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Godson Kyeremeh at Annecy 2021/22: National 1 promotion contenders’ 21-year-old MVP – scout report

This tactical analysis piece will be part two of a series exploring some of the most exciting players in France’s third tier, Championnat National 1. The first part of this series, which you can read here at Total Football Analysis — tactical analysis — focused on 19-year-old Florent Da Silva, who’s currently on loan at third-tier side Villefranche from Ligue 1 giants Lyon. The teenage creator has been described as one of Lyon’s “biggest talents” in the past and has been one of National 1’s finest footballers since making his loan switch to Villefranche in January.

This week’s scout report looks at another exciting young player who’s on loan in France’s third tier, though this player’s parent club is a lower standard than that of Da Silva, as this scout report focuses on 21-year-old winger Godson Kyeremeh (175cm/5’9, 60kg/132lbs), who’s spent the entire 2021/22 season on loan at third-tier promotion contenders Annecy from Ligue 2 Caen — a club that has produced the likes of Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté, Atlético Madrid’s Thomas Lemar and Borussia Dortmund’s Raphaël Guerreiro in the past.

I’ve been watching Kyeremeh closely throughout the season and can safely say he’s played a very important role in putting Annecy in their favourable second place position with just five games left to play in the 2021/22 campaign. The young Frenchman, who’s also eligible to play for the Democratic Republic of the Congo according to Wyscout, has primarily played as a right-winger in Annecy’s 4-4-2 system this term, though he’s also spent some time on the left. However, regardless of whether he’s placed on the right or left, the attacker has exclusively been used as a wide attacker for Annecy.

Kyeremeh has directly contributed to a lot of Annecy’s attacking output this season. The 21-year-old has provided eight assists for his side (the most of any Annecy player and second-most of any National 1 winger this term) from an xA of 5.39 (also the second-most of any National 1 winger in 2021/22), while he’s also scored eight goals (the second-most of any Annecy player) from an xG of 4.48 (the fifth-most of any National 1 winger this season, per Wyscout). So, having directly contributed to a third of his team’s 48 league goals this term, it’s clear that Kyeremeh’s loan spell with the Haute-Savoie-based club has been fruitful, providing the 21-year-old with valuable experience in acting as a key player for the promotion contenders.

This scout report provides an in-depth analysis of Kyeremeh’s role within Laurent Guyot’s strategy and tactics. I hope that this piece will paint a clear picture of Kyeremeh through analysis of what I’ve identified as some of the key strengths, weaknesses and unique traits within his game, while I hope this tactical analysis clarifies how and why the attacker has been such a success during his loan spell with the National 1 side this season.

Chance creation

The bulk of this tactical analysis will focus on Kyeremeh’s role as a creator for Annecy and we’ll explore this aspect of his game in our first section of analysis. In analysing Kyeremeh’s role in chance creation for Annecy, I’ll specifically look at his dribbling, crossing and off the ball movement.

Firstly, Kyeremeh isn’t someone you should expect to create via line-breaking passes, nor is he someone you’ll often find operating in the half-space, aiming to play in front of the opposition’s backline to create. Rather, the Annecy loanee is a wide attacker in the true sense of the term, typically preferring to remain outside the width of the 18-yard box. If you were to split the wing channel (from the sideline to the edge of the 18-yard box) in two, you’ll often find Kyeremeh receiving the ball out in the wider half before aiming to create from the other half, just on the edge of the box.

Kyeremeh doesn’t get heavily involved in his team’s chance creation as a passer, preferring to remain an option as a runner for his teammates. You’ll often find the 21-year-old aiming to exploit space in behind the opposition’s backline via a run or getting tight to the touchline where he can receive a pass from a teammate and pull an opposition full-back out wide, forcing this defender into a 1v1. From there, Kyeremeh likes to run at the defender, using his technical dribbling quality, as well as physical agility and pace to attack the penalty area.

