Evander 2022 – Why Midtjylland’s Brazilian midfielder is ready to move to a top-five league? – scout report
After two consecutive runners-up finishes to Copenhagen and Brondby, Midtjylland have had a very shaky start to the current season as they lie in eighth place with just one win in six games this season. Despite the poor start, they would be expecting to pick up soon and climb up the table steadily. This is due to the players they have got and one such player is Evander, their 24-year-old Brazilian midfielder.
Evander had played only two games this season and would be hoping to feature more and contribute to the comeback of Midtjylland in the league. This scout report in the form of a tactical analysis discusses the strengths and weakness of Evander both in the attack as well as in defence and states how he contributes to the tactics and playing style of Midtjylland. Let’s begin the analysis.
Evander is a right-footed central midfielder who usually plays in the central midfield role in Midtjylland’s 4-3-3 system or as a left defensive midfielder in their 4-2-3-1. Occasionally, he has also been deployed in the CAM role due to his creativity and vision which we will discuss in detail in this scout report.
He has also been deployed on the right side of the pitch as well but his angles when playing on the left suit him a lot more than when he does on the right. He is at an average height of 179cm which is not exactly nimble-footed but also he is not very tall like the average deeper defensive midfielder like Fabinho, Rodri, etc.
In Possession of the ball
With the ball
On the ball, Evander has a very silky first touch on the ball and is very comfortable receiving in multiple angles as well. He is also good at showing for the ball by dropping deep and knows when to show for the ball exactly and when not to which helps to find the right passing lanes forward and progress the ball higher up the pitch. On average, he recorded 44.08 passes per 90 in the league last season with an accuracy of 81.6%.
In their 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 system, he usually plays in the left central midfielder or the left defensive midfield position but in both systems, he is the one who is the most advanced and the most progressive out of all the central and defensive midfielders on the pitch.
In the above example, we can see him dropping deep and, while doing that, he scans behind his back to see if a player is following him or not. This also gives him an idea of what his surroundings are like higher up the pitch. Although he scans well, he does not do that in high concentration which is something that he can improve upon and do a lot more of on the pitch.
In terms of passing, Evander is really good at passing from multiple angles and has excellent posture where he finds his target really well with his passes. He is also someone who is very good at playing the passes very casually and with a very relaxed body shape as well. He recorded 14 forward passes in the league last season which is amongst the highest in the division as well.
In the above example, he receives a pass from his teammate and immediately pings a very good ball over the top of the defence for his teammate who is making a run behind the defence. Even when he is making the pass, we can see he is very relaxed and within a matter of a few milliseconds, he was able to spot his teammate’s run and create a chance for him.
He averaged 1.37 shot-assists per 90 in the league last season and also had an average xA of 0.19 per 90 as well, both of which are very good numbers for a deep central midfielder which also shows that, despite his starting position, he is usually given a sense of positional freedom higher up the pitch.
He is also his team’s primary set-piece taker as well, owing to his superior technical ability on the ball when compared to his teammates which are also amongst the league’s best as well. In the following example, we can see him execute a brilliant cross which has a very good bend as shown by the arrow in the image above. Thus, he is able to find his teammate on the far side with a very good executed pass.
In the image below, he makes a pass from the half-space where he is solid at operating with a very relaxed technique as well. He usually receives passes in these regions and looks to combine with his teammates, especially the winger and the full-back on that side.
He is also very good in terms of playing through passes for his teammates behind the defence. He averaged 2 through passes per 90 in the league last season which means he looks to find his teammates with through passes at least twice per game.
In this example below, we can see him playing the through pass for his teammate who is making a run forward and behind the opposition’s defensive line. He is also very good at timing his through passes well and finds the right instance to play the pass behind the line with his weaker foot. He has a very good vision as to when is the right time to play the pass which would then easily beat the offside trap set by the opposition team.
His through passes are also very good in terms of weight and also in terms of direction as well which is very important for the runners making the run too as they should be having a chance to get to the through the ball without any opportunities for the opposition’s keeper to come out of his line and sweep the ball and intercept it.
The above example is another one where he plays a brilliant through ball behind the defence. The most interesting aspect about his pass here was his body orientation when he is looking to play the pass. As we can see in the above image, he is inclined at 45 degrees when he is looking to play the bass but plays it slightly inclined and straighter using his technique of extending his knee.
These kind of passes are not very easy to play as it requires proper use and understanding of one’s own body orientation and also it needs to make contact with the leg at the right spot or else it would result in a very haphazard pass. Due to playing the pass in such a manner, Evander has also managed to confuse the entire defence because his body angle was different to the one that is usually used to execute the pass.
