Scouting Report: Brede Hangeland, Fulham

Fulham’s Brede Hangeland is a towering defender but there are question marks about his pace, something he answered with his intelligent positioning.

FK Vetra were never going to be the most demanding of oppositions for Fulham and therefore probably not the most appropriate opponent whereby to do a  scouting report of defender Brede Hangeland. However there was a logical reason for it (apart from the appropriately timed conformation of interest from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger).

It was a tie in which Fulham were always going to be in control of and for them to effectively play a possession game it meant the defenders would have to push up. The thinking here was that the higher line will create a similar situation to one which Arsenal’s defenders face every game. And also with the heavy rainfall on the Craven Cottage pitch, the slick surface will provide Hangeland a stern test of his pace and mobility but alas that opportunity never arrived.

Vetra were expectedly out of their depth and therefore never really tested Hangeland and Hughes in the centre of defence. And in moments where it seemed Hangeland may be tested, the Norwegian came out comfortably on top. In one such instance, left back Paul Konchesky vacated his flank meaning Hangeland would have to cover both positions and he did so with relative ease. On another occasion, he was faced with a one-one with the Vetra winger but as the opponent knocked the ball past him, he expertly put his body in the way to stop the run.

However what was most interesting when comparing the two Fulham centre back’s were their positioning. When the ball was hoofed high up in the air both were very comfortable although more so Hangeland who attacked the ball aggressively. On the deck however, Hangeland usually took a step back from the defensive line and surveyed the action before astutely nipping in.

It seemed the Norwegian does have some reservations about his pace but time and time again, not just in this match but others also, his positioning and reading of the game were so fantastic that this supposed weakness is far harder to expose. It should be noted that Hangeland is by no means a slouch and is deceptively mobile and can pass the ball well.

Much kudos to Fulham’s defensive steel should also go to Roy Hodgson who has his team very organised and disciplined, pressing the opponents well to deny space. Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu were once again formidable defensive shields to the centre backs. Against Aston Villa last campaign, the side’s organisation meant the only way Villa were going to get through Fulham was from wide. And when the crosses did come in Hangeland was always in the way.

His aerial prowess was on show again but it’s his commanding of set-pieces that has really impressed me. Hodgson has given him, along with ‘keeper Schwarzer full control of the player’s positioning from dead balls. Hangeland attacks the ball and makes sure he is the one in the best position to get to the ball first. As a result Fulham conceded fewer goals from headers and set-pieces than any other team last year.

It seems with Brede Hangeland, pace is always going to be a concern especially if you are the coach of an expansive football team like Arsenal who need to play a high line. With all respect to Fulham, Craven Cottage may be too small a pitch to fully test that while we probably won’t get a definite answer to whether he can cope without him playing week-in-week-out in a more demanding team.

But while it’s easy to see Hangeland being beaten for pace in a similar situation as Gallas did against Agbonlahor last season, it’s also easy to see Hangeland making sure he is in the right place to stop that from happening.

Scout Report Card:
Age 28
Position Central Defence
Height 6ft 5in

Heading 10
Passing 6
Tackling 8
Positioning 9
Pace 6

Value £9m


49 thoughts on “Scouting Report: Brede Hangeland, Fulham

  1. This is crazy. A defender at the age of 28 and only 1 year of premiership experience under his belt and already cup tied, valued at $9M…For that kind of money Wenger can buy 2 Serie A defenders and their Ferrari’s, and they would be miles better than this bloke…

  2. Well,what we need IS an experienced and tall defender,and hangeland fits the bill.Also,he wasn’t just good last season,in the second half of 07/08 he was also very impressive.I rate him,if not for him being cup-tied,at 11m.

  3. Wenger should have moved quicker to sign him. He will be cup tied for the European Championship if we do sign him this summer.

  4. I heard wengers comments today and I’m worried he’s not going to sign anyone,it sounds very much like that all over again.I used to take that mans word as gospel but in the last few years my respect for him as a manager has almost completely gone. I know we may be struggling with debt but it would be nice if someone at the club would actually tell the truth once and for all and stop treating us loyal supporters like mugs !

  5. One of the best Central Defenders in the premiership last season. He’s better than anything we’ve got besides Vermaelen. I rate him at about 13million. (cup tied or not)

  6. I don’t think Wenger will pay for Hangeland, But he should. This guy is the Giant we need in back to break up set plays. So what if he’s cup tied this year. Djourou, Vermy, or Song can replace him for Europe. How about we focus on the EPL before we dream of European Glory. Who’s our biggest CB again? How does he measure up to Hangeland?

