Dango Ouattara: The youngster driving Lorient up the table – scout report
Dango Ouattara only arrived in France in 2020, as a youth product from Majestic FC, a team in his home nation Burkina Faso. The young wide player had limited minutes in the 2021/22 season. Still, after work on the training ground and game experience increasing, he has broken his way into the starting eleven and has been a regular this season.
In this campaign, Ouattara has emerged as one of the biggest talents in Ligue 1. After eight games, he has achieved 8 goal contributions, alongside 2 penalties won, playing a part in over 50% of Lorient’s 17 goals this season, who currently sit third in the league coming into the international break. At just 20 years of age, Ouattara is on course to have a break-out season, and he may well soon be on his way to a competition like the UEFA Europa League either with Lorient, or another club.
This tactical analysis will come in the form of a scout report to show what makes Dango Ouattara stand out in his first season as a regular starter. The analysis will highlight the skills Ouattara possesses that makes him so difficult to stop and the tactics that allow him to do what he is best at.
Dango Ouattara is a 170cm tall, left-footed winger who can play on either wing. As the heat map below shows, he has played a similar amount of minutes on both wings, with a preference to hold the width for his team. In Lorient’s 4-2-3-1, he retains the width for his teams, and on occasion, fills in the half space while the fullbacks overlap. The strong pink colour down the entire right-hand side shows Dango Ouattara’s defensive work rate and desire to help the team out.
Dango Ouattara has stood out this season due to his strong ball-carrying abilities. The 20-year-old is among the most relentless dribblers in the league, with over 6 dribble attempts per game. His ball carrying helps him to drive the team up the pitch by maintaining possession of the ball, evading pressure while the rest of the team moves up the pitch.
This example below, shows how confident Ouattara is, driving into a central space, from which he combines with his teammates and generates a shooting opportunity. The Lorient winger also has deceptively quick feet, allowing him to lure opponents into committing a tackle, before knocking the ball past them into the open space.
While Ouattara has the ball manipulation to escape tight areas, that is not the only tool he has in his locker. The Burkinabe winger also has a great burst of pace, to dribble past his opponents when there is space in behind. He can achieve a quick pace from a standing start, allowing him to slow down the game and other players, before breezing past them with ease.
The image below shows Ouattara being stood still, as he then knocks the ball into the box and gets onto the end of it. Having the option of either beating an opponent with pace or skill helps make him incredibly unpredictable, with the added skill he also has of being able to dribble both inside and out, due to his ability to play with both feet to a high standard.
Dango Ouattara has completed 32 penetrating carries into the box, averaging 4 per game. A dribble into the box, usually ends up in a dangerous situation, with the defender responsible for defending the area being taken out of the game. The ability to do so, 4 times a game, has been a major reason why Lorient have scored so many goals. This map below shows every dribble into the box, with a preference to attack the right side of the box by the by-line, from where he can deliver a dangerous ball across the face of the goal.
Creative link play
Dango Ouattara has also shown a creative eye when in deeper positions. The 20-year-old has great vision and often makes original passes to unlock his teammates and play them through on goal. As shown in the image below, Ouattara has the ability to perfectly weight the pass for the ball to break the defensive line, and also slow down before the keeper reaches. Ouattara also has the flair to use the outside of his boot to slot Bertrand Traore clean through on goal.
Furthermore, Ouattara is quite a complete player, as he attacks the space when it’s available. He also tends to drop deep into the holes to pick up the ball from his teammates whenever possible. At Lorient, Terem Moffi is regularly the outlet for the side, which means that Ouattara has the comfort of dropping deep without being relied upon as the goalscoring outlet for the side.
This image below shows how the 20-year-old has drifted into a pocket of space from a wide position, before turning under pressure and perfectly slotting a pass through to Moffi. In the space of 5 seconds, Ouattara has received the pass from a central defender and played his striker through on goal. The quick decision-making and technical control allow Ouattara to be a massive threat even when in slightly deeper positions.
When Ouattara plays in wide left areas, he can be a devastating crosser as he can whip the ball into the space between the defenders and the goalkeeper. Without an overlap, it can be harder for Ouattara to have the space for him to consistently cut inside, however, he can regularly beat his man on the outside and deliver dangerous crosses into the box. The image below shows how Ouattara plays a well-weighted ball across the face of the goal, although the striker just misses the ball.
Dango Ouattara’s composure and vision from wide areas is a skill which has made him stand out in Ligue 1. He has the confidence to slow the game down, due to his superior ability to evade pressure if it does come. Defenders provide him with extra time, as they can’t get too close without being dribbled past which allows the young winger to pick out a pass.
This image below shows his creative playmaking, as he plays a pass into the path the defender has just run past. While the pass doesn’t seem to be on, his ability to wait on the ball for an extra second allows him to make the pass and create a really good scoring opportunity.
Two footed in front of goal
This season, Ouattara has scored 4 goals in 8 games, with 75% of goals this season scored with his weak foot. He is also a smart attacker, with the ability to recognise where the space is and regularly attack it with intent. The image below shows how he curves his run, recognising the space around the penalty area as the pass to the back post is cut off. After arriving at the penalty box, Ouattara uses his weak foot to place the shot into the bottom corner, out of the keeper’s reach. The ability to score goals with either foot has allowed him to be a dangerous presence, in all areas of the final third.
Furthermore, Ouattara is very good at placing his shots, when he has time to compose himself before shooting. The image below shows him placing a free kick into the top corner while the keeper doesn’t even dive for it. On certain occasions, his shooting hasn’t been top quality, but when he has slowed the game down to his own pace, his quality of shooting increases.
The issue Ouattara has with his final third game is his lack of ball striking ability. He can’t consistently put power on his shots, with most being soft and easy for the keepers to react to. This image below shows how he rushes the shot when under pressure, and instead of placing the shot, he hits it straight at the keeper.
Dango Ouattara is a touch-heavy winger who enjoys being involved in the play rather than being the one on the end of it. His profile perfectly fits the team, with Moffi enjoying the space vacated by Ouattara who wants to find him and assist him.
This season, Ouattara has outperformed his xG thanks to some excellently placed shots with his weak foot. He has also missed two good opportunities, which could’ve ended up as goals if there was more power on the shots. This flaw in his game is something that could prevent him from playing elite clubs, although it is definitely possible to have his profile as long as he is surrounded by runners.
This tactical analysis has displayed just how difficult Ouattara has been to stop. His ball manipulation allows him to dribble and evade pressure with ease while his ability to dribble and progress the ball with either foot makes him unpredictable. The fact that Ouattara is doing this in his second season in Europe is a very promising sign and there is no doubt that this form will see Ouattara become a well-known threat to teams around the country.
On the current trajectory, there is no limit to where Ouattara can end up and if his ball striking improves, Dango Ouattara has the potential to be a complete wide player.