“A perfect fit”: How France full-back Ève Périsset could help Chelsea realise their Champions League dream – scout report
With the majority of leagues wrapped up for the summer, attention has now turned to the upcoming summer transfer window, with speculation over a number of players’ futures already rife. One club who have completed some business this week is Chelsea Women, with Emma Hayes’ side previously unable to add new players due to the club being up for sale (just as the men’s side were unable to).
However, their first confirmed signing of the summer is France defender Ève Périsset, who has spent the last two seasons with Bordeaux Féminines and who has never played outside of her home country. Capable of playing anywhere in the defensive line or further forward, the 27-year-old will bring valuable Champions League experience, having won the competition with Lyon Féminin back in 2015/2016, which will really benefit Chelsea in their quest to finally get their hands on European women’s football’s top prize.
This tactical analysis will look in closer detail at Périsset’s game, breaking down her defensive and attacking capabilities and identifying what she needs to keep working on in order to fit into Chelsea’s tactics and style of play. The analysis will also reach a judgement on whether she will improve the reigning WSL champions and add what they are looking for.
Given that Ève Périsset is a defender by trade, it seems pertinent to begin the scout report with this area of her game. It has already been mentioned that she can play across the back line and slot in wherever required, but there is more to her game than simply being versatile.
When on the pitch, Périsset generally works well with her teammates and works hard to keep their defensive structure, always looking to make it as difficult as possible for their opponents to break them down. In this case, PSG Féminine are in Bordeaux’s half of the pitch, with France forward Kadidiatou Diani in possession and Canada right-back Ashley Lawrence ahead of her, behind Périsset. The Bordeaux full-back is aware of Lawrence and knows that she is effectively outnumbered here, but she holds her position and doesn’t commit to the tackle in this situation, as that would open up the chance for Diani to move the ball away from her and into Lawrence.
Therefore, by staying in between the two PSG players, Périsset has slowed their attack down and made it harder for them to create a clear goalscoring opportunity. This is something that Bordeaux benefitted from during 2021/2022, especially when their opponents had counter-attacked against them, as it gave them time to get back and organise in the middle, so this is one reason that Périsset was so important for them last season.
The idea that Périsset knows when to hold her position and when to go and win the ball is also shown here, with the France international this time behind the main defensive effort and therefore having more freedom to assess the situation ahead of her. This time, it is Lyon with the ball, but they don’t look to play the ball directly into the open space behind Bordeaux’s defence, with Australia right-back Ellie Carpenter instead combining with striker Eugénie Le Sommer to try and exploit a gap that they have seen.
Whilst this works, Carpenter is unable to get on the end of Le Sommer’s pass due to Périsset intercepting the ball and clearing the danger, something that she did 3.75 times on average per game last season, and this shows again how she is defensively strong and key in breaking up opposing play in her own third, again making her team hard to beat.
When the ball is further out, Périsset is capable of coming out to close it down, with Montpellier Féminines striker Lena Petermann in possession here but unable to move forwards due to the speed of Périsset’s pressure. This shows the raw desire that the France defender has when out of possession, and the fact that she won 69.8% of her defensive duels last season indicates that this is another of her strengths. Therefore, Chelsea can expect a defender who is positionally aware and able to add a strong presence at the back, but also someone who is capable of keeping the ball as far away from their goal as possible, although in a back three this may not be needed as often.
Today, defenders have to be good attackers too, with the principles of modern football demanding that each player contributes when the team is both in and out of possession, and women’s football is no different. Therefore, the next section of the analysis will examine how Ève Périsset helps Bordeaux to build from the back and pick out what she contributes to their offensive play.
We have mentioned already that Périsset can play in advanced positions, such as a winger, and she was given a wide attacking role against Dijon Féminine, due to the fact that Dijon tend to sit back more and allow their opponents to control possession. As a result, there was no need for Périsset’s awareness to be used in a defensive role. The advantage of this is that she can see spaces between opponents and look to create opportunities in the middle, receiving the ball and keeping attacks alive, and it has often been the case that she has been involved in building attacks through quick passes that help to keep the ball alive.
Here, Bordeaux are looking to move the ball across the pitch and into space, and Périsset has made a run forward before her central teammate has even begun to turn and look for a passing option. That is the key point here, with Périsset’s awareness giving her a constant focus on the second phase, knowing where the options are and always looking to keep her team moving forwards, and the fact that 70.7% of her passes into the final third have found their intended target shows how, when given this advanced role, she has proven to be a key part of their transitional play.
