As the FAWSL heads into an international break with the players heading off to their respective national teams to work their way towards Euro qualifiers next year. Manchester City Women and Arsenal Women have made a perfect start to the season with three wins out of three. Following them in third is Chelsea Women’s who have had a good start with two wins and a draw. The Blues have performed well with standout performers – one of them being new signing Guro Reiten.

Reiten signed for Chelsea over the summer after an exodus of players. An impressive run with the Norwegian Women National Team at the FIFA Women’s World Cup persuaded the Blues to go in for the winger. Two goals in three appearances have given us a glimpse of her potential. This tactical analysis scout report will elaborate on Reiten’s play style and the attributes she can bring to the league.

Tactical Analysis – Guro Reiten – ‘Inside-Forward’

It’s early days for the Norwegian winger but the analysis has shown early signs of her settling in well in West London. Reiten has scored two goals in her first three appearances for the club and showcased the attributes she brings to this Chelsea Women’s team. With a number of players having left Chelsea Women in the summer, Reiten’s transfer was seen as important. Karen Carney and Lizzie Durack retired whilst Ali Riley and Jade Bailey left to Bayern Munich and Liverpool Women respectively. The need for players was necessary and Reiten’s arrival is seen as a shrewd signing having seen her performances at the recent World Cup in France for Norway.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Guro Reiten’s heat map [Credit: Wyscout]
Reiten can be classified as a speedy, intelligent right-winger cum forward. With a lethal left foot, the winger looks to play an inside-forward role coming in off the right driving into opposition defenders putting them on the back foot. We can often see her take on defenders using her intelligence and pace to create space. Based on her statistics we can see that she is a hardworking winger with 7.59 offensive duels per 90. Pressing players high up the pitch and putting in a defensive shift gives her a tactical edge over other wingers.

Spatial awareness

Coaches and managers often call for intelligent decision-making from their wingers when they get into the attacking third. Choosing to cut inside or hug the byline can decide whether or not an attacking move is successful or not. Understanding space around her and being able to decide the right move makes a seemingly improbable move yield practical results.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Reiten’s average position against Brighton & Hove Albion Women. Reiten (#11) prefers playing closer to her strike partners [Credit: Wyscout]
Reitan has shown some good spatial awareness by drifting centrally to take on a shot or release a forward pass to another player. Throughout her career, the Nordic winger has attempted a mere 2.96 dribbles per 90 with a 54.2% success rate. This number will increase during her stint with Chelsea Women by playing in a stronger team with better quality players and a more competitive league.

We witnessed her ability to drive forward for Norway and alongside Caroline Graham Hansen proved to be a handful for defenders. With players such as Ji So-Yun, Fran Kirby, and Bethany England, Reiten should be able to feed off their creativity whilst providing them with equally exquisite chances.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Guro Reiten has two options but chooses to drive forward to play in Engman [Credit: Wyscout]
Reiten showed a willingness to drive Chelsea forward on multiple occasions and often catches teams on the counter-attack having won possession high up in midfield. Here we can see Reiten faced with two choices – release the ball early for her Adelina Engman sprinting through above her or drive forward with the ball.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
With a better end product, Engman could have been clean through on goal. However, this shows Reiten’s ability to make good decisions [Credit: Wyscout]
Reiten chooses the latter and manages to drag the attention of five defenders onto her before trying to release Engman. A better end product would have put the Finnish striker through but this example highlighted Reiten’s intelligence in making quick decisions to create goal-scoring opportunities.

What Reiten may have already realised is the level of competition and quality in the FAWSL is much higher than in previous leagues she has played in. Having scored 51 goals in 53 appearances for LSK Kvinner, Reiten is a proven goal scorer. However, she will need to adapt as opposition defences may look to sit deep and stop Chelsea from freely pushing forward. While LSK Kvinner finished as champions in each of their last five seasons, playing against the likes of Arsenal Women and Manchester City Women is a whole different proposition. Newly promoted teams such as Manchester United Women have already shown a tendency to defend then attack. Regardless, Reiten possesses the tools needed to breakdown stubborn defences that will develop over time.

