Football Insights: Girona FC’s Tactical Mastery Unveiled

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled

In an era where data and sports data analytics shape the future of football, Girona FC stands at the forefront of tactical innovation. Delving into the intricacies of their gameplay during the current season (23/24), this analysis by Michał Śnioch provides a unique perspective, leveraging state-of-the-art sports analytics tools and its player tracking features. Explore the dynamic world of Girona’s strategies, strengths, and vulnerabilities through the lens of specialized sports analytics video software and player tracking, putting you in the coach’s seat for a data-driven performance analytics football journey.

Analytics in football – Girona FC (season 23/24 – with particular emphasis on the last 4 matches)

List of matches: 

03.01.2024 Girona FC – Atlético Madrid

21.12.2023 Real Betis – Girona FC

18.12.2023 Girona FC – Deportivo Alaves

10.12.2023 FC Barcelona – Girona FC

Thanks to sports data analytics and player tracking, we can determine in detail the team’s style of play, game philosophy, strengths, and weaknesses.

Game philosophy

Girona FC predominantly uses a 4-4-1-1 formation and 5-4-1 as an alternative, showcasing a high level of team performance. The team’s emphasis on passing accuracy (85%) and ball possession (57%) is a key component of their game philosophy.

The game philosophy of Girona is based on the mobility of all players and the occupation of spaces. In particular, the midfielders and full backs are smart in that and perform movements diagonally, horizontally or vertically to create passing lines. Aleix Garcia, responsible for the build-up phase, orchestrates attacks, providing insights into the team’s high-performance strategies.

He often drops to the Blind and Eric Garcia, creating a structure of attack. In the opponent’s half, the attacks are usually vertical, with a lot of movement of attacking players, as not to give reference points to the opponents. They play with fast and 1-2 touch combinations, that is dangerous for all opponents. They make quick counter-attacks to take advantage of the high speed of Dovbyk and wingers. Defensively, they try to press high and win the ball in dangerous areas. Their pressing is intense and organized (9.45 PPDA – 6th place in the league), and they don’t allow much time for the opponent to build their game from the back.

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled

Threats for opponents

Girona boasts qualitative players, allowing them to utilize combination play effectively. In positional attacks, they are stronger on the flanks. They tend to make triangles and overload the side. Aleix Garcia can send effective diagonal passes when he finds time and space. Both full backs join the attack regularly and deliver extra-attacking passes into the front line regularly or give the advantage in 1vs1 duels. Dovbyk is an important point in the attack, as he offers both strength and speed. He can keep the ball with his back during positional attack, as well as make penetrating runs behind defenders for through passes. They are also dangerous in counter-attack, when they can use the speed and dribbling of Savio.

Chances for opponents

Girona plays with a high and mobile defensive line – their defenders can take wrong positions and create a depth. The team sometimes leaves a space on the flanks and half-spaces without control. It can be efficient to find space in a line with the last defender in wide positions. The team is vulnerable to fast transitions from attack to defense. It’s also recommended to find the space behind the Blind and use openings from the flank or half-flank zone behind his back.

Building-up phase

Girona starts the positional attack with a good ball possession. They are focused on short passes and patient build up (2nd to the least long passes in the league). The central defenders have a good personality when they are in possession of the ball. Blind is the player with the most progressive passes in the league (11.31 per game). Very often thanks to player tracking, we can see the triangle with Aleix Garcia – Eric Garcia – Blind who are responsible for creating the first phase of positional attack (Pic. 2). Aleix Garcia is the key player – his creativity and vision of the game makes him responsible for dictating tempo and direction of attacks. He is the player with the most passes (1470 – 92.2% accurate) and passes to the final third (230) in the league.

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 2

The role of full backs

Both full backs play an important role in the positional attack. They are both offensive-minded and play very high. While using player tracking features, it is clear that Miguel Gutierrez most often attacks through the half-flank zone, leaving his winger more space through the sideline (Pic. 3).

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 3

He very often enters the first line with the ball at full speed, with the following shot (goal against Barcelona). In turn, Yan Couto is positioned wider and creates an advantage in individual actions through the line with the following cross (Pic. 4 – player tracking). Couto performs 4.88 crosses per game (8th in the league) and 5.81 dribbles per game, being top 2 in his team in this aspect.

