Ever since the capture of Kingsley Onuegbu in 2022, Qingdao Manatee have had a striker who has consistently provided good performances every week.

Arguably one of the club’s best signings in recent years. Yet, this season, at 36 years old, he has adjusted his game to the pattern of Yin Tiesheng.

The striker has struck 13 goals and provided five assists in 16 games for the Chinese League One side.

In this scout report, Ademetan Abayomi runs a detailed analysis of Kingsley Onuegbu’s performances for Qingdao Manatee and how he has adapted his game this season.

Style of play

The Nigerian is a composed centre forward who is great at building chemistry with his teammates through flick-ons and layoffs. His passing ability and decision-making are impressive, especially when breaking down an assured defence who are typically difficult to break down. He does not typically attempt to dribble past defenders all too often, although this is an asset, he does have in his footballing inventory.

This is not to say that he is a false nine as he is being described, as he fits the role of a traditional #9. He is a player who takes plenty of shots and is often the player to take the most shots in his team. This is to be expected of a striker and should come as no surprise. However, it should be noted that he has much more to his game than just a volume-shot taker.

He fits in pretty well with Qingdao Manatee’s style of play this season. They tend to keep a high amount of possession and they like to control it in the opposition’s half. On top of this, they play a high line which supplements their aggressive pressing quite nicely. The team’s favoured formations are 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1 which suits Onuegbu’s strengths very well. They tend to attack down the middle and use inside forwards to complement this style of play, though interplays of short passing.

Passing and build-up

Qingdao Manatee do not focus on play counter-attacking football like they used to. They prefer to attack at speed and distribute the ball forwards where possible. Due to this desire to play through balls often, they sometimes struggle to maintain possession as they may like to. Qingdao Manatee’s centre-backs tend to play it safe with their passing, while their midfielders are more adventurous with theirs. This results in a team that keeps 53% possession on average, generally flexible to who their opponents are.

Onuegbu leads the line for Qingdao Manatee and tries to always be in the space for a pass with his movement. The Nigerian helps during the build-up and is always looking for a teammate to come in close for a layoff or a flick-on. Qingdao Manatee most frequently attack down the middle, meaning that he is vital in the latter stages of the build-up. Although, he does sometimes utilise his wide runners, such as a bombing full-back.

Conclusion

Kingsley Onuegbu has evolved into a more complete forward for Qingdao Manatee, as they transition fairly smoothly. He is the team’s main source of goals and one of the top creators as well, as he can support his wide attackers. With a player like him, Qingdao Manatee can rely on him to bring them out of the dirt whenever they are in a tough situation with his individual talent. Barring that, he can add to a fluid attacking unit. He is still rearing to keep scoring until the age of 40.

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