Antony Scout Report

Antony Scout Report – How He’ll Play for Manchester United

As you probably have seen Antony score for Manchester United against Arsenal, you’re also here wondering what further role will the Brazilian play in Erik Ten Hag’s evolution of the Giant that is Manchester United. There are many facets to his play that makes him the perfect forward to work on that right-hand side for United going forward. So let’s analyze Antony’s footballing profile and inform the common questions regarding the value he adds to the United team. We’ll approach the following key verticals for our analysis:

  • Style Of Play
  • How does he fit in at Manchester United
  • What can we expect from Antony?

On We Go!!

2. Style of Play

  1. The Need of the Hour

In pursuit of a proper dynamic winger, Manchester United splashed the cash on Jadon Sancho last summer but the Manchester City graduate is yet to hit his peak from his Dortmund days. United has struggled to have consistent performances from the right side of the pitch and that is due to poor player profiling in the transfer market since Alex Ferguson left the club.

The purchase of Antony is a step in the right trajectory and the Robben-isque right winger can have a major impact on United’s premier league season. Backed by Erik Ten Haag, the 22-year-old footballer has a lot of qualities apart from the viral show boating clips and he can flourish in a proper system.

Only time will tell whether Antony will prove to be another Memphis Depay or Robin Van Persie. We hope its the latter!

  1. Strengths and Weaknesses

Going by statistical data, Antony has heaped on 46 G/A in 100 appearances for Ajax. This was accompanied by 4.5 shots per game and a passing accuracy of 78% in the final third. Factoring in the pace of football in the Dutch league, this data indicates that Antony has a similar profile to Angel Di Maria or Riyad Mahrez rather than Neymar or Hazard.

The key feature of note in Antony’s playing style is his direct targeting approach toward the opposition defense. This provides a solid foundation for the Brazilian to start expanding his arsenal with premier league experience. Teams that defend via a low-block can struggle with the pace and trickery of the former Ajax man. Diogo Dalot needs to provide assistance with overlapping runs so Antony can cut in and stick to his natural offensive game.

Deployment in a number of formations can help the winger’s transition from Eredivise to English football. A 4-2-3-1 with Antony starting on the right side and linking up with preferably Ronaldo or Rashford on counters can be the starting point. Later, switching between a 4-3-3 or even a back 5 might become possible.

The trademark style of the itchy wide-man includes cutting in from the right and aiming for the far corner, similar to Leroy Sane or Arjen Robben. For bright prospects like Antony, the room for improvement is considerable. The intensity of premier league football might expose the weak defensive contribution and compulsive decision-making of the winger. All in all the purchase adds the much-needed attacking depth at Old Trafford.

Dribbling in the final thirdCompulsive decision
Change of paceDefensive contribution
Shooting precisionOff-the-ball movement
Natural ability to outrun full-backs
Technical 1v1 trickery
Can operate in tight spaces
Table on Antony’s strengths and weaknesses

3. How does Antony fit in at United?

  • Best starting XI with Antony

    As things stand, United are getting back to their attacking flow after three impressive wins vs Liverpool, Southampton & Leicester City. An injection of fresh blood on the right side will surely speed up the process. Antony might be the answer.

    The back 4 of Varane, Martinez, Dalot, and Malacia passed the initial phase but the midfield and attack need some experimentation on the manager’s end. The best tandem for the middle of the park should include Casemiro and Mctominay. This supplies the much-needed steel and shield for the back four. From attacking midfield, Bruno Fernandes can provide distribution to the front three.
    Meanwhile, Antony, Sancho, and Ronaldo should start most of the time.

    Despite the improvements in Dalot’s game, he still remains a weak link in the full-back position. A more versatile full-back of Ricardo Periera’s profile should get the best out of Antony and provide competition for places at the back. The first assignment for Antony should revolve around reviving the right-sided crossing efforts and stretching the defense when needed.

    Ten Haag’s team has recovered positively from the Brentford horror show and Antony is only going to add more fuel to the burning fire of passion among the United faithful.
  • Where does Antony rank among the attacking players?

    No matter the form, the places for the competition will always be apparent at a club like Manchester United. The same is the case for Antony. Antony Elanga had a great first season with United last term, Jadon Sancho is incrementally boosting his numbers with each game, and the presence of youngsters like Pellistri, and Garnacho is a positive threat for the right-wing spot. Ideally, Antony should follow the substitute to the starter pattern and ease slowly into action.

    If we assess the squad’s attacking players, one attribute stands out for each player. Anthony Elanga offers a terrific work rate similar to Antonio Valencia, Sancho delivers quality link-up play and movement in the attacking half, Pellistri and Garnacho remain untested but can come up with contributions off the bench.

                        (Elanga PL 21/22)                                            (Sancho PL 21/22)

    On the contrary, Antony is an inverted winger who can thrive when given space on the flank or even when he has to cut inside for attacking the goal himself. This makes him the clear favorite for the right side of the attack. This claim is supported by the fact that Antony had the second most goals from outside the box in the Eredivisie last season.

    There is no doubt that the 22-year-old Brazilian wingman can spike up the attacking numbers for United and since Cristiano Ronaldo is destined to stay at Old Trafford, the overall output of the team will benefit from Antony’s inclusion.
  • Realistic Expectations from Antony’s first season

    Even for such a talented and gifted footballer, the premier league can prove a difficult upgrade. In retrospect, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Memphis Depay, and even Jadon Sancho faced a variety of hurdles while getting acquainted with English football.

    A realistic target for the star winger should center around reviving the poor crossing and attacking contribution from the right flank. In numbers, 15 G/A in the first season is an acceptable initial response from the recently bought Ajax star.

                                                    (Antony’s Average Rating last 12 months)

4. Conclusion

A 100 million price tag carries a weight of its own and the masses demand its justification in the form of exceptional performances. Failed moves of Romelu Lukaku, Jack Grealish, and Philip Countinho all had a similar transfer cost.

Can Antony justify his transfer and push United closer to some silverware remains to be seen but one thing is certain. The new United number 21 has added excitement and anticipation to the current Premier League season.

Written by Ahmed Ali