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 4

Width of attacks

Girona successfully uses opponent’s narrow positions in defense. Quick ball deliveries from the center to the flanks or transverse passes to the far player in the formation are effective. Flank attacks are finished with shots most often. The cooperation between the wingers and full backs is crucial in creating scoring chances by Girona. In the final phase, most attacks end with a cross, where Dovbyk is the main target thanks to his attributes in the air (48% success of air challenges). The team often fills the box with at least 3–4 players.

Unlock the tactical nuances of Girona’s strikers, Dovbyk and Stuani, as target men, dissected through advanced sports analytics. Dive into the intricacies of counter-pressing, a strategic move highlighted by sports analytics video software, disrupting opponents and paving the way for quick counters.

Striker as a target man

The striker is often used to relieve pressing from deep in situations where both wingers are covered. Both Dovbyk and Stuani have good physical conditions and can win air challenges regularly. In addition, they use their strength well and are capable of keeping possession under pressure. The team will regularly look for the striker to keep the possession. This allows wingers to attack the depth and receive passes behind the opponent’s defensive line (Pic. 5).

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 5

Counter-pressing attempts 

After losing a ball, Girona tries to use counter-pressing, especially near the opponent’s box. The ball carrier is pressed, whereas the passing options are closed down immediately as well. Girona’s players look to get in front of the possible receivers. The team has many recoveries in the opponent’s half, and with this counter-pressing, they can slow down the opponent’s attacks. After successful pressing, they look for fast 1–2 passes with a following shot (Pic. 6).

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 6

Individual skills and pace. Player traffic through sports analytics video software 

Another possibility to progress during the counter-attack is the individual skills of the players like Savio, Tsygankov, Dovbyk or Couto. They can carry the ball on high speed, so the decent pace of attack is maintained. It can be very positive because by individual play they can absorb rivals, creating free space for teammates. They can also finish the counter-attack by dangerous shot or by precise through pass to the partner in better position (Pic. 7). Particular attention should be paid to Savio, who is one of the most dangerous players in 1vs1 duels in the entire league (8.94 dribbles per game, 58% successful).

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 7

Explore Girona’s defensive prowess, from counter-pressing to high defensive lines, meticulously examined through the lens of sports data analytics. Understand the team’s movements in real-time, captured by sports analytics, and discover potential weaknesses within their high defensive line strategy.

Counter-pressing and midfield pressing

As mentioned earlier, one of Girona’s weapons is the counter-pressing. When losing the ball in the high areas, the team does not retreat. Instead, they go as a whole team to quickly regain possession of the ball. However, it can be possible to escape it by passing back to the goalkeeper, who can then bring the ball to the other flank, for instance. If Girona’s pressing fail within 7–10 seconds, they rebuild their formation and focus on midfield pressing – they then maintain a narrow positioning of each formation. Thanks to automated tracking, we can see the distances between the players.

High defensive line

During pressing, the team can move rather high, creating a lot of space behind the defensive line. Central backs try to keep position near the strikers. Long passes behind defenders’ backs into free space can bring success to the opponent in case of successful movement in offside position. In such cases, the striker can appear there alone and receive a ball in a 1vs1 situation with the goalkeeper. It is especially worth delivering long passes behind Blind’s back due to his lack of pace and reaction speed (Pic. 8). Player tracking allows us to check how much distance there is between the defensive line and the goalkeeper. 

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 8

Defense during crosses

During opponent’s attacks through the flanks and deep defense, Girona’s players focus heavily on defending the penalty area. What seems clear, based on the detailed player tracking, they can concentrate up to 7 players in the box. In this way, they leave a lot of free space in front of the box, where the rival has time to take a shot when he receives the ball (Pic. 9).

Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 9
Football Insights: Girona FC's Tactical Mastery Unveiled
Pic. 10

About Metrica Sports:

Metrica Sports was founded in 2014 by CEO Ruben Saavedra, CTO Bruno Dagnino and CMO Enzo Angilletta. Metrica uses artificial intelligence to bring insights and performance improvements to clubs, academies and athletes all over the world. The vision of the founders is to give cutting-edge video and data analysis solutions to every coach, analyst and player in the world.

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