Joao Victor has followed Oliver Glasner from LASK Linz to VFL Wolfsburg and the Brazilian is an exciting player to look out for in the upcoming season. Glasner himself is hailed as a progressive and attack-minded coach and his tenure at Wolfsburg is one to watch with particular interest. Victor, who hails from Brazil, is coming off an impressive season in Austria and will bring some much-needed flair to the Wolfsburg attack. This tactical analysis and scout report aims to give an idea of what Victor will bring to Wolfsburg by analysing tactics.

Who is Joao Victor?

Joao Victor started his career with São José dos Campos FC and moved to Austria in 2015, joining Kapfenberger FC. In 69 appearances for Kapfenberger, Victor scored an impressive 30 goals along with 11 assists. These are impressive statistics for someone who operates as either a winger or a number ten. A move to Linz followed in 2017 and the Brazilian continued his impressive form and has scored 27 goals and assisted 14 goals in just 54 appearances. Wolfsburg’s sporting director has praised Joao Victor, saying “He is a player who is extremely fast and dangerous in front of goal.”

What are his strengths?

From an initial view, a striking aspect of Victor’s style is how he slots in seamlessly into all positions across the front-line. While depicted on paper as a winger, Victor is comfortable playing on either wing as well as an attacking midfielder. At times he has even been used as a centre-forward.  It is, therefore, necessary to take a look at his responsibilities when played in different roles.

Role as a winger

When playing on the flanks, Victor’s role is far from that of a standard winger. What is meant by this is that Victor is not much of a dribbler and does not try too much to beat his opponents or use quick feet. His strengths lie in intelligent movement and his ability to bring his teammates into the game. Comfortable on either wing, Victor is keen to wait for his full-back in order to create an overlap or engage in some quick passes that would help him bypass the defence. Of course, when the situation requires it, Victor isn’t afraid to attempt to dribble past his marker but the Brazilian’s biggest asset is the way he involves the full-back as well as the attacking midfielder in a sequence of passes.

Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Victor receives the pass before waiting for his teammate to get into the position to receive a return pass
Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Victor then drifts centrally
Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
The movement allows him to get into the penalty box with minimal obstruction

When his side has possession but faces a deep-block, Victor heavily relies on his movement to make a difference. This constant motion makes him a menace to mark for the opposition defenders. However, he is as effective on the counter as he usually places himself on the shoulder of the last defender. Victor is most effective when he has teammates to support him and more often than not, he prefers to thread a pass to a teammate rather than attempt to go for goal himself.

Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Victor waits for a teammate to arrive rather than take on the defender

Joao Victor’s crossing is another important asset of his. While primarily right-footed, he delivers the ball with speed and accuracy. His decision making is precise and appropriate for the situation he finds himself. His finishing is clinical and accurate as he converts most of his chances. Victor is definitely an asset on whichever wing he plays.

Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
An accurate cross across the pitch which leads to a goal

 Role as an attacking midfielder 

Joao Victor’s most interesting role is that of an attacking midfielder. In Glasner’s system at Linz, Victor was given the freedom to wander all over the pitch and bring creativity to the side. At times, Victor would play even as a second striker and had an important role in the buildup. His ability to drag the opposition’s centre-backs out of position and create space for his teammates will be valuable as well. A stealthy operator, Victor can be seen very often between the opposition’s lines before moving freely about the pitch engaging passes from his teammates.

Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Victor’s movement pulls apart the defenders
Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Another situation in which intelligent movement creates space in the box

Weaknesses 

While Victor is a talented player, there are aspects of his game that he can improve on. For instance, at times he relies too much on his right-foot to deliver crosses into the box and even his tendency to cut inside can become predictable. Victor will need to add the bravery to dribble more and take on opposition defenders to his game if he wants to become a more prolific winger. Given the freedom he enjoyed in Austria, it remains to be seen whether Victor can operate in a more rigid tactical system if it were employed by Wolfsburg. Wolfsburg will go up against the likes of Bayern and Dortmund in the Bundesliga where a solid system would be essential to getting a result. If the situation dictates, Victor needs to have the ability to contribute more defensively and be more disciplined with his positioning.

Joao Victor 2018/19 - scout report - tactical analysis tactics
Victor presses

How will he fit in at Wolfsburg?

Wolfsburg were an exciting side to watch last season and the new campaign with Glasner promises attacking football. Victor has the ability to make a real impact in Germany. Wolfsburg primarily operate in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation. Both systems are conducive to a player of his abilities but a 4-3-3 would be most effective in bringing out the best in him.

This formation could see Victor on either wing but give him the freedom to drift into the middle. The prospect of Victor linking up with the talented Elvis Rexhebecaj is quite interesting as the German also loves engaging in quick passing sequences with his teammates. However, the most exciting partnership would be that of Victor with Wout Weghorst. The Brazilian’s accurate crossing would be perfect for a target-man like Weghorst while the Dutchman’s linkup play could bring Victor into goalscoring positions more often.

To conclude our analysis, Joao Victor is a smart signing by Wolfsburg who are getting a talented player well known by the new coach. The Bundesliga has proved to be a comfortable stepping stone for many Brazilians over the years and Victor has the talent and potential to become a very important player for Wolfsburg in the upcoming season.


Total Football Analysis Magazine #11: July 2019 - tactical analysis tactics
Artwork by @chapulana

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