Gastón Ramírez 2019/20 – scout report
Sampdoria have been wandering in the bottom half of the table in Serie A due to their defensive struggles and failing to find a balance between the lines. Coming after a short spell at Roma, Claudio Ranieri is yet to build a strategy to fit his players’ strengths, whilst they are underperforming and make his task even harder.
Surprisingly, their best performer so far is not even amongst their regular starting XI. Despite not getting the deserved praise by the coach, Gastón Ramírez takes advantage of his limited time on the pitch and supports his team’s attacking actions.
He has been used on a few different positions, adjusting to all formations that Sampdoria employ quite successfully. Pulling out some solid performances against the top half teams like Juventus, Napoli and Milan, proved that Ranieri might think about making Ramírez a regular starter.
Ramírez has been a starter in 12 (played in 15) games this season, being allocated to quite a few different areas and having different roles. He has contributed as an attacking midfielder behind the forward duo in a 4-3-1-2 formation. His experience in the 4-4-2 scheme was different – being placed either as a forward or a right-winger. Despite his positioning, he always has similar responsibilities. He plays a key part in the team’s build-up strategies
He most frequently occupies the right-hand side and helps in Sampdoria’s build-up ventures providing additional passing option and creating short pass combinations with his teammates. He aims to help in retaining possession and slowly advancing the ball.
The team’s compact structure suggests the attacking players to drop deeper towards the central line and help to distribute the ball to the final third. No matter if the Uruguayan plays as part of the attacking duo or behind it, he always supports the midfield actions by moving around the half-spaces. Out there he provides additional threat but also supports his teammates by dragging players out of position.
That’s the aim of him taking part in the attacking triangles on the right, supported by the full-back and any of the central midfielders, freeing up some space whilst delivering the ball further.
His role of attacking midfielder behind the strikers is not limited only to that. He positions in the central areas too in order to be able to receive the ball even when the team builds up through the left flank. They would pass the midfield and then cross the ball so they can finish the attack through the middle, where actually most of the team’s shots come from.
Final third impact
Having in mind the lack of enough playing time, Ramírez is still among the most efficient players when in attack. He produces 2,48 shots on average and contributes with 1,91 shot assists per game. He has scored five of the team’s 28 goals this season placing him third on the goal scorers list with only Quagliarella and Gabbiadini having better results. He contributes with long shots which adds to the team’s strengths as 46% of their opportunities come from outside the box.
Depending on his position he can support the final third actions with crossing too, but one of his best assets is his dribbling skills. Looking into the team’s average dribbling map in the final third below Ramírez can be noticed among the most active players. He dribbles 5,73 times on average and more of half of the times it is successfully. This helps the team in retaining the ball in the opposition half and delivering it to key areas.
The Uruguayan also helps with key passes and through balls, although he is yet to make an assist this season. Moving around the half-spaces gives him the chance to exploit spaces and deliver the ball to the box creating goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates. He averages four passes to the box per game in efforts to improve the team’s attacking performance.
Ramírez is also Sampdoria’s main set-piece taker, taking the responsibility for 14 corners and eight free-kicks so far. His attempts are often well measured but go to waste due to the lack of good finishing of his teammates.
Ramírez puts defensive efforts too, although he lacks the patience when put under pressure and often commits fouls. He often lacks good timing in his defensive 1vs1 situations and is unable to prevent the opposition from advancing the ball. Despite his efforts and overall good positioning during defensive transitions, his lost duels in key areas often result in the opposition’s actions.
His special awareness is strong, which could be seen when he occasionally contributes by covering depth. Being able to allocate the opened gaps and immediately position out there covering his teammates is important because, despite his rather poor actions in defensive duels, he still helps for blocking passing lanes.
He does recover the ball though, but most frequently by applying press in the opposition defensive third immediately after losing possession and also adds on his defensive contribution with his aerial performance.
Despite the lack of playing time Ramírez proves that he could be relied on in the future. Sampdoria are one point clear from the relegation zone and they need to put some efforts into bringing balance between the lines as well as increasing their attacking force. The Uruguayan can definitely help out for smoother transitions, but also provide more threat in and around the box, which should increase their effectiveness upfront. Ranieri might need to use analysis and build his strategy around one formation and stick to a regular starting XI (including Ramírez) in order to save the team from relegation.