It’s a strategy that has been used effectively since the dawn of competitive football, although much less frequently in England. The false nine football role, a technical, marauding midfielder turned chance creator, never seemed to pick off in the EPL until the emergence, and success, of Roberto Firmino. Since then, other sides have come to employ the tactic.
Firmino is a fine card purchase in FootballCoin. But, is he better than Olivier Giroud or Son Heung-min? Today we analyze who the better option is at the moment based on, what we believe, are the essential elements in a player’s success.
Firmino has been lighting up the EPL this season, setting up space between the midfield and attacking lines for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to take advantage. He’s played six games so far, scored three and assisted three. He has a completion ratio of 75%, slightly below that of Son Heung-min. Otherwise, Firmino will attempt the killer pass just as frequently as he will pass back and act as pivot for wing-backs and forwards.
Heung-min is a more steady player, losing possession less frequently, but also creating fewer chances. There are also fewer through balls he attempts. But, generally speaking, both players, along with Giroud, excel in drawing the opposition defenders out of play.
Giroud has made fewer appearances this season. However, the Frenchman is par excellence, the silent striker. He rarely concedes possession, is active and creates opportunities for his teammates. These opportunities are not so much due to his passes or shots, but to the space his movement allows them.
The false nine in football is not expected to score as much as the strikers, naturally, but they are expected to create chances and profit from defenders’ weaknesses. In that regard, Firmino currently leads the pack having averaged 1 goal per 2 appearances. Heung-min earns the runner up position, proving to be a good substitute in the goal scoring department, last season, when Tottenham needed this most.
The false nine soccer player needs to be fast, quick on the ball and able to maneuver in to tight spaces. All three players have great technical prowess on the ball. In terms of creativity, the official Premier League page has amassed enough stats to consider Roberto Firmino to have had just a slightly better season than Son Heung-min. Both players have proven brilliant in taking on opponents, serving teammates with great passes, creating chances.
In terms of just how well the strategy works, no other foreign player had much success in the Premier League with this role, before Roberto Firmino’s emergence. Liverpool currently lead the Premier League with six victories from six matches and the Brazilian is their most praised player this season.
Olivier Giroud may not be a player to often make the highlight reel, but he is someone who knows how to use his strengths to the team’s advantage. After all, what is more efficient than winning the World Cup as a goalless striker.
Son Heung-min is Spurs’ dynamo, a versatile player needed to both ground the team and offer the edge. Not merely Harry Kane’s assistant, Heung-min is a world-class star capable of great consistency.
Verdict: Firmino, Giroud or Heung-min?
All of these three players are represented by fantasy football collectible cards in FootballCoin. When weighing their value, the cards’ price and how well many points they have accumulated in fantasy football, Roberto Firmino looks to be the best pick. All three are worked into their respective teams based on the question What does a false nine do in modern football? All three men are sketching out an impressive career for themselves in England, but few players have enjoyed quite the same impact as quirky Brazilian.