Dimitri Petratos, aged 27, is an Australian player with Greek origins and has played for A-league clubs such as Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, and is currently playing for Newcastle Jets. In July 2015, when he was playing for Brisbane Roar, he scored the opening goal against the EPL giants Liverpool in a pre-season fixture. He has, in this season, scored five goals and provided seven assists from 22 matches and is placed second in the assists table of the league just behind Alessandro Diamanti.
The positioning of Petratos on the field is observed by his heat map shown below. The heat map shows that he usually plays in the creative region of the field and the final third. Most of his action is in the creative region as he drops down the pitch to collect the ball and look to create chances of attack.
Another interesting stat for comparison is the chances created by Petratos in this season. Observe the bar graph given below of chances created this season. Dimitri Petratos placed first, has created 79 chances in 22 matches hence making 3.59 chances created/match. This shows his effect in the creative area of the pitch.
In the starting lineups on paper, Dimitri Petratos is always positioned in the midfield line. While defending, he joins the forward line to press. There has been a managerial change for Newcastle Jets as Ernie Merrick, who parted ways from the club in January 2020, used the 4-4-2 formation while defending as shown below. Notice the position of Petratos, marked in red, playing in line with Arroyo as a striker.
Petratos is given the task of pressing high as a striker while defending, as shown in the image below. In this particular instance, he is pressing the goalkeeper and forcing him to go long while blocking the passing lane to the centre-back of the opposition. It is a typical move of a forward, pressuring the goal-keeper while cover-shadowing the pass to the opposition’s defender. This shows that Petratos acts as a second striker while defending. A high pressing forward line was used by Ernie Merrick during his reign.
While defending upwards the pitch, Petratos presses the centre-backs and the goalkeeper. While defending in his half, he marks one of the CDMs to avoid progression from the centre of the pitch. During set-piece opportunities for the opposing team, Petratos marks one of the midfielders in such a way to avoid them from taking the second balls, as shown in the instance below. Petratos, marked in red, is covering the CDM of the opposing team, marked in yellow, to avoid the second ball from reaching him. This avoids the team from facing dangerous shots from distance.
Under Carl Robinson as well, Petratos has a similar role to play. As we can see below, Carl Robinson has used the 3-4-3 formation, similar to the Bundesliga team Dortmund, so far this season. Petratos, marked in red, observed in the forward line while defending high up the pitch.
Hence why, while defending, Petratos assumes the role of a second striker.
Tactical positioning during the attack phase
Unlike his position during defending, Petratos plays in the creative region just behind the forward line during the attack phase. An instance is shown below: he has positioned himself in the space between the defence and midfield lines of the opposition.
Petratos analyses the space and positions himself accordingly to make himself available as a passing option. He has a free role in the creative area of the pitch and he is allowed to roam the width of the pitch in the creative region. We can see in the image below how Petratos occupied the space on the wing and made himself available as a passing option. He continues the attack once he receives the pass in these spaces. If he finds himself under pressure then he holds and looks to keep possession of the ball which is covered a little later.
An interesting instance is shown below, which signifies his tactical awareness. As is observed, Petratos, marked in red, is being marked by one of the opposition CDMs. He attracted opposition CDM out of the position to create a passing lane and space for another midfielder to run in and occupy. The dotted arrow shows the path of the ball whereas straight arrows show the movement of the players.
Here is another instance of Petratos dictating the game in the creative region. In the first image, we can see his positioning, marked in red, between the defensive line and the midfield line of the opposition. There is a gap opened up during the press of Western Sydney Wanderers on the flank, circled.
The next instance shown below is after a few seconds from the above instance, notice that Petratos receives the pass in that region, signifying his positional awareness. He analyses the space and positions himself in such a manner to receive the pass in that area and continue the attack.
Creativity in attack
Dimitri Petratos finds space where he can receive the pass and then he continues the attack with creative passing. The following instances show his passing skill. In the image below, he made an overhead pass for Arroyo, a striker. Surpassing the defensive line of the opposition, this attack was then converted into a shot at goal but was blocked by the goalkeeper. Excellent overhead and through passes are observed by him which justify the chances created statistic mentioned above.
