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Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

Sporting Braga: How Artur Jorge’s attacking ideas have provided Sporting Braga with fluid and positional football – scout report

Since his retirement as a player in 2004, after more than 15 years as a Sporting Braga footballer, Artur Jorge dedicated himself to form as a coach to continue his career in football. Six years after his retirement, he found a job again within the club he loves, as the coach of the U-19 team and later of the ‘B’ team. After some years as a professional coach in the lower divisions of Portugal, he decided to return to the Braga team to continue coaching in the youth academies, between the U-15 and U-19 teams again.

After so many years as a player of the institution and almost ten as a coach of different categories, he took the biggest opportunity which he surely had been waiting a long time for, becoming the first-team coach this season. Until now, he has played in different competitions, including the Primeira Liga, Taca de Liga, Allianz Cup, UEFA Europa League and soon the UEFA Europa Conference League, leaving very good signs of positional, fun and fluid football, in addition to sealing excellent results that keep them third in the league with 43 points, staying in the Champions League positions for the next campaign.

That is why we will carry out a tactical analysis in the form of a scout report on Artur Jorge’s tactics and mainly on his offensive philosophy that keeps Sporting Braga putting in great performances. This analysis will explain the principles in their build-up, elaboration of plays and attacking ideas.

Building out from the back

Sporting Braga has found different methods in their build-up. However they have constantly faced teams within their league that close their spaces with a low block, but they have been able to become a machine to create chances and score goals. In Artur Jorge’s system, long possessions predominate, side-by-side ball movements in each phase of the game and different movements that allow opening spaces in some areas of the pitch.

To enter more into context, Braga plays with four at the back, which are quite positional and especially their full-backs play a very wide role and carry the offensive responsibility from the wings. The first method of looking for ball progression is a 2+1 that the central defenders perform with any of the two midfielders of the double pivot that drops in looking for the ball. They can create a 3+1 with the other midfielder coming inside the CB’s line and the other one staying in front of them.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

The positioning of their wingers within their frequent 4-4-2 is quite narrow, due to the profile of Iuri Medeiros and Ricardo Horta, who are players who are more between the lines rather than out wide, and that is what they do at Braga. However, they have a lot of movements between the wing, the central channels and the penalty area which creates unpredictability for rivals to stop them. If the ball is on their side, they are dynamic to get into the ball circulation in their early stages.

Artur Jorge, within his tactics, seeks for his team to start to create chances and effective possessions through side-to-side ball movements in a fairly fast manner, where changes of direction are used with long balls and so on, to attack the depth of the pitch through width, with the use of the outside lanes, but the inner search is extremely vital and is where the inverted wingers come into their work.

Normally, Horta and Medeiros, these being the starting players, are the first on the left and the other on the right. As we said, they are an active part of the circulation of the ball and important with their movements to receive between the lines and generate faster progression in areas where the opposition can’t detect them. Nevertheless, they are also a vital part of the team looking to offer spaces to build up with channel exchanges and support to their full-backs so that they play with their first touch and move forward with speed.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

But after all, Sporting Braga prioritises moving the ball from side to side far above and when doing so, those spaces that are created that a rival block can’t arrive due to the speed the ball travels are paramount, where these types of players such as Horta/Medeiros or the one commissioned by Artur Jorge to play in the said area can enter.

The attractions of the first line of rival pressure are key in the team, something that is done by one of the midfielders and the inverted wingers. They get closer to the base of the play, move the pressure and find wider spaces faster through the field so that they can play more comfortably.

Inside positional play, the faster you change the ball side to the weak one, against teams that are positioned with tighter, stiffer and lower blocks down the pitch, the better and quicker you will find solutions to progress and create play. That is why the use of these players in their close movements are so important because the first spaces that are created after turning the sector of the ball are those of the half-space.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

The principles in the first phase of the game for Artur Jorge and Sporting Braga are clear from the start of the season. Their central defenders, through their good ability to progress the ball, together with the midfield movements, the width of the field that provides the full-backs and the approaches and receptions of the inverted wingers, make for a fairly fluid system with more than 6-7 players actively participating in it, that with enough patience the players seek to create more and more options across the pitch. Everything is intended to be done at great speed and unmarking support movements are frequent in this type of scenario, but also forward on.

Accelerating attacks through the wings

Another way that SC Braga seeks to create plays and progress through the field is with the speed of their flanks. Their full-backs are quite offensive and are a vital part of the team in overcoming pressure, adding a lot of pace and dangerous drives that reach the last third. In fact, Víctor Gómez, the right-back, is the Primeira Liga full-back with the most crosses attempted per 90 with 5.20, while Nuno Sequeira, the LB, is the fifth best with 4.5 per 90.

It is just a clear sample of how vital they are able to break blocks with their open positioning, their fast and varied crosses, their one-two combinations to evade pressure or certain behaviours that are also part of Braga’s play constructions not only by what can they do individually. Much of it has to do with the movements of the wingers that make a lot of unmarking movements behind rivals’ back to continue playing through the same outside channel.

