancing her goalscoring ability recently. In the following example, Haavi knew that the counter-attack requires her presence even though she was too far behind the ball carrier. Her decision to accelerate and to believe in her ability to provide a passing option earned her the opportunity to score a deserved goal after the ball was partly saved by the opposing goalkeeper who made a mistake and left the ball in front of Haavi, who exploited the opportunity and scored with a header. This proves that Haavi senses the goal and knows exactly when she has to put in extra effort. That’s why she often gets rewarded for her efforts. Moreover, positioning herself in key areas when she is out of possession is fundamental for enabling her to score more often.
Haavi proved that she can also score using her weaker foot and she’s already done it in Serie A against Pomigliano after she got rid of her direct opponent and was in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper.
Haavi deals well with counter-attacks and is often very cold-blooded when she finds herself in front of goal. Her confidence and determination allow her to score so often despite being disturbed by opponents. Once again, Haavi’s excellent acceleration and balance help her in protecting the ball better and not giving it away easily.
Playmaking and assists
Haavi is becoming one of the best passers in the final third in her national team and in Roma since she usually gives accurate passes with an average of 67.3%. Whether on the left or the right-wing, she can cross the ball accurately for her teammates in the box and more importantly, her tactical awareness allows her to know when she can exploit the space left behind defenders using her pace and one-two passing combinations. As you can see below, she made this triangular passing combination with her teammate to get rid of her direct opponent and run freely towards the box before crossing and making a perfect assist to a teammate coming from the left wing.
In the same match, Haavi made another great assist to her teammate with a lot of precision. Haavi was intelligent enough to put the ball ahead of her teammate but at the same time not too far ahead to give her the advantage over the goalkeeper and, allow her to surpass her marker who was just behind her and could have intercepted the pass if it was given towards the feet of Karina Sævik.
In addition to this, Haavi can be very dangerous on the left wing, using her excellent pace to surpass her direct opponents either with or without the ball. Her great acceleration abilities in addition to her balance when running allow her to be usually efficient on either wing. Plus, Haavi doesn’t have the problem of a “weaker” foot. She often provides key passes and assists using both feet with almost the same accuracy, which gives her an advantage over her teammates when competing for a starting spot. Head coaches won’t find issues in starting with Haavi because they can always find a suitable spot for her without playing her out of position given that she plays on both wings naturally as she can adapt to playing as an advanced playmaker or as a second striker too.
Here is an example of an assist made by Haavi using her left foot to serve a teammate inside the penalty area despite being disturbed by her marker.
A very similar assist was made by Haavi at Roma lately using her left foot to serve a teammate inside the box with accuracy and if she continues playing with the same determination and focus, we will see numerous similar goal actions very soon.
Haavi was able to make a great impact on Roma’s attacking performances since she joined the team and has a lot of potential for further progress given that such great performances can only give her more motivation for playing even better. At the same time, she needs to be consistent in terms of performances in order to guarantee a starting spot with Norway in the upcoming Euro 2022 and why not help Roma in reaching one of the top spots of Serie A this season, in competition with Milan, Sassuolo, Fiorentina, Inter and Juventus.