Watch the defender's hips and opposite foot when Jeremy Doku dribbles
November 23, 2023
You don’t want to watch Jeremey Doku; you want to watch two things from the defender: their hips and opposite foot to see the space he wants to attack.
Valentino Liveamento’s hips and left foot are pointed infield. Spin out of the challenge to the opposite direction, the wing, and quickly accelerate to create separation.
Doku does not force the move. He waits, draws the defender in to create enough space down the wing, and then quickly executes the move once the defender positions their hips and opposite foot away from the space he wants to attack.
James Milner has both his hips and left foot pointed infield. Doku pivots and then attacks the space on the wing.
Vladimir Coufal’s hips and left foot are pointed infield, so Doku attacks the opposite space to the line.
Isolate, make them face the wrong way by being patient, and then attack once the furthest foot and hips point in the opposite direction.
This is how he works at lower speed to quickly turn and make sharper movements. Doku’s weakness is his size. Liveamento, Milner, and Coufal are all too off-balance to attempt to push; they are too worried about turning to stay ahead of him. He needs that positioning of the hips and foot from the opponent so that he can ensure he won’t get physically bodied off the ball once he makes the move.
Things change when Doku is running at speed. He won’t make a move when the defender is facing hips towards the ball because it’s too easy for the defender to simply stick out a leg. He needs their hips and leading leg facing the goal.
He will wait until the defender’s hips and opposite foot face the goal. Then he will close the space between him and the defender, feint a move to the direction he wants to go to get them off-balance, and then attack the space he feinted towards.
Bonus points if the defender is so thrown off that they fall.
Jérémy Doku is not all speed and acceleration. He is a master manipulator of the defender’s hips and opposite foot. Don’t watch him; watch the defender.