Her ability to get up the field also allows her to link up with teammates and play through opponents in tight spaces, with the triangular structure here enabling Bordeaux to pass between the Dijon players and into the space behind, and it was always going to be the case against Dijon that Bordeaux would need to take especially good care of the ball in the attacking third, otherwise they would not be able to exploit the open spaces behind and create goalscoring opportunities in the middle.
However, what we need to focus on here is Périsset’s position, as her ability to get up the pitch has enabled her teammates to move into the half-spaces, and this is something that we saw a lot of from Chelsea last season as they looked to link their wing-backs, central midfielders and wide forwards together. Therefore, it is vital that any new signing likely to play as a wing-back be able to work with teammates and pass through tight spaces like this, as Périsset does here.
It is also highly likely that Périsset will play more on the left than the right at Chelsea, with the departure of Sweden international Jonna Andersson meaning that Emma Hayes needs a defensively-minded left wing-back to challenge the more attacking option of Norway forward Guro Reiten. She could play on the right, but England duo Jess Carter and Niamh Charles are already the main options on that side of the pitch, with former Liverpool Women player Charles more often than not in the role whilst Carter forms one of the back three.
It is not only when in advanced positions that Périsset aids her team’s attacks, as good ball distribution is another of her key qualities, and her 84.7% passing accuracy demonstrates how she generally finds the right option when moving the ball around the pitch. As a result, she is often positioned on the edge of the box at set-pieces, waiting until her teammates win the ball and then turning and launching a counterattack, and this was another noticeable aspect of Bordeaux’s play last season.
Chelsea like to have ball-playing defenders in their team, with Netherlands centre-back Aniek Nouwen and England defender Millie Bright both capable of moving the ball out of their third either on the ground or aerially, so this is potentially one reason for Périsset being seen as a perfect fit for them this summer.
Areas to work on
However, there are a few areas of her game that need to be tidied up, because her individual errors have at times hindered Bordeaux in defensive and attacking scenarios.
We have already mentioned how Ève Périsset likes to close the ball down and win it back as early as possible for her team, as well as how her ball distribution has often been key to her side beginning attacks from their own third. However, whilst this is all true, she does also have a tendency to give possession up a little too easily in dangerous areas, allowing her opponents to create goalscoring opportunities that they perhaps weren’t expecting to have.
Here, she has claimed possession well, but then doesn’t look around her and makes a pass towards her goal area. However, the pass is picked up well by PSG midfielder Léa Khelifi, who is then in a position to either pass into a teammate or shoot at goal herself. On another occasion, Périsset won the ball, dribbled it up the pitch and then passed back towards her original position, where it was reclaimed by an opponent. Therefore, she needs to have more composure when under pressure, because, whilst these mistakes were not capitalised on as much in the Division 1 Féminine, they will be in a more unforgiving league like the WSL.
When in an attacking role in the final third, Périsset has tended to be the last player on the far side of the pitch, meaning that she has been responsible for gathering any overhit crosses and then putting the ball back into the mix before their opponents have had a chance to reset inside the box. However, she is not the best player at delivering balls from wide areas, with only 39% of her attempts finding their target last season, and this effort rolls harmlessly towards the Dijon goalkeeper and allows the away side to clear their lines.
Given that Chelsea rely on their wing-backs to deliver balls into the box, whilst their wide forwards work more closely with the central striker, this will maybe affect whether she plays in a wing-back role or as one of the back three in the early games. However, it should be mentioned that Périsset not yet being the finished article is actually a positive, as Emma Hayes likes to sign players that she can help to grow as footballers, so this is why her Chelsea move has not been put off by the issues raised in this section of the analysis.
In conclusion, this tactical analysis has looked at France full-back Ève Périsset, breaking down how she helps her team in defensive and attacking situations, and it is clear that she has been an important player for Bordeaux and helped to make them both hard to beat and capable of building from the back, whilst her three goals and six assists indicate that, on occasion, she does provide a threat in the final third.
In reaching a judgement on whether she will prove to be a good signing for Chelsea, there are risks on the field with her occasional lapses in concentration and need to improve her crossing accuracy. However, those are outweighed by the European experience that she will bring to the club, and that is something that they would really benefit from, given that it is the one trophy that Emma Hayes has never lifted and has a great desire to win during her Chelsea career. Therefore, the France international will be a strong signing for them and likely just one of a few arrivals during the next few months in order to help the team achieve that aim.