  7. I know Wenger we want to prove sturbbon to our advise! i pity him and he should realise the fact that he moving closer to retirement. He is found of testing and experimentation. i will se how he is going to cope without buying one more solid defender to tight up his defence. I am tired of his sick games. we heard the story of Charmack coming,now Kalou, blaise matuidi… I know if he doesn’t buy the required players he will once again stand by the pitch side crying again like he use to do. funny Arsene

  8. if he siigns cannot weight wengers hiniting on a getting a striker and a defender
    hangalands tall and great at heading which not many arsnals defends are if he signs this will be my squad

    CF:Van Persie

    CAM: Wilshire CAM:Nasri CAM:Edwardo

    LB:Clichy LCBVermalen RCB:Hangalend RB:Sagna


  9. Jamie, I could not agree more. Why are we every transfer period mostly all thinking the same on players needed, only to be told the current squad is good enough not too need new players in. This is an absolute joke!
    We have lost a great CB who would have found his form again and the ever lazy Adebaywhore who would still manage 15-20 goals a season. If we were not good enough last season with them ? How are we gonne be this season without them. Swiss Tony may even be on his way!
    I know we have Edu back, but will he last the whole season ? Im not so sure. Sickys out again for maybe 2 months, so how are we really looking ??? Not to good from where I standing.

    Then you get all this rubbish from Arsens best mate Zidane that we bid £17mill for the Dutchman most of us wanted.

    Why didnt we get him ? Firstly, its all Bullshit that Wenger and Zidane made up to make out we are actually trying to buy players that the fans want, cause at the end of the day, he would have been a great buy. Second, we probably bid way to late ‘ As usual ‘ when the agreement had been struck with Milan. Typical.

    I fear if we have a bad start due to one thing or another ( Injuries – No Signings )its going to be 4th or even 5th at best – No Champions League!!!! People, not being us supporters will need to consider that maybe, just maybe they are just too out of tune with whats actually required to run a Championship winning team…I do though hope I will be proved wrong…

    1. Okay, since when has Wenger been friends with Zidane? Or are you simply making an assumption due to the fact they are both indigenous to France? I come from England, yet I’m pretty sure I’m not friends with Ashley Cole…
      And a great buy? On what basis? He lacks the pace to exploit additional space left-in-behind defences in the Premiership, and his all-round play is pretty poor. He is not what we need.
      Perhaps it also has something to do with the £400million debt we have…

      I think it unfathomable that people seem to think they know more than a top-flight professional of more than two decades; arguably the most meticulous scouting network in the world; and a highly-skilled coaching set-up.
      I’m not saying they’re flawless in all respects, but on the transfer front, relative to investment, we’ve got to be one of the most successful sides in Europe.

  10. Wtf Liam you have only put 9 players in there! This would be my squad

    Van Persie Eduardo

    Arshavin Fabregas Nasri Walcott (or Rosicky)

    Clichy Gallas (or Vermelaaen) Hangeland Sagna

  11. Carl well put and yes it’s a good point about zidane,i thought it was highly unusual for him to come out with those comments like he did, so the collusion theory is certainly a possibility. I think the truth is wenger bids for very few players its all paper talk.I’m pretty sure he never bid for Melo or Cana or Kalou or Huntelar i’d say he bid for chamakh but as usual way to little to late.
    The most worrying thing about the way he was talking though was it’s as if he’s accepting that Arsenal fans should be happy with 4th and the SEMI of the champions league and we should be grateful for that because he,it seems,thought we had a great year last year.I’m kinda fed up with him treating the supporters like crap !

  12. Hangeland played his first years as a central midfielder, for Norwegian Viking FK, with Roy Hodgson as manager. So he is good at reading the game. Tony Adams wasn´t a sprinter either, was he?

  13. As for Hangelaand, I just don’t think he’s mobile enough.

    I appreciate he’s faster than people give him credit for, but whilst Gallas and Vermaelen are both quite mobile, neither have the pace to cover for a considerably slower partner in our high-line; hence why Senderos is likely set to leave.

    I would rather some experienced cover in the form of Sylvain Distin.

    I think we have to appreciate with the property market going the way it is, we are on a small budget, in spite of the sales of Adebayor and Toure.

  14. If wenger is going to pursue 4-3-3 formation,i suggest dis line-up
    Bacary Brede Thomas Gael

    Soler Mozart

    Andrei Robin Santos

  15. I’m slightly disappointed that so far not many are arguing the point about mobility (only one so far) as I purposefully intended to set it up. Somehow I feel Wenger is bluffing regarding the interest in Hangeland considering he’s selling Senderos. Or he may offer a lower amount as he is doing for Chamakh.