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Figure 1

Figures 1-2 show an example of Kyeremeh making a run to exploit space behind the opposition’s backline in the chance creation phase. Just before this image, we saw the attacker rotate his body to go from facing the passer to facing the space behind the defensive line. Then, he took a couple of steps out into a slightly wider position, creating some extra separation from the nearest opposition defender to try and make himself a more attractive passing option for the passer in midfield, who just carried the ball past the opposition’s midfield line and into the position we see him passing from in figure 1.

The winger timed his run to match the point at which it appeared as though the passer was ready to release and this is where we pick up the play in figure 1, with Kyeremeh in the process of running in behind and the passer just making contact with the ball.

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Figure 2

As we move on into figure 2, we see that the passer successfully found Kyeremeh with his through ball, sending the winger off into his favourite crossing position just on the edge of the opposition’s box. Kyeremeh’s ability to time his run and use his pace to beat the opposition backline were key in helping him to progress into an optimal crossing position here. As for the cross itself, we see that Kyeremeh opted to hit a fairly low and hard ball across the face of goal to create a good opportunity for a teammate to just get a touch on the pacey ball and knock it into the net. This is the most common type of cross to see the 21-year-old hit and the majority of his National 1 assists in 2021/22 have come via this method.

Don’t expect to see Kyeremeh floating the ball into the box from deep very often; we do see the Annecy man performing higher crosses from wider/deeper positions on occasion but he clearly prefers to cross from more advanced/narrower positions, such as the one we see him occupying in figure 2, and we’ve seen him have far more success with these types of crosses this term as well so I believe this makes perfect sense.

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Figure 3

We touched on Kyeremeh’s pace as being an important factor in his progression into an optimal crossing position while discussing the previous passage of play and it’d certainly be fair to say that pace is a very impressive aspect of the 21-year-old’s game. Kyeremeh has shown himself to be rapid when given the chance to pick up speed this season. He has long legs that help him to cover ground quickly and Annecy have loved using this aspect of the attacker’s game by playing him in behind via through balls when possible. We see a good example of just how quick Kyeremeh is in figures 3-4.

Firstly, in figure 3 we see Kyeremeh beginning his run and aiming to get onto the end of a teammate’s through ball which is looking to exploit some space behind the opposition’s backline. However, at this particular moment, one may not exactly rate Kyeremeh’s chances of getting onto the end of the through pass very highly due to his deeper starting position than the full-back competing for the through pass with him.

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Figure 4

As we progress into figure 4, though, we can see that Kyeremeh’s rapid pace propelled him ahead of the competing defender and allowed him to get onto the end of the passer’s through ball. After taking a heavy touch into the space ahead of him, we see Kyeremeh progress into the position in which we see him in the image above, lining up another low driven ball across the face of goal into the path of a runner in the penalty box. Again, we see how Kyeremeh’s pace, as well as his teammate’s knowledge of this pace and his run, helped him to progress into his favourite crossing position, from where he was able to set up an excellent goalscoring opportunity for Annecy.

The fact that Kyeremeh was able to get onto the end of this through ball despite giving up a few yards via his starting position highlights how quick the winger is, and this is undoubtedly a notable aspect of the young Frenchman’s game.

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Figure 5

Kyeremeh is a very agile dribbler and loves to back his agility to get past opposition defenders, whether in a 1v1 or if taking on two defenders at once, with the next couple of passages of play highlighting both of these situations. Firstly, we see that Kyeremeh has set up a 1v1 in figure 5 after carrying the ball down the wing and towards the byline. On reaching this advanced position, we see the 21-year-old lift his stronger right foot back as if he may be lining up a cross, before then using his right foot to pull the ball back across his body. This move aims to create greater separation between him and the defender before making his next move, which could be a burst towards the penalty area or, indeed, a cross.

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Figure 6

On this occasion, as we progress into figure 6, after pulling the ball across his body and gaining an extra yard on the defender trying to keep up with him, Kyeremeh opted to perform the same move again, this time using his weaker-but-still-strong left foot to pull the ball back across his body and towards the byline. Again, this gained the attacker some ground on the defender following him, which highlights his dribbling quality and impressive agility to turn on a dime like we’re seeing here.

After this, the 21-year-old chased the ball towards the byline and this time did opt to send a cross towards the box. The cross, however, was still deflected and ended up going out of play for a corner kick.

