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Ethan Ampadu 2021/22: Ethan Ampadu at Venezia- tactical analysis tactics

Ethan Ampadu: The Welshman’s resurgence in Italy

Ethan Ampadu rose to prominence at an early age coming through the ranks at Exeter City, where he made his first senior appearance at 15 years of age. After impressing with Exeter City and being highly rated within the Welsh football set-up, Ampadu joined Chelsea. As you would imagine Chelsea sent him out on a series of loans, firstly to Bundesliga side RB Leipzig where he only made a handful of appearances before joining then-Premier League side Sheffield United, which wasn’t the most successful period. This season has seen Ampadu join Venezia — a newly promoted to Serie A. He has finally found a club where he looks settled and is flourishing in his football, finally living up to his potential. Despite being just 21 years of age, Ampadu has been an integral part of the Welsh national team for a while now with 31 caps and will play a significant role in their upcoming World Cup qualifiers. He has played the majority of his best football for his country and has generally struggled to translate it to the club game until this season when Ampadu has consistently performed to levels he is capable of.

This tactical analysis and scout report will investigate Ampadu’s game and how he is finally living up to the talent and quality he has.


Ampadu is a versatile player with the ability to play as a number six in midfield, as a centre-back or even a right-back. This can be both a blessing and a curse at times, as it means he can help his team out and fill several holes. However, this can also mean he gets moved around a lot and can find it hard to settle in a particular position.  This season, Ampadu has covered all three positions for his side but has featured mainly as a number six. Below is a look at Ampadu’s heat map from this season, showing that the majority of his football has been played in midfield.

Ethan Ampadu 2021/22: Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: tactical analysis tactics


The importance of data in the modern game is ever-growing, especially when it comes to evaluating and identifying players. It helps provide a look into the strengths and weaknesses of a player while also allowing for a comparison between other similar players or players in the same league. Below, we will take a look at some metrics and how Ampadu ranks in these compared to other Serie A midfielders with over 500 league minutes. First up, is PAdj interceptions and successful defensive actions — two metrics that can help evaluate a player’s defensive contribution. Ampadu has recorded very impressive numbers in these metrics this season, with 11.93 successful defensive actions per 90 and 6.5 PAdj interceptions per 90 both some of the highest in the league.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

Another metric that helps us understand Ampadu’s defensive contribution is defensive duels and defensive duel’s win percentage. Again, Ampadu is among the best in Serie A. He is not only engaging in lots of defensive duels with 9.3 per 90 but he is also winning 59% of those duels.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

The final set of defensive metrics we will look at is aerial duels per 90 and aerial duel win percentage. Ampadu is above average in both these metrics again. This isn’t an area in which he excels but he has the ability to engage in aerial duels and be successful in those duels to a more than respectable standard.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

The six defensive metrics we have looked at show that Ethan Ampadu is a strong defender with the ability to break up play with interceptions but also compete and be successful in different varieties of defensive duels, making him effective in many defensive situations. For a 21-year-old trying to establish himself, these are very impressive metrics ranking him among some of the best in the league. 

Now, we will take a look at some in-possession metrics to see how Ampadu contributes to possession. Firstly, we have progressive passes per 90 and accurate progressive passes percentage Ampadu manages 7.3 progressive passes per 90 with accurate progressive passes at 65%. In terms of volume, Ampadu is above average in the league but is well below average and one of the most inaccurate in the league. This highlights an area of his game that could be improved upon.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

This is a similar story for passes to the final third, where he ranks just below the league average in terms of the number of passes made but again well below the average in accuracy. This reinforces that Ampadu needs to be more accurate when passing the ball forward. 

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

Ampadu is still a good passer but within the context of Serie A midfielders, there is potential to become more accurate. 

This analysis of the data should hopefully show Ampadu’s strengths but also the areas in which he could improve while remaining in the context of his performance amongst fellow Serie A midfielders.

In possession 

We have touched upon Ampadu’s contribution with the ball above looking at some passing metrics. However, this doesn’t do Ampadu’s passing ability justice. Venezia is a team that likes to go back to front quickly, often meaning that Ampadu must play lots of balls forward quickly and directly where more importance is placed upon the act of moving the ball forward than doing so with accuracy, hence why his progressive passes and passes to the final third accuracy are low. We will take a look at a couple of examples of Ampadu’s impressive passing range.

The first example comes against Napoli with Amapdu playing as a number six in this game. He receives the ball from his left-back and has one-touch before opening himself up and playing a brilliant pass across the pitch.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

This pass allows Venezia to change the point of attack while also advancing into the opposition’s final third. Although the pass is unopposed, it is still a very impressive pass that is executed to perfection. It showed great accuracy to pick the man on the far side out but also keep it away from the Napoli backline and risk a turnover of possession. 

