Cedric Kipre recently got transferred to West Bromwich Albion from Wigan Athletic for a £900,000 fee, after the Latics’ relegation to League One. Kipre is one of the transfers that West Bromwich Albion has completed in the last few days. After their promotion to the EPL, they also bought Grady Diangana from West Ham for an undisclosed fee, after a successful loan spell there last season. In this tactical analysis, we are going to see how Kipre plays as a centre-back.
His role in the team
Kipre is a dynamic and physical right-footed centre-back, who can use his left foot also, and is approximately 1.93 metres height. He is a solid defender that can compete with every striker with his physical ability. His height means he is a threat in both boxes, as he can defend his team, and he can take his place in the opponents’ box for an attacking set-play. That makes him a key player in the manager’s tactics as far as the set-plays go. He is the type of centre-back that challenges for the ball, but without many risks.
When his team has the ball
Starting Kipre’s scout report from when his team has the ball, we can see that Kipre is a player who likes having the ball. He knows when he has to pass forward, and when he has to pass safely and without risk. In modern football, centre-backs are a crucial part of a team. They are not there just to intercept, as the managers need them to play the ball out of the back, and contribute to the building-up of the game too.
Here, we can see Kipre passing forward. In this picture, we can see the importance for a centre-back to have the ability to pass forward: Kipre is not panicking from the opponent’s high pressure. He has two options: either play a long ball and give it away, or pass forward to his teammate. By doing so, Kipre is breaking the opponent’s lines and high pressure in the field. With a simple forward pass, he has taken five players out of position. A well-organised team should know how to take advantage of these scenarios.
Throughout this analysis, we can see that Kipre is a player that can read the game and drive with the ball when he has the chance to do it. A player needs to drive the ball into free spaces, as, in that way, he can change the numerical balance and give an advantage to his team. For instance, in the picture below, we can see Kipre driving the ball into a 3 v 3 situation. Three opponents are marking three of his teammates. Kipre, by driving the ball into that area, will be the extra player that creates a numerical advantage for his team. One of the opponents will look to mark him, which will make one of his teammates available for a pass.
As mentioned previously, Kipre is a player that does not like to take risks when he is under pressure, or when he has no possible options to pass the ball. Kipre tries to target players in the attacking line when he is under pressure, and has to pass a long ball. In that way, he is not making a clearance that probably will give possession of the ball to the opponent, but is seeking to find one of his teammates. Here, we can see Kipre under pressure, and without a possible option to pass the ball to, so he is making a long ball, which is targeting one of the players in the attack.
Because of his physical appearance, Kipre can be a threat aerially in both boxes. He is taking his place here in the opponent’s box at set-plays, which makes his team a bit more dangerous, and he also gives extra height in the final third. He is usually positioned at the front post, which makes him the first target in a dangerous area.
In the picture below we can see Kipre again at the front post, while the ball is at the far post. His teammate is trying to reach him with a headed pass. His height will give him an advantage for this phase.
When his team does not have the ball
Kipre is a good communicator and can organise the defensive line. For a player who watches the game as one of the last players because of his position, it is important to guide and organise the players that are in front of him. In this way, he can make his team avoid several difficult situations. Moreover, communication and organisation skills are crucial in football, as situations are constantly changing, and every player should be able to develop that skill. Here, Kipre’s body language shows us that he is trying to organise the defensive line while trying to take up a good position in the box himself.
Kipre takes a good position while defending. This happens because Kipre is scanning the area. That way, he knows where the opponent is, which gives him the advantage in taking a good position, compared with the ball’s position and his opponent’s. For a defender, it is not only crucial to know the position of his opponent, but also to know the position of the ball and the area that he has to control, all at the same time. In the picture below, we can notice Kipre checking his opponent while positioning his body in that way, so that he can control the ball.
Moreover, he is a player that can read the game efficiently. That gives him the advantage of forecasting situations and intercepting them. Kipre can get on the ball in front of his opponent and control or intercept the ball. That is a great advantage for a centre-back, as many times we have seen defenders let their opponents control the ball because they cannot get to it first. In that way, they are giving time to the striker to hold the ball and make the link-up play, which will bring more opponents into the team’s half.
Additionally, Kipre is providing cover for his teammates. As a defender, it is very important to provide cover, because any free space could cause trouble for the team. We have seen many times in modern football players exchanging positions. In that way, they are trying to drag their markers out of positions, which will create free space, and another player could take advantage of it. This will not happen if one of the other defenders provides cover and drops into his position. Here, we are watching Kipre dropping to the other centre-back’s position, who is marking the striker out of his position. With this kind of cooperation, Kipre helped the defensive line to not get exposed.
Kipre is a strong and tall defender who has an advantage in most of the challenges because of his physicality. Kipre is marking his opponents tightly, which makes it difficult for them to control the ball under this kind of pressure. Moreover, his height gives him an advantage at aerial duels too. Therefore, it is difficult for a striker to control the ball if his team is trying to play with a direct style and long balls in the central area of the field. In the picture below, we can see Kipre following the opponent. Under these circumstances and pressure, it is difficult for most of the players to control the ball, which makes Kipre’s work as a defender even more successful.
A weakness that a team has to work on when defending zonally is the men that are moving in the half spaces. Kipre and his defensive partner should have better and quicker communication, which would restrict opposing players from receiving the ball in those areas. Here, we can see an opponent receiving a ball in between the two centre-backs, who have time either to turn or to link up the play with the player that is moving towards him.
Sometimes, a strength can be a weakness. We analysed above Kipre’s ability to tightly mark his opponents, and saw how difficult it is for his opponent to control the ball when he does this. A negative aspect of a defender marking his opponent tightly is that he leaves space open behind him, which the opponent can take advantage of. Another negative aspect could be that his teammate does not provide the right cover, which makes the defensive line vulnerable, with free space for the opponent to take advantage.
Kipre is a centre-back whose physical characteristics help him to be a dominant player both in the ground and in the air. Additionally to these, he is a player that can read the game, scan the area and take up good positions. Lastly, Kipre showed good ability on his feet, and is a player who does not take risks, but works well on the ball and transfers the ball forward.