Andy Delort has been travelling the globe, crossing countries like Mexico and England, on a pursuit to find his footballing luck. At an age of 28 years, we can say he has found a club in Montpellier HSC where he is flourishing. Of course not discrediting his prolific season at Tours and Toulouse.
After spending last season on loan at Montpellier HSC, Delort earned the trust of the south French club by netting 14 goals, just one less than Paris Saint Germain star Neymar. As a result, Montpellier pulled the trigger this season and bought Delort from Toulouse for less than five million euros. A purchase the club don’t regret as the Algerian plays a huge role in the way Montpellier go about the game.
The importance can also be seen in his statistics. As Ligue 1 has come to an end early, Montpellier finished the season scoring 35 goals in total. Delort has a hand in over one-third of these goals, scoring nine and assisting three. Let’s have a look what makes the former EFL player so important.
The pinch hitter
As we previously stated in the intro of this scout report, Delort has been involved in more than a third of his team’s Ligue 1 goals during the 2019/20 campaign. The majority of the Algerian attacker’s goals this season have come as a result of him getting onto the end of a pass or cross from one of his teammates. This is usually with a first-time finish.
As we can see below seven of his nine goals this season came from inside the box. As a result, the striker has a rather high xG at 11.43. This measurement tells us about the quality of goalscoring chances and the likelihood of them being scored. And at 11.43 we can conclude that Delort has come in high scoring opportunities in most of his chances to find the net.
Also as per understat.com, the striker has not lived up to his expected goals (xG) tally by a total of 2.82 during the 2019/20 season. This tells us that Delort has not been able to score the goals that are expected from him since he has come in good goal scoring positions.
Since he has high-quality chances to score from close range. Delort’s secrets to scoring these seven goals are from his positioning in the box. He will normally be between the full-back and centre-back on the weakside of those defenders. The reason for this position is because the far centre-back can’t watch the ball carrier and Delort at the same time. The full-back gets caught in the same dilemma although he does have more sight of the attacker who is making a run behind the centre-back. From this position, the striker waits for a cross to come his way.
As a consequence of such good positioning, the Algerian gets enough opportunities to put himself on the score sheet. Per 90 minutes Delort has an average of 3,13 shots. Only Kylian Mbappé, has had more shots per 90 minutes in the Ligue 1 than the north African striker.
As we saw above in this tactical analysis, Delort positions himself well to come in goal scoring opportunities. But when statically placing yourself in the box you are easy to mark. And when getting closer to the opposition’s goal the marking on Delort only gets tighter. So finding clever ways to find space is a plus.
Luckily Delort is a clever striker. This image below illustrates the impact of his off-the-ball movement and its effectiveness at helping him to get into close-range goalscoring positions. He uses a trademark run on the blind side of the centre-back to the first zone in the box when there is a cross for Delort to run on.
The Algerian doesn’t always have to make his own space. A clever way of how he finds space is by using a teammate’s run. Underneath, as the midfield and defensive line are separated there is space in front of the centre-backs. The Algerian number nine makes use of this space. As Gaetan Laborde makes sure that the defensive line stays pinned back. Delort moves back for a pullback pass and is now in acres of space to take a shot at goal.
Another example of clever movement is when Delort steps out of his position between the centre-back and full-back. His marker, the full-back, has now a difficult decision to make. Does he stay in his zone or follow Delort. This run gives the striker the time to turn with his face to goal. And gives him the opportunity to take a shot or progress play from there.
Lastly, by overloading the far zone, Delort finds space. Here the opposing full-back makes the choice to follow the penetrating attacker in his sight. What he doesn’t see is Delort exploiting the space behind him.
The target man
While the previous section shows us how Delort’s intelligent movement plays an important role during the final stages of his team’s attacks, the attacker is also responsible to play as a target up front.
When Montpellier are under pressure they play the long ball, Delort uses his aggressiveness and jumping ability to fight for these balls and win the aerial duels. Because he sure doesn’t have his height as an advantage. Standing at 1,81 meters he isn’t your typical target man. So the earlier named strengths come in handy when battling for a long ball.
Furthermore, the statistics confirm that Montpellier are a more direct team. This season in Ligue 1, Delort received an average of 2,95 long passes per game. This is the fourth most of all the players in the French league.
As we can see above, he loves coming from the side to the centre. This gives him a run-up before jumping and leads to a higher jump. Another reason for this position is to avoid the centre-backs. Normally the centre-backs are physically strong and have a good height. By searching for aerial battles against less physical players there is a higher chance Delort can win them.
Previously we discussed Delort’s work off the ball and its impact on finding the net. And although these are his strongest assets, he also has other qualities. With the ball at his feet, he also contributes to the team’s attacking play. The heat map beneath shows that most of the time Delort will prefer to contribute to Montpellier ‘s attacking play down the left flank.
When we compare this image to the image below, it makes sense why he looks to play down the left side of the pitch. When the Algerian moves to the left, Montpellier try to overload the left side.
For a striker, Delort has a remarkable stat. The attacker delivers 3.39 crosses per 90 minutes. This places him sixth in terms of most crosses in the Ligue 1 during the season 2019/20. As Montpellier play with two strikers, his teammate Laborde occupies the box and waits for a cross from Delort when he is on the left side.
As discussed above Delort isn’t timid to contribute to the attacking play. He likes to get on the ball and attempt a dribble. Often it will be on the flanks where he attempts this. But wherever on the field, before receiving the ball, Delort tries to find some free space to turn. His normal procedure to do this is, is by dropping from the oppositions defensive line into space in between the lines as shown on the image below.
Now he has space to turn and take on defenders. His dribble map clarifies the areas on the pitch where Delort attempts these dribbles. And this shows us that he is not shy to attempt to take on his direct opponent. Having an average of 4.55 dribbles per 90 minutes underlines that fact.
Also, we can see that the dribbling is more on the sides of the pitch. This indicates he looks for a one on one against the full-back. If we look at the numbers we know why he chooses to take on, more frequently, one of the full-backs. Delort has a successful percentage of 75 per cent when dribbling against a full-back. For instance, when we compare the successful dribbles when Delort takes on a centre-back, his percentage drops with 20 per cent. A good case of choosing your battles wisely.
To conclude this tactical analysis piece in the form of a scout report, Andy Delort has influenced Montpellier’s form positively since arriving at the club. The Algerian attacker has shown himself to possess some top quality technical and physical attributes throughout his time at Montpellier thus far.
Although his conversion rate needs some improvement. His contribution to the team cannot be underestimated. Being the focal point of every attack shows the importance of Delort in Montpellier attacking play. After all the travelling Delort has finally found his footballing luck in the south of France.