At the beginning of this season, Sevilla decided to sign the Argentine player Lucas Ocampos from Olympique Marseille to strengthen their front line. Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla’s coach, has made great use of Lucas’ abilities in a remarkable way and it was visible throughout the La Liga campaign this season. Julen’s offensive style, along with Lucas’ capabilities, made him the most influential player for the team during the last period of the season.
Through this tactical analysis, we will try to review what the player has provided tactically and statistically to the Andalusian team.
Lucas has a great offensive contribution to Sevilla, and this is apparent in the fact that he contributed to 26% of his team’s goals in the league as he managed to score 10 and set up a further two.
But the question remains as to why Lucas has had this effect and how exactly has he enriched Sevilla’s attack so much?
One of Ocampos’ abilities in the final third is intelligent movements on the flanks when he’s used in a 4-3-3 system, either on the right, which is his preferred side, or the left wing.
Lucas’ pace and the way he bursts in-behind the opposition’s line is unique and this gives his team many options when attacking down the flanks, including scoring and assisting. We can see an example of that below.
Although Sevilla’s style is focused on the possession of the ball, Lucas contributes even when the team relies on counter-attacks. In the example above, as soon as Munir has drifted out wide to the right flank, Ocampos exploits the free space, cuts inside to his respective half-space and takes advantage of Ivan Ramis being forced into a 2 v 1 situation.
He instinctively knows when to switch his position, depending on his teammates’ movement and adapts to the situation accordingly. Continuing the action, Ocampos can then receive the ball in said half-space and proceed to carry it into the box.
Then, upon arrival into the area, he uses his vision and great passing range to deliver a pinpoint assist to his teammate, Oliver Torres. But he is also much more than just the final product and a final third player.
Ocampos often participates in his team’s build-up by dropping deeper – as we can see in the image below – and not only that, but he always bursts forward and into the opposing team’s area whenever he sees an opening to become an aggressive solution in creating danger for the other team.
Here we can see Ocampos pass the ball to Ever Banega and while that seemed like a simple pass on the same line, he follows it up with aggressive vertical movement into the Espanyol penalty area.
You can see the continuation of the attack below as Ocampos surges into the box to connect with a cross from the wide area.
Ocampos received the cross from Suso inside the area and this is actually where he is the deadliest, especially with the head as he registered 0.31 xG value per game from a header.
Creativity in dribbling is also something he excels at as he makes 7.79 per game along with a focus on ending attacks and turning them into goals – this is one of Lucas’ most important features in the Sevilla offensive system.
Ocampos has an impressive control on the ball, here when he receives the pass, he quickly goes behind Jose Angel, the left-back of Eibar, and straight ahead to the penalty area to then score the goal after going 1 v 1 with the goalkeeper.
This was a great combination of his excellent positional awareness and the ability to exploit space, along with the ability to beat his marker and drive into the free area.
Lucas also has the ability to play key passes for teammates, reaching 0.5 per match and plays through passes with an accuracy of up to 55% in this season.
Here we can see Lucas cutting-inside with the ball to find the free-man in the counter-attack, when Suso asked for the pass and scored the goal.
In addition to the distinguished attacking performance of the Argentine player, accompanied by the Sevilla team, he clearly provides defensive support to the system
Lucas Ocampos contributes in his team’s defensive shape with his positioning on the flanks and cooperating with the full-back who plays behind him when the ball is with the opposing team. His defensive positioning helps him to intercept passes from the opponent, specifically on the flanks, and even when he goes inside the pitch, he even reached a ball interception ratio of 3.83 per game.
His main role in Lopetegui’s formation in the 4-3-3 system and his team’s tactics is to utilise his physicality, aggression, and speed that can help him surge back when needed as well as block the passing channels for the opponent who has the ball.
Here we can see Sevilla in a high press on Real Madrid and Lucas Ocampos is dropping-off to his team defensive’s area and man-marking Gareth Bale’s path when Sergio Reguilón is already going up to face Dani Carvajal on the flank.
Even if it seems simple enough, it’s quite effective and gets him into a good position to intercept Real’s attempts for a penetrative pass.
The above image shows Lucas Ocampos after dropping a bit deeper as he tries to hold the line with defenders in the back and still plays man-to-man with Gareth Bale, while Reguilón helps to try to snatch the ball from Real Madrid.
Ocampos is also really good in terms of winning direct defensive duels against the opposition and is often mistakenly considered as a player who only operates in the attacking sphere of things on the pitch.
However, it must be noted that Ocampos is a player of the system, and he works that well because his team’s system suits him in the first place. Still, his defensive performances can be affected by the lack of discipline in some of the instances when he doesn’t position himself optimally.
Here we can see Lucas’ positioning during the build-up phase of the play for Barcelona, located between the full-back and the winger, even if the ball is on the other side, but he is watching the area and marking it closely.
Usually, however, he will do his defending in his own half of the pitch and just around the middle, as we’ll see in the following graph.
Here we can see where Ocampos usually engages in defensive duels. Most of the time, he will operate in the wide areas and down the left flank when defending and dropping deeper in the defensive phase.
However, despite Lucas Ocampos’ offensive performance and how remarkable he is for his side in his team’s defensive system, there are still some weak points that appear during the matches.
Ocampos does have some weaknesses in his player profile and this analysis will now look to uncover some of them in the following section.
One of these points that appear during the matches is that he sometimes holds onto the ball when in possession for far too long, resorting to deal with the situation on his own rather than involving his teammates.
While this can certainly be a positive in certain situations when his skill creates an advantage in tight areas or during a fast break, it also means that sometimes he ends up losing the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch.
Here we can see his physical rush when his team build up, although he had chances to pass to colleagues, he decided to make a move forward while retaining the ball.
Here we see that Lucas decided to rely on the skill, and went towards the Real Betis player, but he lost the ball during that confrontation, and this is what happens especially on the flanks. Instead of passing to his teammate who was running into space in the first image, he made the wrong decision and decided to go it alone, losing possession and breaking up the attack.
Among the problems of Lucas Ocampos also is the lack of discipline, and we see this through recklessness in some of the interventions on opponents, along with a lack of focus in the performance of the defensive duty, which we have already touched upon earlier in this tactical analysis.
Lucas Ocampos is among the players able to combine offensive and defensive roles in a very special way and this appeared largely with Sevilla before the sports activity stopped. It is only natural that there are some shortcomings coming from his nature as a player who always thinks forward and appears significantly in the last third of the pitch.
Lucas Ocampos is a brilliant player, which is why Julen Lopetegui decided to sign him at the start of the season, and his coach was already rewarded for that.
During this scout report, we tried to put some points on Lucas’ performance, which have made him influential with Sevilla, and because of the level he’s currently playing at, he has returned to join the Argentine national team as well.