Sassuolo have established themselves as a solid mid table side in Serie A ever since their promotion in 2013/14. That trend has continued into this current season. Among the reasons for their continued stability is 23 year old Jeremie Boga.
Boga was a Chelsea youth product who, like seemingly every young Blues talent, was sent on loan to a number of clubs before eventually being sold. In his case, a €3 million move to Italy in the summer of 2018. The Ivorian has drawn attention due to his performances of late. Most notably, a stunning strike in the side’s recent 4-2 win against Roma. His 6 goals and 3 assists, as of time of writing, has sparked rumours of a move back to his former side. Especially after a quiet January window and injuries to the likes of Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic.
Jeremie Boga – Style of Play
Boga can play in a number of positions along the forward line. But he has been used by Sassuolo as an inverted winger on the left side of the three in a 4-2-3-1. It allows him to use his dribbling and speed to cut in onto his strong right foot and let fire at goal. This can be very effective, as recent strikes against Roma and Torino have shown, and I believe that’s his best position. Playing out wide gives him the space to drive at defenses, forcing opposition defenders to either foul him or try and keep up. Which, might I add, few can.
The Chelsea youth product has an incredibly attacking mindset. Always looking to drive the team forward and never letting opposition defenders get set. He can do this with his aforementioned dribbling and outright speed. But he also has a vast repertoire of flicks and tricks, which call to mind some aspects of a young Franck Ribery. Boga isn’t lacking confidence either, as he averages just almost 2 shots and 4.3 dribbles per game, and is seemingly intent on nutmegging every defender in Serie A. A real joy to watch in full flow.
Some improvements needed…
The explosive runs with the ball at the heart of the defense enthral the crowd and look good in highlight videos. However there is often no end product on the end of those runs. Boga can be guilty of hanging on to the ball for a touch too long, and can be crowded out when he moves centrally off the wing. He needs to make better decisions when running with the ball, as tunnel vision can set in occasionally, failing to involve teammates.
The winger’s passes are technically fine, but sometimes come too late or not at all, and his focus on cutting in from the wing doesn’t allow for many crosses for his striker to attack. The one man wrecking crew approach can be impressive than it is effective sometimes. I’d love to see him involve teammates more and have some creative interplay in and around the box, to create easier chances for his fellow forwards to convert.
The flip side to all of this explosive attacking potential is, somewhat predictably, a lack of defensive contributions. Sassuolo’s 4-2-3-1 does a good job of hiding his shortcomings, as the back four and dual defensive midfielders offer plenty of protection. But the Ivory Coast international is by no means a defensive minded player. Boga will track back and fulfil his positional duties. Yet he is not a ball winner, and can sometimes be caught out of position. While one can generally forgive his defensive shortcomings, thanks to his attacking contributions, he could improve with the ball as well.
Overall, Jeremie Boga is a fine talent that could develop into a real attacking threat with some polishing. His technical ability is outstanding, he boasts incredible athleticism and has flicks and tricks for days. If he can combine these tremendous raw skills with some better decision making in the final third and put in a little more effort on the defensive side of the ball, he’ll be a quality addition to any team.
Chelsea are interested in bringing him back to southwest London. If he can maintain his current form, he will surely attract suitors from across the continent.
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