These are allowed to drive their runs inside with underlapping runs, and these supports between winger-full-back become extremely natural and coordinated, easily breaking rival lines and planting themselves in a speedy attack in a few seconds. All part of the congestion in the central lane that is generated with more than 3-5 players if we count the forwards that Braga put there, fixing rivals through the middle and stretching them outside. These full-backs can appear with more time to think. The ball travels from side to side and they are responsible for receiving many of these orientation changes. But also from the next idea to play forward in such a case.

Their wide positioning and that of so many players inside is not a coincidence. When the block moves the ball from one end to the other, spaces are generated between the full-back and the inverted winger, midfielder or a more advanced striker moving towards some area. It is there where the ball for Artur Jorge’s Braga begins to be included inside and to turn to a more aggressive positioning.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

Something very common in the second phase of Braga’s game, which we can call a more direct, mobile and rotating construction, is the use of the long and diagonal balls from one of the players occupying the middle, towards these full-backs that they are responsible for taking the entire wing.

Braga doesn’t just create their game by changing around from side to side with low passes, with the low positioning of the full-backs seeking to attract pressure and the support movements of the others, but they also look to put full-backs in charge of adding this passing option from the outside so that a cross into the area can happen very rapidly. That kind of surprise with a variety of executions to the box have been a key part of Braga’s attacking game.

It is clear, many of the goals and chances that the team generates are from these types of plays. A ball is played diagonally into space and the full-back attacks it aggressively on their receptions. They decide not to wait after receiving it, so they prefer to control the ball oriented towards the penalty area, penetrate and send a cross. These plays end with a lot of touches inside the box, but previously there are many principles of the game that are left in sight, and this use of the ball into space to the FB, and their aggressive behaviour to try to contribute to the goal, is another thing that we can see in Jorge’s tactics.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

Variations in the plan are always helpful. Moving the ball from centre to outside, and then back, doing that 2-3 times during phases of the game are important to teams. If you focus on just one you can be very predictable and that is why Braga does not try to be long with their possessions. That is why these balls that travel so fast and the full-backs that are so aggressive, accompanied by subsequent of excellent unnmarking movements by their teammates, are effective and have been during the season.

Functional double-forward-line

Much of what happens in Artur Jorge’s team comes from the functionality of the double line of the attack, which rotates between former Barcelona striker Abel Ruíz, Simón Banza or Vitinha, three players with quite different profiles but who contribute very good things between each of them to the elaborations of the game and finishing of it to the team.

The multiple movements that they make drag a lot of marking from the entire opposing team, which leads to generating spaces that are well attacked by the inverted wingers who combine very well with these two forwards who are moving and changing their positioning throughout the game in different sectors of the field.

For example, when a striker like the former RC Lens player Banza is a starter, they have a constant support player, as well as the ability to hold the ball and play with his first touch to move everything more smoothly and quickly, since he is a taller player and physically stronger, while Abel Ruiz is more mobile and technical in his drops, or Vitinha a more aggressive and direct player making unmarking moves into space.

All of this helps the team a lot as they have quite a positive range of moves, going to the sideline, stepping on inner lanes or going down the centre channel. The spaces they generate are always taken by others. It is a coordinated team that knows every step to take when seeing a teammate doing something.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

When they get close to the penalty area, we can see a pretty clear sign of what they’re looking for within their finishing circuits, which is the number of quick touches and 1-2 combinations that they make before finishing the play with the best positioned player. Instead of taking hasty shots in front of the goalkeeper who goes out of his line, the number of times these players make cut-backs to make everything easier in front of the goal is very frequent in Artur Jorge’s team.

It is also very common to see players who are going to be the first to receive an inside pass from a full-back or a wide player, towards a forward, and this one letting it pass between his legs, later making a movement towards the penalty area, with the one who receives after the body feint of the first assisting deep and another player accompanying inside the box for a cut-back.

Normally 3-4 players are always inside the penalty area to finish it. These are the two strikers and wingers, while the full-backs remain open and the midfielders maintain their balance on the edge of the area.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

Another thing that is generated are these types of dragging movements but in reverse. With one of the inverted wingers pinning up quite a few men near his flank, allowing the pass to be executed outside to his full-back, to then perform a cross into the box with one of these forwards attacking the space that the winger first created behind him with his move.

The accompaniments on the edge of the box after receptions are also something constant to finish Braga’s plays, with few touches, 1-2s or first-time passes to push the last defensive line more and more and appear alone in the penalty area to score a goal, but always trying to break down blocks with combinations in tight-spaces of the pitch.

Artur Jorge at SC Braga 2022/23: - scout report

They have found, within each phase, a solidity in each of their ideas. In every sector to which the ball moves, the team knows what to do. They know how many players to have per channel, how many to join to support and which others take up spaces, and this is still seen by scoring goals, which has been generated with enormous fluidity and that is why they are the third-highest scoring team in the Primeira Liga.


Artur Jorge, offensively speaking, has transformed Braga into a fluid and dynamic team within his positional ideas that have as protagonists the small spaces, the crosses to the area, the patience and the attraction of pressure and the functional movements of his team.

With a view to the following season and the present, the Champions League spots and a good performance in the Conference League become more solid with the passing of the weeks.