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Ruben Amorim: The genius behind Sporting CP

Sporting CP has been crowned champions of the Portuguese top flight after a gap of 19 years. Ruben Amorim, an ex-Benfica player, is at the core of such a great season. Know more about the genius behind Sporting CP.

Last updated: 25.07.2021
Ruben Amorim: The genius behind Sporting CP

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Sporting CP has been crowned champions of the Portuguese top flight after a gap of 19 years. That 2001-02 squad, managed by László Bölöni & spearheaded by Mário Jardel's 42-goal season, had become a mere remnant of memory. Ruben Amorim, an ex-Benfica player, is at the core of such a great season. At the age of 32, Amorim hung up his boots after more than a year of service and began pursuing a coaching license with the Lisbon Football Association. After a few runs with different teams, he managed Braga, from where his services were secured by Sporting CP.


Sporting has netted 65 goals this season, somewhat fewer than Porto's 74, and this is a testimony to its excellent goal-scoring ability, having produced well beyond their xG of 36. They're outperforming their xG on both sides of the field, conceding 20 goals from 16.5 xGA, ranking them the greatest defence in Europe's top six divisions - only a handful of teams have conceded fewer than 25. Sporting, on the other side, has a +45-goal differential while having a 20+ goal differential based on xG data, while Benfica (+42) and Braga (+20) have lower statistics.



Since last March, Amorim has typically utilized a 3-4-3 formation.  Amorim has claimed that he does not want to overcomplicate matters by giving his players a lot of strategic instructions and that he has infused the squad with some automated motions. One of Amorim's signature moves is for the men to block the centre and compel the opponent to make critical plays to the wings. Palhinha's spatial awareness is important in avoiding the forward passing option.

On the other hand, Sporting’s centre backs need to be focused because the opposing side sometimes overloads the midfield and outnumbers Palhinha and Mário and they become susceptible to conceding hazardous chances. When Sporting faced Porto on Feb 27th, Porto already had more chances (14 shots/3 on target) and possession (56 per cent vs. 44 per cent) than Sporting, but they were held to a draw thanks to a courageous defensive performance.

Apart from that, Sporting are one of the most aggressive pressing sides in Portugal, sitting third in the league in PPDA allowed. They seldom play possession-based football and thus sit in the league’s bottom half in those metrics.

Ruben Amorim, 36, has achieved something numerous managers like him have struggled to do: returning the league title to the Estadio José Alvalade. While his team has grown fairly predictable in recent weeks, his revamped diamond shape and Paulinho's return to full fitness provide him with a surprise for the season to come.

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