Anders Dreyer: Why Anderlecht have acquired the services of the 24-year-old Danish winger – scout report
In a transfer that looks to impact Anderlecht immediately, the 34-time Belgian champions have signed 24-year-old Danish winger Anders Dreyer from Danish side FC Midtjylland. Dreyer joins the club after having another good season for the Danish side, with the winger contributing 10 goals and 2 assists in 22 matches in all competitions so far this season.
He is tasked with helping to invigorate a lacklustre Anderlecht attack, with the capital club only having scored 28 goals this season, and sitting in an unfamiliar 12th place in the table. He also is now one of the more experienced players in the squad, with a decent amount of the Anderlecht first-team squad being relatively young and inexperienced.
This tactical analysis and scout report will take a look at some of the strengths that Anders Dreyer possesses in his game, and analyse whether he could be the man that helps to bring Anderlecht out of the slump that they currently find themselves in.
As the heat map above shows, Dreyer normally operates on the right-hand side of the attack, playing as a right winger in Midtjylland’s preferred 4-3-3 formation. He also tends to drift centrally at times, most notably when the ball is progressed into the final third of the pitch. The 24-year-old also is a wide player that looks to get heavily involved in proceedings inside the penalty box, which is also illustrated by the 10 goals that he has scored in all competitions for the Danish side this season. All but three of Dreyer’s goals this season have occurred inside the penalty box, with the majority of his shots occurring from close range as well.
He also will track back to help defensively at times, but he does not have the highest defensive work rate that some other wingers possess. Dreyer is also not afraid to dribble at opposition defenders, with him being successful often when it comes to taking on opposition defenders. As this scout report progresses, it will look more closely at some of the young Danish winger’s strengths, as well as how he fits into new manager Brian Riemer’s tactics at Anderlecht.
Chance creation in and around the penalty box
The first strength that this scout report will look at is Anders Dreyer’s chance creation ability in and around the penalty box. More specifically, this section will highlight the Danish wingers shot selection as well as vision in the final third.
The data viz above shows the xG map for Dreyer, as well as the areas of the pitch where his shots have occurred this season. The first big thing that stands out is that the winger is highly overperforming his xG, which could be a slight concern from an Anderlecht perspective, especially if he is not able to consistently perform at the level he is at this season.
The shot selection of Dreyer however, is pretty good, with the Dane taking most of his shots from inside the penalty box, resulting in more high-quality chances as a result. However, even though his shot selection is good, he only has 0.11 xG per shot, meaning his average shot has only an 11% chance of being scored. This analysis will now take a closer look at the chance creation abilities of Dreyer, with a large focus on his shot selection.
The image above shows an example of the types of shot selection, as well as recognition of space in the final third, that Anders Dreyer possesses in attacking moments. In the phase of play above, Dreyer recognised the space on the edge of the penalty box and moved into it, allowing him to become a second ball option if there was a scuffed clearance or a blocked shot fell out to him.
In this specific attacking moment, the ball finds its way to Dreyer by the teammate in front of him, who flicks the ball onto him after it is crossed from the near touchline. Since the winger had already moved inside and found himself in plenty of space, he was able to get a shot off before the closest opposition defender was able to close him down. The ensuing shot is struck perfectly first-time by Dreyer, with the ball going through bodies and past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
The image above shows Dreyer operating in a central position and being able to get a quality shot off under pressure from the opposition defenders. In the phase of play above, Midtjylland are engaged in a quick counterattacking sequence of play, with Dreyer having to occupy the central striker position. The ball was played centrally to Dreyer from the wide player, with Dreyer taking a relatively poor touch which allowed the Sturm Graz defenders the chance to close him down and block the shot.
However, the Danish attacker was able to stay calm under pressure, staying composed enough to get his shot off before any of the defenders were able to close him down. Though the ensuing shot by Dreyer was not the greatest, with him shooting it into the ground, it was still enough to get the goalkeeper off balance, resulting in a goal for the Danish side. What this example more clearly shows is the calmness and composure that Dreyer is able to display in these high-pressure attacking situations, something that Anderlecht has been lacking for most of this current season.