During the counter-attack, his ability to pick out these passes has proved lethal to the opposition teams this season. It can be observed from the following instance shown below. During the counter-attack, Petratos makes a pass through the half-space. Hoffman, marked in yellow, makes a run. Though it was offside, the danger of such passes when the opposition team is in transition is imminent with the presence of Petratos in the midfield.
When Petratos finds himself under pressure from the opposing players, he looks to retain possession by passing back to the CDMs or the centre-backs in the manner of one-two. An example is shown below. Petratos, marked in red, is under pressure by the opposition centre-back so he passes it to a CDM. This can be disadvantageous during compact defending by the opposition as the chances being closed down by the opposing midfielders increases.
Another instance of this is shown below. Again under pressure from the centre-back, he makes a one-two combination in the midfield and makes a run into the final third. This opens space in the midfield region and gives more time to the player on the ball to think and play.
In some instances when the forward striker comes down the pitch to get action on the ball, Dimitri keeps the pressure on the backline of the opposition by making dangerous runs into the final third. An instance of this is seen in the image below. Arroyo, a striker marked in yellow, has come down the pitch and Dimitri makes a run behind the backline towards the flank to receive the pass and continue the attack.
Dimitri Petratos has an excellent skill of making combination passes in the final third enduring pressure from the opposing team players. An instance is shown below in the image. Petratos, marked in yellow, makes a pass into the final third for Hoffman, marked in red, despite the pressure by the CDM of the opposing team.
Goal scoring ability
Dimitri Petratos has scored five goals this season. Out of the five, one goal was scored from the penalty spot. The other four goals are very interesting. If we observe the shots map from the Wyscout report. All the goals scored are in and around the same region inside the box.
Petratos positions himself at the blind spot of the defenders or the players marking him and makes runs wherever space opens up. Below is an instance where Petratos takes advantage of a held-back position inside the box. Arroyo, who is on the ground, took the shot which was blocked by the defender. The second ball was collected by Petratos who shot to score the goal.
The instance just before the above goal gives us a clearer picture of Dimitri’s positioning, as shown below. Millar, marked in yellow, has attracted two of the opposition defenders. Arroyo takes the shot but is blocked by the defender and another defender is marking him. Petratos, marked in red, is standing at the blind spot of the CDM, circled, and has his eye on the ball. This enables him to act faster than the CDM who was marking him. Hence, brilliance in positioning helped him to put off the defender marking him. Observe the open space right in front of the goal. As every defender is preoccupied with one or the other attacker. Space is opened up and Petratos exploits it to get his goal.
Notice in this image below, moments before the goal. The Brisbane Roar defender, marked in green, is running towards the goal to defend the incoming cross. Petratos, marked in red, is making a run but the defender, marked in yellow, does not notice as it is his blind spot. Also, Dimitri is exploiting the gap left by the defender who made the run towards the goal.
The next instance is shown below. The ball is delivered into the box from the flank to Hoffman, marked in yellow, who took the shot which was blocked by the goalkeeper. The ball ricocheted and was collected by Petratos, marked in red. Observe the angle he has got towards the goal, shown by lines. This angle is wide and right in front of the goal as explained above. Petratos took the shot and scored the goal. The opposition defender, marked in green, is stunned by the run as he couldn’t notice it.
Dimitri Petratos exploits the gaps between the defensive line and the midfield line to provide himself as a passing option. When he is marked, he moves away attracting the opposition CDM to create space for the other midfielder to run and exploit the gap. As soon as he receives the ball he looks to pass into the final third where his creative passing skills are observed. While in the box, he tends to position himself in the blind spot of the player marking him and makes runs to wherever space opens up to obtain a wider angle at goal and to collect the second ball and take the shot. He is an excellent player and has a big impact in the midfield of Newcastle Jets.