How will Callum Hudson-Odoi fit in at Bayern Munich 2020/21 – scout report
Recent transfer speculation has seen Callum Hudson-Odoi linked with a move to Bavarian giants, Bayern Munich. In January 2019, the Bundesliga champions made the then-18-year-old a key target, submitting an offer in excess of £30m. In the summer of that same year, Bayern made another bid for the young attacker, with a fee in the region of around £22.5m, before Hudson-Odoi signed a five-year contract at Chelsea in September.
After Ivan Perišić and Philipe Coutinho returned to Inter Milan and Barcelona respectively following their season-long loans with the club, head coach Hansi Flick is looking to recruit another winger to compete with his current cast of Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman. Hudson-Odoi is a player who is capable of playing across the forward line, but last season he was mainly used as a left-winger in either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. We will distinguish what he does on both wings through an analysis of his performances this term.
Hudson-Odoi’s main strength is his ability in one-on-one situations due to his direct approach where he is comfortable using either foot, making him an unpredictable entity. He is a prototype modern forward, standing at 5’10”, possessing explosive acceleration that enables him to burst past full-backs with ease. This scout report will display how he plays on the left and right, and how he would fit into Flick’s tactics this season.
In this tactical analysis, we will cover his main attributes, his role in and out of possession, and how well this would translate to Flick’s current tactics.
Style of play
When analysing Hudson-Odoi’s style of play, we will focus on three key sides of his game. These combine to offer an insight into the kind of player that Hudson-Odoi is and what he could grow to become in the future, potentially at Bayern Munich. Still only 19 years old, in this stage of his career, it is worth pointing out which features of his game are strong, and which are weaker, to discover how he will aid his side in winning matches.
Now, what are Hudson-Odoi’s key strengths and what is his playing style? He is a powerful player with a good body mass ratio, natural fitness, and stamina. The England international is a creative player with great technique on the ball, has great mobility, he can produce fast changes of direction, and he has good short-to-mid through passing ability. He likes to play in a free attacking role, with the liberty to roam around in the final third and find space, which he is excellent at. The teenager is at his best when he has the ball at his feet, running at opponents.
Hudson-Odoi, affectionately nicknamed ‘CHO’ by Chelsea fans, is a right-footed winger, who has several methods of chance creation in his varied repertoire. He largely occupies the wide spaces on either side of the pitch, preferring not to occupy the half-spaces when in possession, but rather he stays wide and stretches the opposition defence. From here, he can send in deliveries with either foot, opting for a few options: an early floated delivery, a low-driven cut-back near the byline, or a whipped cross onto the head of a forward. He is also a player who has a natural eye for goal, with a strong finishing ability when shooting from favourable positions.
Hudson-Odoi’s heatmap from the 2019/20 Premier League season
Off-the-ball movements in wide areas
Chelsea and Bayern seem to share certain tactical concepts, especially in the attacking phase. Both teams rank first in their respective leagues for crosses into the penalty area in the 2019/20 season, with Bayern completing 128 and Chelsea completing 105. Although Hudson-Odoi only managed 863 Premier League minutes last term, he certainly contributed to this when he was on the pitch. The 19-year-old completed 1.04 crosses into the penalty area per 90 last season, the highest in the Chelsea squad.
He can do this through his preference to occupy spaces down the wings, which we will see below.
In the above analysis, we see Hudson-Odoi positioned between the lines out in the left wide space with plenty of time to manoeuvre.
With two defenders opposing him, Hudson-Odoi jinks his body and creates enough space to send a whipped delivery in towards Tammy Abraham.
Whenever Chelsea have the ball, Hudson-Odoi is aware that one of the main ways that Frank Lampard like his team to advance the ball in the final third is through exploiting the space in behind with a ball over the top. By passing the ball behind the defensive line and utilising Hudson-Odoi’s explosive pace, it forces the opposition defender closest to the wide man into a difficult defensive action. Though we do often see him drop deeper to collect the ball and carry it up the pitch with his excellent dribbling ability as well.
This is something we also see happen at Bayern, especially Serge Gnabry on the right, who positions himself much wider than his left wing compatriot, which can be seen below.
Here, we see Benjamin Pavard on the ball, looking to progress the ball down the right wing. Gnabry comes deeper to collect the ball and Kimmich is positioned between the lines to act as a facilitator in the build-up.
Within two touches, Gnabry receives the ball and passes it on towards Kimmich centrally. He immediately runs beyond the Schalke left-back and into the open yards of green space.
Dangerous & diverse deliveries into the box
In terms of Hudson-Odoi’s chance creation and effectiveness in the final third, this is where we will see the Englishman potentially provide the most value to his side. He has displayed a variety of techniques in creating chances for his teammates, whether it be bursting past his man and providing a cut-back, or cutting in on his right from the left wing and sending in a floated delivery to the back post, or bending in a whipped cross towards the head of the centre-forward from the right wing on his preferred right foot.
Above are the radars for Hudson-Odoi’s passing and progression as well as his attacking and creativity from the 2019/20 Premier League season.