Passing and vision on the ball
This next section will take a look at the level of distribution, as well as the vision on the ball that Anders Dreyer possesses. On average, the Danish winger has attempted 27.48 passes per 90 minutes, with a success rate of 77%.
The data viz above shows Dreyer’s pass map from this season in both the Europa League and the Danish Superliga. As we can see, similar to the heat map, most of the winger’s successful passes have occurred on the right-hand side of the pitch, but he is not limited to that side. He will also drift centrally into spaces and get on the ball, making his impact felt on the ball in all areas of the pitch. The following examples are able to show in more detail the impact that Dreyer has when given space on the ball to pick out teammates.
The image above shows an example of the vision and range of passing that Anders Dreyer possesses. In the phase of play above, the 24-year-old is in possession near midfield, after dropping into this space to help his side with build-up play. Dreyer is able to scan the field before receiving possession, which allows him the ability to recognise his options before gathering possession.
Dreyer was able to spot the far-side wide player in plenty of space, and even with him being closed down by the opposition player, was able to spray a perfectly weighted cross-field pass into the path of the attacker. In the image, the player is not in view, but the pass was received and eventually led to a goal for Midtjylland, one that would likely have not occurred if not for the vision and range of passing of Anders Dreyer.
The image above displays another example of the vision and passing range that Dreyer displays. In the phase of play above, Dreyer has just received possession after driving into the central midfield area. Before receiving possession, the Danish attacker scanned the field and was able to spot the Midtjylland player out wide unmarked. This allowed Dreyer to already know who he was going to play the ball to, so after receiving possession, even after being closed down by the opposition defender, Dreyer was able to play a no-look pass into the attacker’s path.
This pass caught the opposition defence off guard, with all the defenders looking towards, and anticipating, the pass to go to the opposite side. As a result of Dreyer scanning his passing options before receiving possession, he was able to play the most dangerous option, resulting in Midtjylland being able to progress the ball into the opposition’s penalty box.
As this section has shown, the ball progression ability of Anders Dreyer will also be a welcome addition to this Anderlecht squad. This will become more important now that Anderlecht’s young attacking midfielder Anouar Ait El Hadj has left the club to join league leaders Genk.
1v1 dribbling and close control
This last section will take a bit of a look into the dribbling abilities of Anders Dreyer. Though he is not the most high-octane dribbling wide player, Dreyer still will take opponents on in advanced positions. So far this season in all competitions, the 24-year-old is attempting, on average, 2.42 dribbles per 90 minutes, with a success rate of 47.2%.
The data viz above shows Anders Dreyer’s ball progression map this season, in both the Danish Superliga and the Europa League. As we can see by the graphic, the majority of his successful and unsuccessful take-ons have occurred in the final third. While he may not be a wide player that dribbles often, like Manchester City‘s Riyad Mahrez, or Liverpool‘s Luis Diaz, he still will dribble when it is required.
The image above shows a good example of the dribbling ability that Anders Dreyer possesses when in his best form. In the phase of play above, the ball has found its way to Dreyer in this counterattacking situation for FC Midtjylland. After receiving possession, the Danish attacker finds himself in a 1v1 situation against one of the last opposition defenders. Dreyer is able to get the defender rooted in place, with the winger sending the ball to the left of the defender, before using a burst of acceleration to get past him on his right. Dreyer was then able to run back onto the ball, which allowed him to sprint away into the opposition’s half.
The image above shows another example of the Dane’s dribbling ability, as well as also demonstrating his close control. In the phase of play above, after receiving possession just on the edge of the opposition’s penalty box, Dreyer was able to keep the ball close to him, turning into space. This allowed him to beat two defenders with ease, which allowed him to drive into the space and get a subsequent shot off on goal.
As this section has shown, the dribbling ability of Dreyer is also another feather in the young winger’s cap, allowing him to attack opposing defences with ease at times and always keep them on their toes.
As this tactical analysis and scout report has shown, Anders Dreyer has all the capabilities to succeed in this Anderlecht squad. With the likely departure of Sebastiano Espositio back to Inter Milan and the confirmed departure of El Hadj to Genk, Dreyer will be looked at to make an instant impact. While it may take some time for him to get fully settled, the 24-year old Danish winger has all the ability to become a key player for Brian Riemer’s Anderlecht.