Analysis: Sheffield United midfielder Vinicius Souza under the spotlight

Sheffield United midfielder Vinicius Souza has divided the opinion of supporters all season long, and after his recent interview where he made a dig at the Blades he has come under scrutiny.

While speaking to Coluna Do Fla, Souza claimed that the only reason he did not get a call-up for the Brazil national team was down to United’s league position, as well as their inability to maintain possession.

The interview came a week or so after Sheffield United secured a point away at Bournemouth, a game where the Brazilian was dropped for 19-year-old Oliver Arblaster. The Blades academy product actually seemed to have improved Chris Wilder’s midfield.

With Souza sat on the bench for the first half, Sheffield United were 2-0 up heading into the halftime interval.

The Brazilian would come on at halftime as the Blades eventually crumbled and ended the game 2-2.

Last Saturday’s home game against Fulham was the first time Souza has taken to the pitch since making those comments about the Blades. And with an even bigger spotlight on him he certainly had some moments to forget.

Vinicius Souza’s performance against Fulham

Before we get into any critical analysis I must say I am a big fan of the type of midfielder that Vinicius Souza is. Like every Sheffield United player the 24-year-old has his good moments and his bad moments. Unfortunately, he has displayed some really poor tendencies all season long.

Souza made some good interventions against Fulham: some crucial blocks and clearances. But one of his worst tendencies was on full display at Bramall Lane.

The midfielder shows signs of laziness quite often. And he is caught ball watching a lot.

Souza’s poor tracking back

The first example is actually the least worst example. In the image above, Souza is tracking the run of Alex Iwobi as the ball is being played into Rodrigo Muniz.

As you can see now, Souza has gone from being right next to the Fulham player to having clear separation to him. Some may say ‘well what about Osborn?’. Well that’s true, but if you watch the clip on the highlight Souza practically gives up on tracking his man and never once passes him on.

Souza’s slow closing down

This next example is just bizarre. I get he is concerned that Willian has an option inside so Souza is communicating for someone to track that player. But he’s essentially given Willian a free five yards because he fails to close space to the winger. This actually leads to Willian getting to the byline and United scramble it clear.

Souza caught ball watching

In the image above, this is one of Souza’s biggest weaknesses. Opposition midfielders have consistently ran off the back of the Blades midfielder all season, and it happens again here.

Because he likes to ball watch, he reacts late to the midfield runner and in this case he gets the wrong side of the Fulham player at the byline and could’ve easily given away a penalty on another day.

Poor reactions and lack of commitment from Souza

This final example is from a corner which Fulham score from and it’s down to Vinicius Souza’s lack of commitment and slow reaction.

If you can make out in the blurry image, Oli McBurnie who usually zonally marks the front post, his job against Fulham was to mark the edge of the six-yard box. Clearly the coaching staff saw a routine from Fulham where they attack that area, hence McBurnie being deployed there.

Robinson appeared to be zonally marking the penalty spot as well as being a second marker of Muniz.

It is Souza who is deployed as the front post zonal marker, and he doesn’t do a good job of it. Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha walks into space at the near post and has zero pressure/challenge on him when he picks out the far corner with a free header.

Tags Analysis Vinícius Souza