This move with pulling the ball across his body and making a notably sharp turn is a notable aspect of Kyeremeh’s game, as the attacker likes to pull off this particular manoeuvre quite often. He can do so successfully thanks to his technical control of the ball, physical agility and pace.

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Figure 7

We see another example of Kyeremeh’s sharp turning in figures 7-8. This time, the attacker can be seen running at an isolated full-back in a 1v1 from a deeper position than we saw him in the previous example. However, again we see him pulling off this sharp turn by knocking the ball across his body with his left foot towards the sideline. As is evident from the defender’s body position, this caught the full-back somewhat off-guard and forced him to turn at an awkward angle.

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Figure 8

A few seconds later, however, as we move into figure 8, we see that Kyeremeh pulled off the move once more, again opting for a double turn as we saw in figures 5-6. This time, we see the winger exiting towards the centre, aiming to exploit the space he created between the full-back — by pulling him wider at an awkward angle just seconds earlier — and the near centre-back. This was a very good idea and the winger went about it in a creative way that could’ve been really successful. However, one of Kyeremeh’s weaknesses is his strength. This can be harmful when dribbling, as the winger isn’t very strong and can be knocked off balance/off his stride without too much difficulty if defenders get close enough to shoulder him, which was the case as he tried to make his way through the two opposition defenders here.

Kyeremeh’s strength can also be a notable weakness when receiving passes, as he’s not always very effective with his back to goal or when backing into defenders, which can see him get outmuscled. In this regard, Kyeremeh isn’t very good in terms of hold-up play and is far more useful when facing the opposition’s goal, whether that’s through a run targeting space behind the opposition’s defence or when dribbling at defenders.

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Figure 9

Figure 9 shows Kyeremeh receiving a pass having just pulled away from the full-back out to the sideline — which is where, as we’ve already mentioned — he often likes to receive passes to pull a defender out to him, which can either isolate that full-back in a 1v1 in which the Annecy attacker will favour himself or create a gap between the full-back and near centre-back for a teammate, or indeed Kyeremeh himself as we saw in the previous passage of play, to target.

In situations like this, it’s common to see Kyeremeh aim to draw the full-back in close while taking some lighter touches before exploding into space around or behind that player when he gets close enough.

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Figure 10

That happened in this particular example as we progress into figure 10. Once the full-back committed fully to charging down Kyeremeh, the winger burst inside with the ball, taking a heavy touch which targeted the space on the inside of the full-back. Through his ball control, intelligent targeting of space and quickness, the winger was able to fly past the full-back and sprint towards the box, where he ended up getting into his favoured crossing position, with a teammate helping him by occupying the near centre-back, preventing them from covering the full-back the young Frenchman had just beat.

This passage of play provides a simple example of how Kyeremeh likes to receive out wide, close to the sideline, before bursting inside to charge into the narrower space just on the edge of the penalty box. The aforementioned technical, mental and physical traits he possesses help him to perform this role in his team’s system to a high standard and this role within Annecy’s tactics has helped to get the best out of the 21-year-old as a creator in National 1 this term.

Shooting

The next aspect of the attacker’s game that I’m going to focus on in this scout report is his shooting. As mentioned previously, Kyeremeh has scored eight goals and generated 4.48 xG this season for Annecy. He’s done that from an average of 1.72 shots per 90 and a decent 36.36% shot accuracy rate. This has led to Kyeremeh generating a 15.909% conversion rate which, again, when compared with the other wingers from National 1 in 2021/22, is solid.

The 21-year-old is comfortable with shooting off either foot and has scored goals with both feet this season. More than his technical shooting ability, I’d class Kyeremeh’s off the ball movement as a significant element of his game which has helped him in the goalscoring department. Kyeremeh is good at creating separation from defenders via his movement and attacking space to make himself an attractive option for teammates.

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Figure 11

We see an example of Kyeremeh’s off the ball movement and how he uses this aspect of his game to help his goalscoring capability in figure 11. Just before this image, the ball carrier entered the box and passed the defender, forcing the opposition defence back and allowing his teammates to drive forward with their runs. However, Kyeremeh opted to pull away from the crowd and give the ball carrier a different option.