Hard-working winger

One of the biggest takeaways from Reiten’s performances at the World Cup was her work ethic. Norway’s tactics were based around working hard both on and off-the-ball to disrupt the opposition and win possession high up the pitch. Reiten played a major part of it and bringing that attribute to Chelsea will hold her in good stead. Modern-day wingers are often asked to track back and play a big defensive role. Willian under Jose Mourinho was archetypal to this role, where he would often sacrifice his attacking instincts for the betterment of the team and tactics to nullify the opposition.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Reiten ready to pounce on the full-back once the ball is passed forward [Credit: Wyscout]
Here we can see Reiten’s work rate in action against Nigeria in the World Cup. The ball is played out from the back and eventually finds its way to the Nigerian centre-back. The obvious pass is the one towards the full-back and Reiten realises this and attempts to close the gap between herself and the player.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
The Nordic winger puts Norway on a quick counter-attack, giving them numerical advantage [Credit: Wyscout]
Reiten dispossesses the Nigerian full-back and initiates a quick counter-attack high up the pitch putting Norway in a three v two situation. We can see Graham Hansen with an unopposed run into the penalty area if Reiten can find her with an accurate cross.

While Chelsea Women are one of the top teams in the FAWSL, she could possibly become a tactical weapon against the likes of Arsenal Women or Manchester City Women. The wingers 17.28 duels combined with 4.2 recoveries per 90 indicates her willingness to put in a defensive shift. As stated earlier, she outputs 7.59 offensive duels making her an all-action winger. This becomes especially useful when managers want their wingers to track back and help out defensively, this statistic will have pleased Hayes and aids Chelsea when employing a high pressing system.

Off-the-ball intelligence

Reiten’s ball-playing skills, intelligence in understanding space and her hard-working nature is apparent but what should also be noted is her capability in identifying space in the opposition half. While she is a proficient dribbler, Reiten’s ability to find pockets of space makes her an asset in the final third. She finds space intelligently and often times her runs to perfection which not only creates goal-scoring opportunities but opens space by dragging opposition defenders out of position.

There are certain inside-forwards who are proficient at creating space for the overlapping full-back or centre-forward. From the tactical point of view, a good inside-forward provides a challenge for any defence. Their movement to a more central position creates confusion for the opposition defensive line. This comes from the fact that an inside-forward is first marked by a full-back. But, once they move in centrally, the responsibility for marking the player becomes a grey area. This causes a fundamental dilemma between the two defenders.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Reiten on the receiving end of the third-man concept which is used to disrupt England’s defensive line [Credit: Wyscout]
Here is a classic example of Reiten’s intelligent movement and positioning to get in behind the opposition defensive line. The Norwegians are seen using the third man concept to drag players out of position and profit from confusion amongst the ranks. We can see Reiten trying to take advantage of the space behind Demi Stokes. Millie Bright is seen pushed in towards Isabell Herlovsen leaving England’s left side of defence heavily unprotected. Allowing a player with the pace and intelligence of Reiten spells danger for the English side.

Guro Reiten 2019/20 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Reiten’s decision to run centrally proves right as she drags Steph Houghton out of position creating space for her to run into [Credit: Wyscout]
Immediately we can see Reiten want to take the ball across the defenders. What makes this such a brilliant move is it pulls Steph Houghton out of position and forces her to try and dispossess the Norwegian winger. If Reiten had chosen to dribble down the byline, it would have given time to Houghton and her midfield teammates to organise themselves and have a better chance to defend against the cross. In this case, Reiten is potentially through on goal with a one versus one opportunity.

This example clearly showed Reiten’s ability both on and off the ball and displayed her intelligence in a high-pressure situation. Playing against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City who are stout defensive sides and tactically adept, this quick decision-making and intelligence combined with superior ball skills will be extremely useful for Chelsea.

Conclusion

It isn’t difficult to see Reiten’s ability and what she offers her new team. Coming in for a reported £12,000 makes her a bargain and Chelsea could profit from her for years to come. At only 26 years old, the Nordic winger can not only become one of the best wingers in the league but world football. English football has always been the pinnacle of a footballer’s career.

While the likes of Olympique Lyon and Barcelona represent some of the very best women’s football has to offer, Chelsea are on the verge of competing with the best. Having lost to eventual Champions League winners Lyon last season, they were one of the only teams to give them a stern test. Reiten will relish the opportunity to make a difference in a team that has seen more departures than arrivals this season. Replicating the likes of Megan Rapinoe and Nikita Parris is a tall order but one that Reiten can accomplish at Chelsea.


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