West Ham Women’s Japanese weapon : How can Yui Hasegawa improve the attack – scout report
Yui Hasegawa has just moved to FAWSL’s West Ham United during this latest transfer window after playing for Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza and for Milan Women last season. The Japanese international has already proved her worth and showed that she can do well at the highest level as her performances didn’t drop when she played against renowned national teams and she didn’t find problems when adapting to Serie A Women playing style.
All this led us to concentrate on the player’s abilities and how she can fit into her new team especially when knowing that she actually made an important step in her career by choosing to play in one of the most competitive leagues in Europe and facing big teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.
In this tactical analysis scout report, the focus will be on Hasegawa’s main traits especially in the offensive phase as this will help in understanding how she can fit into West Ham’s attacking and playmaking tactics. The analysis will also include an extra focus on her passing and goalscoring skills without neglecting the positions that she can occupy.
Positions and roles
West Ham have made a very intelligent decision by choosing to sign a player like Hasegawa into their roster for this season. She is a very useful midfield player who can occupy many positions as she is flexible and knows how to adapt according to the situation. Hasegawa is mainly a left midfielder who has usually played in a 4-3-3 formation with Nippon TV Tokyo Verdy Beleza. Yet, she also played as a left-winger with her national team, Japan, at many instances like during the 2019’s World Cup during which she was able to expose her talents and get even more fame by scoring a beautiful goal against the Netherlands after escaping from falling into the trap of the offside position on purpose as you can see below.
Moreover, Hasegawa was also employed in central midfield, in Milan’s 3-5-2 formation as she was also used as a left midfielder mostly. Therefore, Hasegawa will more likely play as a left midfielder at West Ham. Nevertheless, she was employed as an advanced playmaker on numerous occasions with Milan and proved to be very efficient in that role as that helped her in providing more decisive passes and be more dangerous in the final third given her passing abilities and excellent vision.
Hasegawa can excel as an advanced playmaker since she has got all the qualities that allow her to do well in this position. Playmaking, passing, creativity, shooting accuracy, ability to dribble in tight spaces, well-timed penetrations, all these traits make her a perfect fit for the advanced playmaker position. However, this will depend on how Olli Harder, West Ham United’s Head Coach, will line up his team and according to which formation.
Hasegawa’s great tactical awareness and sense of positioning make her stand out and be one of the most impactful players since she is usually aware of everything that happens on the pitch. Her quick and unpredicted decision-making allows her to gain time over her opponents and create the threat so often, either by moving without the ball or by passing. Such efficient decision-making allows her to be excellent in terms of movements as she always makes fruitful penetrations. You can see below for example how she started penetrating in the final third and moved towards the box in order to receive the ball back in a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper knowing that she was the player who initiated this whole action. And the end, she also scored this goal.
Hasegawa was also excellent during the 2020’s Olympics and showed once again how good she can be in terms of playmaking. As you can see in the following example, Hasegawa’s quick and accurate passing at the right timing and behind the opponent’s defensive line can be decisive. She often makes herself available to receive a pass and then she usually prefers to not overcomplicate things by simply controlling the ball, taking a glance at the possible passing options for a second, and then passes the ball, unless she was marked and had to dribble or protect the ball. Such playing style can be useful for any team especially those teams that lack the final touch inside the final third. Hasegawa can be more than excellent in this regard as she can become one of the best passers in FAWSL soon if she keeps playing at the same level.
Apart from passing, Hasegawa can also be useful when moving towards the wings and that’s something that she usually does. She has the ability to dribble past defenders and avoid them while knowing exactly how and when to cross the ball from the players waiting inside the box. Hasegawa created many goal opportunities and made assists after penetrating and crossing from both wings and not only the right one.
Hasegawa knows when to use each type of passing to reach her objective and serve her teammates in the most suitable way, and this is exactly how midfielders should act and think. Having the mastery of all types of passes and executing them according to the needs makes Hasegawa’s decision unpredictable for her opponents and more than precious for her teammates. For instance, Mana Iwabuchi knew how to exploit her teammates’ different types of passes very well by scoring many of those created chances. And in addition to through passes and crosses from the wings, Hasegawa also excelled in long passes behind the defensive line as it is shown below. Such long passes can put strikers in perfect shooting positions and provide them with a one-on-one situation with goalkeepers.
Hasegawa’s great control of the ball allows her to also play games with defenders as she knows exactly when she will pass the ball and how to confuse defenders. She sometimes dribbles past defenders and confuses the last one of them by making a no look pass and running towards a direction while passing the ball to a completely different one. This leaves defenders confused and helps the receiver of the pass in being free from marking.
Hasegawa is a player who uses both feet with great precision and control and she even scores goals with her weaker foot, one of these goals was scored from midfield when she saw the goalkeeper out of her goal. And this also backs up the fact that she is a creative and smart player.
She was also able to score different kinds of goals and most of them were beautiful. Even though she is not a player with great physical strength as she is neither tall nor too muscled, yet she knows how to use her body in the best of ways to dribble well and shoot with precision while knowing how to coordinate her body perfectly. In this example for instance, she preferred to not go for power but instead she chose to lob the ball with a shot “alla Totti” to score a magnificent goal that no goalkeeper could have expected or saved.
And during other occasions, Hasegawa did not think twice when she had to use power when shooting. Taking the right decisions when shooting is definitely a trait of this player since she knows how to coordinate her body in just a few seconds and takes the right decision concerning the type/power and direction of the shot. In this picture, she shoots the ball with great power and precision at the same time while using the appropriate technique when shooting and that’s how she was able to confuse the goalkeeper even though she shot from a long distance.
Having an excellent general vision of the pitch and knowing how to make the right decision at the right time is fundamental at this level as it is not something simple and not all players are capable of doing. But Hasegawa is one of those players who know how to deal with the ball in an impressive manner and do not lose it easily, which makes her a more valuable player who has all the chances to succeed in FAWSL.
In this next example, you will see how she exactly knew how to dribble, when to stop dribbling and when to shoot and towards which angle, all in just a few seconds. Her weaker foot precision also helps her in having no problems at all when dribbling and shooting as she scores so often with both feet, like in this goal after confusing Brazil’s defenders and goalkeeper too.
Yui Hasegawa will certainly be a great addition for West Ham United as she will most probably help the team reach better results than last season especially if she succeeds in having the necessary chemistry with the team’s attacking players. Then, if she will be able to attract the attention of bigger clubs, she would most probably be transferred soon to a team that plays in UEFA Women’s Champions League.