Antonio Colak 2019/20 – scout report
After analysing HNK Rijeka in the last part, in this part, we will do a detailed scout report about their best goal scorer. This will be a tactical analysis of Antonio Colak with some data analysis comparing him to other strikers in HNL. It is clear that Rijeka tactics gets the best out of him. He is mobile forward who can play as target man cause of his strength and height.
Čolak made his first football steps in Germany, but plays his best football since he came to Croatia in Rijeka from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for 850k euros. This scout report will show us what Čolak he brings to a football pitch. At the end, we will highlight his weaknesses and in what league he could continue his progress if he is sold this summer. If we tell you that his idol is Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa you would probably think he is a mad man and he has some similarities with his idol. Čolak is popularly called in Croatian newspapers Diego Costa from Rujevica(Rijeka stadium).
Antonio Čolak is 26-year-old Croatian centre-forward. His Transfermarkt value is 2.4 million euros. Čolak is 187 cm tall which offers him an advantage in the aerial duels, but given his height, he is not slow cause he regularly runs over defenders. Operates as a central attacker, but likes to drift wide to get the ball in half-spaces. Good at receiving a ball with back towards the goal and usually looks for the closest teammate in those situations.
Heatmap shows his work rate which is impressive for centre-forward. Leaning towards the right side more than the left side. In the graph below we will compare Čolak to other forwards from HNL by his goal contribution and expected goal contribution.
The graph shows that Čolak slightly overperforms his expected contribution. 0.76 goal contribution per 90 compared to 0.73 expected goal contribution per 90 is impressive to see. Petković and Eduok are the only ones who have a higher goal contribution per 90 than Čolak. League-leading goalscorer Marić is the only forward who has higher expected goal contribution with 0.76 per 90.
Čolak’s strengths allow him to adapt to many roles in centre-forward position which gives his coach more possibilities how to use him. In the next sections, we will analyze those strengths.
Contributing in the build-up
Čolak contribution in the build-up is a vital part of Rožman tactics. In this section, we will analyze some situations how Čolak helps his team when attacking. His strength and constitution give him an advantage over most of the players in the league. One trait really helps him get an advantage when receiving the ball with the back towards the goal and that is his movement. He tricks his marker with false movement and creates himself enough space to receive and control the ball.
With his movement, he signals his teammates that he offers the option and where he wants to receive the ball. In these situations, he rarely tries to turn around with the ball (except around penalty box) but rather plays a quick pass to supporting central midfielder or try to play lateral pass. What is impressive is that Čolak after passing the ball he always proceeds with his movement, trying to find gaps between lines or open space for his teammates. Situation below shows how he drops deeper to receive the ball and after receiving the ball he plays it on the flank and continues his movement up the field off the ball.
Another situation which occurs is that when Rijeka is faced with high pressing they look to find Čolak with chipped long balls in the middle. He receives them on his chest or heads them in the open areas behind him. Once again his false movements are on point cause it enables him to get quicker to destination position just enough to have an advantage over the opponent.
Why Čolak is efficient is because he adapts to situations on the field. It is hard to mark him because if he feels trapped in the middle he will drift wide and vice versa. He can go 1-on-1 with a defender, but he won’t force it if he has better options. Defenders have the easiest job when the attacker is one dimensional, but Čolak has few dimensions which he uses based on situations he finds himself on the field. The situation below will show us how Čolak lures his marker from his position and plays a quick back pass to his teammate. After the pass, he turns around and attacks open space he created for himself luring defender out of his position.
He often runs in the half-spaces to receive the ball, especially in the transition phases, where he has more time on the ball when receiving it. Those are the situations where he attempts dribbling and crossing. In that type of situations, he acts as a winger and he crosses to supporting midfielders and second striker in the penalty box. In the situation below we can see that Čolak drifted wide to receive the ball. By doing that he draws the near central defender on him which creats space in the penalty box for his teammates. In the aftermath of this situation, Čolak dribbled past his marker and made cutback pass to his teammate on the edge of 6-yard-box.
Going through his metrics and looking at his heatmap we can determine that he mostly drifts on the right side. Graph below shows his crossing from the right side of the field.
Čolak attempts 1.67 crosses per 90 with 1.41 crosses coming from the right side of the field. Only forwards who cross more per 90 from the right side are Kastrati and Hamad who both mostly play as wingers. It is his trait to open more on the right and try to facilitate for his teammates.
He is cagey in the penalty area catching his markers on the wrong foot in order to get in the positions to shoot. When the ball is on the flank Čolak often knows how to trick defender and lose them in order to create space to jump on cross undisturbed. Situation below shows how Čolak arrives in the penalty area making movement like he wants the ball to his feet, after recognising situation that he drew central defender on him, he changes direction towards the penalty spot. We can see how he created enough space to separate himself from a defender which allowed him to head the ball in the bottom right corner.
Next graph will give us insight into how often forwards shoot compared to how many touches they have in the box. Čolak is averaging a league-high 3.62 shots per 90. He is second-best in touches in the box with 5.08 per 90, only behind Jairo who is averaging 5.82 touches in the box per 90. After looking at a graph it is clear that Čolak gets a lot of touches in the box and doesn’t hesitate to shoot.
The shot map below will show us positions from where Čolak shoots more often and quality of those positions according to xG values. Most of his shots are coming from the penalty area. A great sign of his shot map is that he shoots a lot from central areas where he has the best angle and more chance to score goals. He slightly prefers shooting from the right side than from the left side of the field.
Considering everything in this section we can conclude that he can really adapt to various situations on the field. Combination of strength and mobility connected with his good feel for the game helps him get an advantage over defenders. He is dangerous, gets a lot of touches in the box and shoots often.
After scouting Antonio Čolak there aren’t clear weaknesses in his game, the only question is can he translate his performances to a better league. Based on his characteristics he has the ability to adapt in Spanish La Liga. In Spain, forwards with a similar profile are most common and most suitable for the league. Čolak has upcoming fixtures in the next weeks where he can raise demand for him.
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