This graphic, from TruMedia via StatsPerform, divides the pitch into buckets to show the starting point of each of Djordje’s passes this season. The bigger the block, the more often he hits passes from that area, while the number represents his pass completion percentage (color is also an indicator here – red is a lower percentage, the darker the red, the lower the percentage, and the darker the green, the higher the percentage).
You can see he’s not sitting in the middle like a true No.10, and he’s not being asked to step onto the touchline and operate solely along the flanks. Instead, Wilfried Nancy’s 3-4-2-1 form and the ability of Victor Wanyama and Ismael Kone to run the show from deep in midfield allowed Mihailovic to dominate games without necessarily needing to dominate the ball or be in charge of the run. the show in the most crowded part of the field.
Mihailovic can do that very well, but what he does best is finding and decisively taking space. Because that’s his superpower, he’s basically always open, and if he’s always open and the guys around him are moving the ball decently, then he’s going to generate chances for him and his team. It’s a virtuous circle, one where the coach has placed his best players in a system where their strengths amplify and accentuate each other.
Just watch the two goal sequences from this game. In the first, he stays out of the scrum in midfield, holding his place in half-space then driving towards the defense before creating a shot high in the box. When that is blocked and Vancouver’s back line remains scrambled, he sniffs it out first, allowing him to have an open eye for the unique finish.