His next pass comes at right-back against Empoli, showing he is effective in possession from different positions. Similar to the first example, Ampadu receives the ball and moves it straight away. After his touch, he picks his head up and plays a ball forward for his team to get hold of. This pass has, again, moved Venezia into the opposition’s final third and progressed them upfield.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

For both passes so far, Ampadu has taken just one touch before making his pass, he also knows what pass he is making before he receives the ball. This shows he has good anticipation and reading of the game as he has identified the space and most optimal pass before the ball has even got to him. 

The final pass comes against Atalanta and will again show how Ampadu’s passing ability allows him to often start attacks but also move his team upfield with well-executed longer passes that can move Venezia into better areas of the pitch.  The ball has just been won by Venezia and played to Ampadu, who is under a counter-press from the Atalanta man but with a first-time pass, Ampadu clips the ball into the Venezia frontmen, allowing his team to get out and move upfield. This pass ends up with a Venezia striker getting hold of the ball and starting an attack.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

The ability to know to bypass the press and not just play a simple sideways ball to his left-back is shown here but again is well executed. Ampadu’s attacking contribution is significant and considering he is playing for one of the most direct teams in Italy, he has still managed to demonstrate a real array of passing skills which shows that maybe his numbers don’t do his passing ability justice.

Defensive contribution 

The data section has told us that Ampadu is an effective defender with a high volume of defensive actions but also a good win percentage of those actions. Ampadu’s best defending comes from reading and anticipating the game. He isn’t a big defender, standing at 6ft, however, this then allows him to use speed and anticipation to make well-timed interceptions and nullify any opposition attack. There are two ways he contributes to his team defensively that we will take a look at in the remainder of this scout report. 

The first is his reading of the game to nullify attacks, especially deep in his own third. He does a great job of filling in for defenders and being alert to sniff out any danger or potential space which may occur. In this example, Ampadu is playing as a number six and the Venezia back four are being stretched. This creates a space between the two centre-backs for Napoli to try and exploit, as shown below.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

Ampadu has identified the space and the run of the Napoli man into this space. He now makes sure he follows the man in and occupies the space, in the process nullifying the Napoli attack.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

He does a good job of getting to the Napoli man but also gets tight to prevent him from making a pullback or getting a shot off. 

The next example is in a similar situation, with Venezia defending their box and Lazio on the attack. The Lazio man is carrying the ball and attempting to beat a couple of Venezia men to get to the byline and either cross the ball or pull it back for a teammate.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

Ampadu identifies this threat and the space he is going to carry the ball into, so occupies the space and nullifies the attack once again. He also makes sure he closes the ball carrier down and gets tight to prevent him from getting a pass off.

These may seem like obvious actions for a player to take but they involve good reading of the game and anticipation to identify what is going to happen and what space the opposition will look to exploit. 

The other defensive contribution Ampadu excels at is breaking up opposition attacks, especially when playing the role of a number six. He uses his understanding of the game to break up the opposition attack with both interceptions and tackles. The first example comes against Juventus, with Adrien Rabiot carrying the ball and looking to progress Juventus upfield. After a slightly heavy touch which just takes the ball a bit further away from himself than Rabiot would have wanted, Ampadu presses him looking to win the ball back. 

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

His challenge is well-timed and he manages to close off all the space for Rabiot to operate in which leads to a turnover.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

The final example is from a similar situation, with Venezia sitting in a low block and AC Milan in possession. Rafael Leão is looking to carry the ball forward into the pocket of space highlighted. As he starts this carry, Ampadu doesn’t rush in to make a challenge as he allows the dribbler to carry the ball into the space, waiting for the right moment to make a challenge.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

He waits for Leão to get close before executing a precise challenge — not lunging and potentially giving a foul away. He manages to get a foot in and disrupt the run of the Milan man, which leads to a turnover.

Ethan Ampadu at Venezia 2021/22: scout report

Showing great maturity and understanding of the game. The defensive contribution Ampadu makes to his team is significant, with his versatility but also his ability to consistently stop and end opposition attacks. 


Ethan Ampadu, like many other young British players, is coming of age in Europe. He is displaying great maturity and quality in his play, all while playing for a side who are struggling in the league. His positional versatility, understanding of the game and excellent technique will allow him to continue his development and become an elite player. Whether this is with Chelsea or elsewhere is yet to be determined with such a plethora of talented young midfielders at their disposal. However, this shouldn’t derail Ampadu’s career, which is now finally living up to the talent he has. Hopefully, this tactical analysis and scout report has shown the areas of Ampadu’s game that are part of this great season he is having.