He also has completed 7.73 passes into the final third which means that he is one of his team’s most important players when it comes to progressing the ball to the final third as well. His understanding of the game is also good from deeper areas of the pitch as well which is one of the reasons for his ability to play passes or even make any action on the ball.
In terms of carrying the ball, Evander is pretty decent with it. Although he doesn’t make a lot of progressive carries as he does with the passes, he is pretty solid when he does that because of his very good dribbling ability. He averaged 4.5 dribbles per 90 with a superb accuracy of 60%. Evander is good at beating his marker and, despite not possessing very high running power, he does have very good physical strength which he uses to excellent effect as well.
In the above example, we can see an instance where he looks to shield the ball from the opponent and also makes sure that he is able to retain the ball under pressure. But not just the opponent behind him, he is also in close proximity to another opposition player in front of him. In this scenario, he does really well to keep control of the ball and find a pass to his teammate.
His shielding technique is really good as he is able to find the right body orientation he needs to keep when he has to shield the ball. He is also pretty good at holding off players as well and also using his body at the right time in order to reach for a ball or keep control of the pass. This can be seen in the image below where he is able to shield the ball well from his teammates.
Another example can be seen in the image below where he shields the ball from the opponent who is battling him for the ball. He was able to turn while receiving the pressure from the opponent and also, meanwhile, beat two of the opponent’s players through dribbling as well. This shows his ability to carry the ball despite pressure from the opposition from multiple directions.
In the example below, we can see him gliding past the opponent with a very good change in direction while moving with the ball. He has outstanding agility that aids him in moving with the ball with sudden changes in direction when needed.
All of these in general make him very difficult to deal with when he is looking to carry the ball forward and beat the marker. He is also very adept at winning fouls for his team and sometimes if his team needs to slow down play or reduce the tempo of the game he helps them by winning fouls due to his shielding ability and also his gravity that attracts a lot of defenders to him.
He also has a very good ball-striking ability and can hit it really well from distance. In the image below, we can see him scoring an excellent goal outside the box which even beats the goalkeeper due to the speed with which the ball travelled after he took the shot. He scored 3 goals from outside the penalty area last season and has also taken a lot of shots from these regions.
He is also very good at taking free kicks and is very dangerous in these situations due to the bend he generates when he takes the shot. We can see an example of a free-kick goal he scored in the image below which was well outside the box but the keeper had no chance of saving it due to the speed as well as the curve it generated during its trajectory.
Without the ball
Evander is more of an on-the-ball player with possession. This means that he likes to get more involved with the ball and create an impactful action from it rather than mostly looking to be the one receiving the pass after such action. But this does not mean that he does not make such off-ball runs. He is pretty good at it as well but does not do it with a very high concentration.
In general, he is someone who makes a run into the box when the whole team are moving forward and also when the ball is substantially at a very high position on the pitch. But he is not someone who will consistently look to make runs behind the defence or even drag defenders away from their positions to open passing lanes. This is something, again, which he can work upon as dragging defenders away from their positions is very important for any player and is something that many top teams like Manchester City, Barcelona, and Arsenal emphasize from their midfielders.
Defensively, Evander, despite having a lot of freedom on the pitch, does his defensive duties well when asked to. His defending skills are pretty good and he executes his actions at a decent rate for a midfielder whose main tasks orient around having possession of the ball.
In the above example, we can see him perform a slide tackle to dispossess the opponent. This shows that he does put in the effort to try and win the ball back from the opposition especially when Midtjylland are one of the most dominant sides in the league and are very much focused on pressing and winning the ball as quickly as possible.
Another example of him duelling with the opponent can be seen in the image below where he goes to the flank to challenge and win the ball back from the opposition. His technique is clean when he attempts to win the ball. He averaged almost 6 defensive duels per 90 in the league last season while also winning them at a rate of 57%, which is pretty solid for an attacking central midfielder.
He also has a good ability to read where the ball would go and he is pretty adept at intercepting passes as well. He averaged 4.24 interceptions per 90 in the league last season. We can see an example of him intercepting a pass where he blocks a lateral pass from an opposition player to his teammate.
But one thing that is an issue with him is the lack of effort from him when he looks to track back or when his team is getting back into their defensive shape. At times, he could be lethargic in terms of his running back and defending. This is sometimes due to the instructions given by his team as well as they would like to have him slightly higher due to his ability on the ball might help them when a counterattack takes place. If he could change that and be more active and show good running power he would definitely work under top managers and sides that require very high intense and hard-working technicians.
Overall, Evander is one of the best players and arguably the best midfielder currently playing in the Scandinavian leagues. He has been consistently performing for Midtjylland, who have been dominant in the last few years in the Superliga with Evander’s performances being one of the primary reasons. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he would move to a club playing in the top-five league like La Liga, or Serie A soon.