The 28 year old Serbian attacking midfielder has been representing Southampton for the past three seasons helping the Saints finish 7th, 6th and 8th respectively in those seasons. I chose to write about Tadic as I see him get abuse from Southampton fans and feel he gets little media attention. He joined the south coast side in 2014 after a great season with Twente in Holland where he produced this attacking output:
Profiling and Stats
First off, his radar. Tadic’s radar is impressive and is similar to that of Payet, Boudebouz and Özil’s. His radar shape is that of a great playmaker and creative passer who creates chances for their team. Despite this, he could shoot more but still finished the season with a respectable 7.42 xG (0.275 per 90).
Tadic is very single footed, at least when shooting, with 94% of his shots being taken with his left foot. Defenders will surely know to be showing him on his weak foot in dangerous positions.
The Saints’ playmaker also has a decent shot map and largely underperformed his xG. Despite having 16 shots from outside the box and taking 5 direct free kicks his xG per shot is 0.143, which is about average among Premier League players with more than 25 shots, meaning he shoots from strong positions.
This is backed up by 38.5% of his shots being in the danger zone, this isn’t spectacular but for an attacking midfielder getting in the box is an important and impressive attribute.
As I established earlier Tadic’s strength is his creativity. Within Claude Puel’s Southampton Tadic was given freedom to roam in attacking areas and also can play in a variety of attacking positions. Therefore, last year he created chances for team mates from a variety of positions, and several clustered from corners.
Tadic is strong from set pieces with 20.4% of his key passes last season coming from set pieces. But, this doesn’t take away from is attacking ability and is a great playmaker from open play.
Tadic is key for the Saints. He was involved in 22.8% of all chances created and helped create 25.5% of expected goals. A huge contribution for one player.
I watched Southampton play Crystal Palace and here are my thoughts on Tadic in this single match. I followed Mark Thompson‘s One Man, One Match system of watching a single match and reporting what I see and addressing what I don’t. Disclaimer about watching a single match found here.
Tadic is composed and comfortable on the ball and takes intelligent touches to get away from defenders. He is good at using his hips and back to get away from defenders and distribute the ball. He is always looking up and not at the ball and looking for the best pass.
Tadic was similar to Özil in that he executes few intense sprints and seems to canter about the pitch. The Serbian was great at finding space and making sure he has passing lanes open, making him constantly available to teammates.
With freedom to roam he found himself in space in wide areas, in the box and sometimes came deep to get the ball from the defence. He is an intelligent mover and passer. He tried some dangerous passes, some of which came off. Also looked for low crosses and to cut the ball back from wider areas of the 18 yard box.
Intelligent, creative playmaker who is key for Southampton. Is similar in ways to Özil and I can imagine the impression that he also goes missing in some matches. He has got stick from Southampton fans this season but underperformed his expected output so they should hope for a strong year this season from Tadic.
All data visualisations in this piece can be requested for any player from the 2016/17 season and soon 2017/18 by tweeting @CA_Viz.
This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.