Sebastian Szymanski at Feyenoord 2022/23

Over the past few years, there has been a resurgence of young talent in the Poland national team setup. One of the newest additions to this list is the 23-year-old attacking midfielder Sebastian Szymanski. The talented Pole came through Legia Warsaw’s youth training, making his debut for the senior side in 2016.

However, he is now a Feyenoord player after joining them on loan from Dynamo Moscow for the season, with the Rotterdam-based side holding an option to buy the young midfielder. Szymański is tasked with replacing the gaping hole left by Guus Til, who was electric last season when on loan from fellow Russian Premier League side Spartak Moscow. The Dutchman had 21 goals and 6 assists in all competitions for Feyenoord; which then earned him a permanent move to fellow Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, who are managed by former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

This reconnaissance report and tactical analysis will look at Szymański’s strengths and how he could fit into Arne Slot’s team.

Player Profile

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The heatmap above shows the typical positions Szymański operated in during his time with Dynamo Moscow. When playing under Sandro Schwarz in the Russian capital, he was deployed as a right central midfielder in a 4-3-3 formation, which explains why most of his positioning is in the attacking right half ground. He also drifted to a central position and played as the most forward of the three central midfielders during his time in Moscow.

Now in Rotterdam, Szymański will likely be deployed as a central attacking midfielder in Arne Slot’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system. In fact, in the first game of the Eredivisie season last weekend, that’s where Szymański played, and he provided two assists. With the losses of Guus Til to PSV Eindhoven and Luis Sinisterra to Leeds United, Szymański will be called upon to replace the production of Feyenoord’s two star men from last season.

Overrange

When looking at the underlying stats of Sebastian Szymański’s game, as well as the way he plays, his passing range has to be considered his greatest strength. During his time with Dynamo Moscow, Szymański attempted 37.67 passes by 90 with a 78.5% success rate. He also attempts long line-breaking passes a good deal of the time, with 3.25 long passes attempted by 90 with a success rate of 56.7%.

As a central attacking midfielder, Szymański is also responsible for advancing the ball in the final third, which he also does well. While in Moscow, the Pole attempted 5.76 passes to the final third by 90, with a success rate of 70.6%. This section will take a closer look at some examples of Sebastian Szymański’s vision and passing range.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The image above shows an example of Sebastian Szymański’s vision and passing range. On a Dynamo Moscow goal kick, the ball is returned to Szymański by an opposing player. With the Polish midfield closed, he takes a touch to keep the ball in the air before sending a half-volley through the opposition midfield and defensive lines and into his teammate’s path.

Also in this sequence of play, Szymański is constantly scanning and looking for passing options, which showcases his vision for the ball, as well as quick decision-making to try to complete a difficult pass like this.

The image above is able to demonstrate Sebastian Szymański’s first touch passing ability, as well as his vision again to notice the space to pass through. In this phase of the game against FC Sochi, Szymański put pressure on the opposition midfielder, thus recovering the ball.

Even before he is able to comfortably gain possession of the ball, he notices the midfield stepping up and the full-back out of position, allowing the space behind to expand. open. Szymański is able to send the ball behind into space, while essentially struggling with the opposing midfield. This leads to an assist for Szymański, with the striker able to enter the box and score.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The image above shows another example of Szymański’s ability to choose his teammates. In the game phase above, Dynamo Moscow was looking to counterattack quickly after an opposing free kick. Szymański noticed the player’s run in the middle and played the ball at the right moment to save the striker from being offside. The ensuing ball from midfield is played perfectly into the striker’s path, with him able to run over it before going 1v1 against the goalkeeper and scoring.

Arne Slot recruits a very creative young midfielder to replace Guus Til, with Szymański’s passing range similar to the Dutchman’s. In fact, the Polish midfielder’s passing range is already on display in Rotterdam, with two assists in Feyenoord’s season opener against Vitesse.

Not just an attacking midfielder

Although Sebastian Szymański’s primary role is as a number 10, tasked with creating chances and being heavily involved in the attacking third of the pitch, he also makes a defensive change. During his time in Moscow under German coach Sandro Schwarz, Szymański was sometimes asked to play more like an ‘8’, which allowed him to complete his game and become more of a box-to midfielder. -box. During his spell with Dynamo Moscow, Szymański averaged 8.41 defensive duels per 90 minutes, victory 61.1% of them.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The play phase above shows an example of the type of defensive work rate that Sebastian Szymański possesses. This is an example of a perfectly timed sliding tackle from the young Polish midfielder to take the ball away from the striker, preventing the opposition striker from continuing to run towards the vacant space.

What is not shown is the recovery run that Szymański also made to come back and try to regain possession of the ball. He was able to follow the forward from all the way back into the opposition’s defensive third, displaying his fantastic defensive work rate.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The image above shows an example of the strength Szymański also possesses when it comes to the defensive side of his game. elbow with the attacker. He is able to use his superior strength to win the ball fairly from the opposing player, which allows the Polish midfielder to then launch a counter-attacking streak for Dynamo Moscow near midfield.

As for the defensive side of Sebastian Szymański’s game, this will be another useful asset for Arne Slot to use. Szymański’s ability to sometimes play more like a box-to-box midfielder will surely come in handy when Arne Slot may be looking to change tactics at times, with the possibility that Szymański could be played as one of two deeper midfielders in Feyenoord’s 4-2-3-1 formation, particularly with Fredrik Aursnes heavily linked with a move to SL Benfica this summer.

Movement off the ball

The difference between being a good attacking midfielder and a great midfielder sometimes comes down to the movement off the ball of the player. When an attacking midfielder is able to recognize pockets of space to move into consistently, then they are able to create goal-scoring chances more often. This final section will examine Sebastian Szymański’s off-the-ball movements.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The image above shows the types of moves Sebastian Szymański is capable of to find the pockets of space that allow him to move the ball forward. In the above phase of play, Szymański passes to the other midfielder, resulting in a 2v1 in favor of Dynamo Moscow. The Polish midfielder notices the space between the midfield and the defensive lines and moves in there. The next pass is played to him and the attack sequence can continue.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

The image above again shows the clever moves Sebastian Szymański tends to make when trying to find pockets of space to receive the ball. Szymański waits for the defender to engage and leave his position before running into the vacated space left by the defender. The ensuing pass is played towards his run but unfortunately the pass is not good enough and is intercepted by the covering defender.

Sebastian Szymański in Feyenoord 2022/23: a new #10 in Rotterdam - scout report tactical analysis tactic

This latest example actually comes from Szymański’s first game for Feyenoord this season, but the same tendencies appear. The midfielder is able to notice the space between the two nearest Vitesse defenders and runs through them, making himself an unmarked pass option in an advanced position. Although the ball is passed to him, it still shows the lengths Szymański will go to to become an advanced passing option for his teammates.

Conclusion

This reconnaissance report showed some of the most prevalent strengths in Sebastian Szymański. While Szymański was one of the best players in the Dynamo Moscow side, it will be a bit different with this Feyenoord side. This analysis also provided insight into how Szymański might fit into the tactical used by Arne Slot. With two assists to his name already in the first game of the season for the Rotterdam-based side, it looks like he can fit in quite well.

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