Morgan Schneiderlin has had a successful career so far in the EPL. His good performances at Southampton got him to a high calibre team such as Manchester United. After that, he was not shining as much and moved to Everton, where he was playing at a good level until Nice signed him recently. In this tactical analysis, we will see the traits that made him have a successful professional career so far.
At 30-years-old, Schneiderlin still has more seasons to play at a good level. Nice are buying a mature player who has played well in such a competitive league that is the English league. He can provide experience to the team, especially to Khéphren Thuram, a young midfielder who is playing in the role Schneiderlin comes to strengthen. In this scout report, we will analyse how Schneiderlin fits into the Nice team and what he can teach the younger midfielder.
Everton usually play with a midfield of four. Here, Schneiderlin is more defensive-minded in the midfield pairing. This means that he is the one who does not go up as much and is more concerned with keeping the balance of the team.
This helps Everton as it allows the other centre-midfielder to move more freely and help in the attack. A good example is shown first image below. Here, the other Everton centre-midfielder is in the area trying to create danger while Schneiderlin is further back.
He is providing security and coverage in case the ball is lost and the opponents start a counterattack. Additionally, in that position, he can also be set up to shoot at goal. Overall, this positioning creates balance in the team as, without him, that area would be free to be exploited by the opponent.
This is exactly what Thuram does in the Nice team as he is also the more defensive-minded midfielder. It means that this creation of balance is needed at Nice and is already being fulfilled by Thuram, with Schneiderlin to become another option for this now.
The same is true for Thuram at Nice who hangs back from the attack and as we can see in next image, he attacks a clearance made by the opponent team. This is to avoid the counterattack and even to continue Nice’s attack.
Schneiderlin is the more defensive-minded midfielder and has the numbers to back it up. This is thanks to his 8.24 defensive duels per game with a 61.62% success rate. Having such a positive success rate makes him a great asset in the defensive duties in midfield.
Additionally, he makes 6.33 counter-pressing recoveries per game, as seen in the next image. It means that once Everton lose the ball, he is quick to activate himself and try to get the ball back. It makes him perfect for the more defensive role further back from the attack as from here, has the time to direct his attention rapidly towards where the danger is.
The last stat that proves why Schneiderlin is great in his defensive duties is his 9.32 recoveries per game. This is higher than average as seen in the third image and in such an intense league like the Premier League, it will be important.
Being the more defensive-minded midfielder, he is not as involved in the creation of play as the other centre-midfielder. However, he does intervene sometimes and does so successfully. This is proven by his 88.01% passing accuracy, which is high and great to help in the creation of a play.
With Everton being a direct team who like to get the ball forward quickly, it means that the centre-midfielders have to look for the attackers more often. With these tactics, Schneiderlin makes 15.82 forward passes per game, which is higher than the average in the Premier League.
An example is in the following image where Schneiderlin makes a through ball for the running winger with his first touch. This proves how direct they aim to be as they do not hesitate in launching the ball forwards to chase it.
Seeing as Nice have quick winger such as Hichem Bouadoui, this could be an interesting option for the future.
Connected to this, he also makes 7.91 passes to the final third which is also higher than average. Even though he is the more defensive-minded midfielder, it is clear he still helps his team in attack. This makes him a complete player who specialises in his defensive duties but can also help in the attack.
As just seen, he can contribute to the passing game of Everton as well as the defensive aspects. This why he is sometimes in charge of helping with the build-up. Schneiderlin will get close to the defenders to give another passing lane and help bring the ball out.
This movement helps Everton’s play become more fluid. As seen below, he has just received the ball from a centre-back and is completely free. He now has the time to turn around and move the ball forwards, helping his team transition in the attack.
Similarly, Thuram does the same in the actual Nice team which shows that there is a place for this skill of Schneiderlin to be exploited in the new team. In the following example, Thuram is dropping down and asking for the ball, showing Schneiderlin can also help Nice in this way.
Another good trait Schneiderlin possesses is his pressing abilities. Concerning his defensive duties, he does not mind if they are near his goal or further up the pitch. In this analysis, we see that this makes him a good player with whom to employ a pressing system.
In the next example, we see him pressing the Arsenal centre-midfielder, showing he is not afraid to press high with, of course, the caveat of leaving space behind.
In fact, he makes 1.75 recoveries in the final third. This is a good statistic, especially for a centre-midfielder. It also means that when he goes to press it is not just to be a nuisance for opponents, but he intensely presses them to recover the ball.
Followed by this are his 0.92 dangerous recoveries per game. As seen in the above image, it is one of the highest numbers in the Premier League. Thus, this strengthens the notion that he is a very useful player if you want your team to press intensely.
This is great news for Nice because they also sometimes press high and we highlighted Thuram in the following example below to show that the similarities in their respective roles. Therefore, Nice would improve in their pressing with the arrival of Schneiderlin.
Knowing this, Patrick Vieira could employ a higher pressing line to take advantage of Scheniderlin’s abilities.
Fitting in at Nice
As said before, the position that Schneiderlin would fill in Nice’s team is already being covered by Thuram. He is also the more conservative midfielder in a midfield of four.
This means that they will now have two players for that position. They will have one who is a young talent and one who is a mature and experienced player. Consequently, it is great news for Thuram who can learn from a player with a successful career.
Moreover, Nice also play with a compact midfield of four, just like Everton. Therefore, Schneiderlin will adapt quicker because it is a similar system. It helps that they also have two types of centre-midfielders, one who is more defensive and another more attacking.
Schneiderlin fits perfectly into the more defensive-minded role that is already being occupied by Thuram. With this signing, Nice now has two solid options for this position.
Overall, Schneiderlin still has a couple of years to display good football and Nice are well aware of this. We have seen that he fits well into the Nice system with him helping in the build-up and pressing high among other things. It is clear that Nice correctly scouted Schneiderlin and analysed that his traits match the team. Now it is time to see how Schneiderlin’s move to Nice will work out in the following season.