By pulling away from the crowd and moving towards the ball carrier, we see Kyeremeh end up in plenty of space, as we see in figure 11. This made the attacker an excellent passing option for the ball carrier, as he managed to pull away from the defenders and find space in a high-value shooting position.

As play moves on from here, we see that the ball carrier actually opts to go by himself, not taking the passing option Kyeremeh provides. However, the runner’s movement wasn’t for nothing, as he actually ended up getting onto the end of the rebound following the ball carrier’s shot, converting that opportunity. So, it’s clear from this example how Kyeremeh is capable of pulling off into space in high-value positions and how this can be beneficial for Annecy. Again, I’d value the attacker’s movement as the key ingredient for his attacking output, as even if his technical shooting ability isn’t anything to shout about, he’s good at occupying good positions unmarked and creating great opportunities in this way.

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Figure 12

Although his goalscoring record this season is impressive, I’d class shot selection as a notable weakness in Kyeremeh’s game. We see an example of the attacker’s poor shot selection in figure 12, which shows the 21-year-old taking a shot at an awkward angle to the ball in terms of body position, on his weaker foot, with a defender in front of him. The resulting shot from this particular situation does pass the defender but fails to really challenge the goalkeeper, leading to a relatively easy save and opportunity for the opposition to kickstart a counter-attack.

There have been plenty of examples of Kyeremeh taking shots from less-than-optimal positions this season and I’d say the attacker would do well to put more consideration into when and when not to shoot, as this is an area of his game in which he can vastly improve.

Defensive actions

Lastly, I’ll spend some time looking at Kyeremeh in defensive phases. It’s important to note that the 21-year-old winger isn’t extremely active in defensive phases. His 5.41 successful defensive actions per 90 doesn’t rank highly among National 1 wingers in 2021/22 and there’s probably some scope for improvement in this area just in terms of his defensive output.

As mentioned previously when looking at Kyeremeh’s dribbling, the 21-year-old isn’t very physically strong. This can be a negative for his dribbling but also for his defending. Just as Kyeremeh sometimes struggles to retain his balance and hold onto the ball when dribbling due to his physicality, he struggles to knock opposing players off their stride and physically challenge them due to his physicality. The winger doesn’t need to bulk up a lot but he could do with building some more mass to improve these areas of his game.

Furthermore, in terms of technical defensive quality, Kyeremeh isn’t the best. You’ll sometimes see him kick out a leg rather than getting his full body behind a tackle, which can be far less effective, so this is another area in which the attacker could improve his defensive game.

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Figure 13

However, Kyeremeh’s pace can be another solid asset in defensive phases just as it can be an asset in offensive phases in terms of off the ball movement and dribbling. Figure 13 shows an example of the 21-year-old reacting to an opposition pass into the centre and springing into action to intercept that pass. This created an excellent counter-attacking opportunity for Annecy, which shows how this ability can defence into attack quickly, while this also shows how the 21-year-old’s pace helps him to pop out of nowhere to catch the opposition off-guard and make such interceptions, which is a very positive aspect of his defensive game that relies not only on his pace but also his awareness to spot opportunities to spring into action like this.

Conclusion

To conclude this tactical analysis and scout report, Kyeremeh is an excellent asset for his team in chance creation, with he and Annecy fitting together very well this season. Annecy have used Kyeremeh very well within their strategy and tactics as a wide attacker/creator. He’s an excellent asset from the right or left-wing, comfortable with using either foot but definitely prefers his right and possesses good technical, mental and physical abilities to perform his role as a wide creator to a high standard in National 1.

Kyeremeh’s off the ball movement is a great asset for his side in several ways, including his shooting. However, he can improve in terms of his shot selection, physicality and technical defensive efforts. Overall, though, I feel Kyeremeh’s loan spell with Annecy has been a huge success and I look forward to seeing how he performs with Caen in Ligue 2 next season if that’s where he ends up by the end of the summer transfer window.