In comparison to other wingers in the Premier League last season, he was very effective with his creative passing choices, producing a 0.29 xA per 90 from 3.13 passes into the penalty area per 90. He is very efficient with the passes he selects, completing 80.7% of all his attempted passes. However, this also links into the 19 years old’s noticeable weakness. He sometimes opts to pass backwards to recycle possession, rather than exploit a teammate’s run or space which has opened up. In addition to this, we can see his shooting and xG ranked quite low, and this is something we will analyse later on.
Above we can observe how Hudson-Odoi receives the ball from Gary Cahill out on the right flank. With no hesitation, he sends in a whipped delivery off his right foot onto the head of Álvaro Morata who does well to find space and finish.
In another example, Hudson-Odoi is located a little bit more centrally, on the counterattack. Thanks to the runs of Mason Mount and Abraham, Brighton were dragged to one side of the pitch, opening a window of opportunity for Willian to get in on goal.
Hudson-Odoi has an extraordinarily high ceiling when it comes to his creativity. He can either come deep, dribble the ball past several defenders, and complete a key pass into the penalty area, or he can use his strength and rapid acceleration to run in behind and exploit space left by marauding full-backs. But at the moment, an issue in his game lies in the build-up phase, where the 19-year-old can be quite passive, opting to recycle possession rather than instigating ball progression, as mentioned earlier. This limits his ability to get into the right spaces to send killer through balls or provide effective cut-backs on a regular enough basis that his technical ability warrants.
Above is a depiction of a missed opportunity. What he could have done is quickly lay off the ball to Mateo Kovačić and instantly make the run beyond his opposing man to exploit the space between the lines. Instead, he passed the ball back towards the Chelsea defence.
Finishing technique & pressing intensity
Lampard likes to use Mount as the player who leads the press for this Chelsea side. The 21-year-old will instigate applying pressure to the opposing player on the ball, while a second man will simultaneously block passing lanes and dash towards the ball carrier. Of course, he led the way in the Chelsea squad with 6.39 successful pressures per 90. Same is the case for die Roten, where Thomas Müller led the way for successful pressures with 8.45 per 90.
The wingers in both sides typically benefit off of this via a direct counterattack down the half-spaces, meaning their successful pressures are much lower. However, what is concerning about this for Hudson-Odoi is the success rate of these applied pressures, sitting at just 24%, Serge Gnabry at Bayern completes 31.6%. This can be indicative of Hudson-Odoi’s lack of urgency when the opponent has the ball, which makes it easy to play around him.
As well as his defensive inactivity and ineffectiveness, he struggles to battle for aerial duels. Generally, he prefers to not contest aerially for the ball and tends to wait on the ground, hoping to block any passing lanes. Overall, this is something he would have to work on at Bayern Munich, who do enjoy pressing the opposition in the final third, ranking first in the league last season for attempted pressures in the final third with 1617.
Last season, we saw Hudson-Odoi’s goalscoring numbers drop from the season before, which is more a sign of a tactical shift than a loss of finishing ability. Although his creativity is his strong point, at youth levels he was a player who liked to shoot at every opportunity he got. In his 2017/18 FA Youth Cup campaign, he scored ten goals in seven starts. A form of goalscoring potential is absolutely there, it is just about getting him in the right spaces to produce shots which are working taking.
In the above image, we see Hudson-Odoi in a great goalscoring position. He has to hit the ball with venom and precision or risk the ball being blocked by the opposing defender. Luckily for Chelsea, he strikes the ball into the bottom-right corner.
On occasion, as shown here, the England international can take shots which are typically unlikely to find the back of the net. From here, he has no run-up to strike the ball, requiring significant back lift, amongst the sea of PAOK defenders in front of the ball, ready to put their body on the line to block it.
Last season in the Premier League, Hudson-Odoi posted an average 0.18 xG per 90, which is still solid for a player of his age, but we have seen a much higher level from him in the past. In the 2018/19 Europe League campaign, he produced a truly remarkable 0.34 xG per 90, as well as exemplifying his qualities as a clinical goal scorer as he notched 0.86 goals per 90 in that competition as well.
Should he join Bayern Munich?
Such a simple question which requires much more advanced thought. Right now, Hudson-Odoi is playing for his boyhood club, under a true legend of the sport, a legend he would have idolised his entire career. New recruits Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner bring with them fierce competition for attacking spots in the Chelsea squad, which will ideally force the 19-year-old into working much harder for a starting spot, but it seems his relationship with Lampard is at a wits’ end currently.
At Bayern Munich, equally, Hudson-Odoi would have to fight for a starting spot, but there is less depth in the attacking unit at Bayern than there is in West London. He would be playing for the most dominant side in European football at the moment, and it would be an eye-opening experience to broaden his horizons outside of England’s capital. He suits Bayern’s motif and Flick’s tactics in the attacking phase very well. It feels like there is an enormous wealth of untapped potential in the England international, and a fresh start could hypothetically unlock it.
All radars in this scout report were created by the wonderful Sathish Prasad (@SidelineAnayst on Twitter). Go check out his stuff!