    While he can do a job, he is probably going to be less reliable in a high line. There is Djourou who has the mentality and the skill to become a good CB at back up.

  16. Wenger and the board are cheating the fan who allready pay the highest prices in the world
    Celtic could well outmuscle us and we could be out of the champions leauge i can then see Fabragas and Arshavan going before the 31st of August
    Failure this season is not an option the board and Wenger must buy experienced players now Tall CB a holding midfielder that the rest of the world can see we need apart from Wenger and a 25 goal a season striker

    1. Sorry, it should be ‘expectedly’, although now not sure that is a word according to the spell checker. Regarding the ratings; it’s a matter of opinion in the end. 10/10 doesn’t mean perfect but one of the better headers of the ball.

  17. To all Gunners,
    We do not need a holding midfielder, we have had one for a while now. but everyone at Arsenal is blind.

    William Gallas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  18. At 28years old and another year to wait before we see him again for us in the champions league- £5.5mil. Take it or leave it!!

    The whole world has gone crazy if we are looking to pay over £9m for this guy. What for? Keep Sanderos and give him his confidence back. Arsene hasn’t really managed Sanderos well and the guy lacks confidence. See him get transformed at Everton.

    1. Agree completely. Senderos has played well when he paired up Gallas. Senderos was only shaky when he played alongside with Toure.

      1. I agree too, Senderos is one of the few players that Wenger really hasn’t managed well in my opinion, especially during the 07/08 season during the African Cup when Toure was away. Senderos was excellent when paired with Gallas during that period and we conceded very few goals, then Wenger threw an unfit Toure back into the side who was in poor form but Wenger persisted and Sagna ended up getting injured in the away game at Chelesa (which I think we lost because Sagna got injured), meaning he couldn’t play in the game that sealed Senderos’ departure from Arsenal, the second leg of the quarter final against Liverpool. I’m tired of talking about that now.

  19. my squad would be
    sagna gallas brede clichy

    nasri song fabs

    rvp eddie arshavin

    you all seem happy with almunia but im not a big fan
    not saying his crap he makes fine saves but he needs to fix up on his near post and just take every body out when he comes for the ball the
    refs protect the goalies anyway so he might as well use that to his advantage.
    i haven’t seen thomas v yet but i have seen brede and his good his ideal for the long ball merchants and will stop the headless chicken effect we get at set pieces not as fast as we would like but reads the game well.
    i doubt if we’ll get a dm so a much improved song gets this place
    nasri&fabs maybe arshavin&fabs i would prefer arshavin up front but you know his an option for anywhere in attack and eddie the assassin upfront center his just the coolest finisher in the prem hope he stays fit
    so whats Chamakh bringing to the club?
    goals or height it won’t be both for now if wenger rates him at 5mil
    and if the brede thing falls down who else do we look at defensively

  20. That’s exactly where the problem lies. All wenger and the board need to do is come out with the truth about our financies – if they came to give us some insight into why they can’t spend even with money generated by selling squad members then we’ll understand, even if we don’t agree. But wenger coming out with lie after lie and bidding pennies for players he will not buy just to get fans quiet because they’ll think he’s trying(alonso and melo comes to mind). Then knowing too well if he’ll buy viera or not, he says he’s not sure yet to give the fans something to occupy themselves and get of his back. First he’ll buy the new players so they can get pre-season, then he’ll buy before the valencia game and then now it’s ‘transfer activities pick up in the last days’ suggesting he’ll buy at the end of the window.
    Wenger is not a fool and he may be doing what he deems best for the club but he’s not the wisest man on earth either. He takes the fans for granted yet expects them to be understanding and support the club in happiness. His words have been lies in recent years and it’s not been helpful to the fans. Fergie, rafa and all the chelsea coaches don’t go about saying we’re looking at this player or that, they identify who they want then go straight up and buy.

    1. I think you have to appreciate he’s got to make sure he doesn’t step on the toes of those higher up in the Arsenal hierarchy. Even still, did he not say we effectively had to sell to buy:

      Did he not say Arsenal had ’20 to 30 times less investment capacity than United or Chelsea’ (In the illustrated history of Arsenal book)?

      Did he not say ‘there are ten or twelve clubs in the premiership who are of the same specific financial potential as us. that is not reflected in our ambitions.’ (Xavier Rivoire biography of Wenger)?

      Did he not say that the recession would affect the footballing bubble?

      Wenger can’t come out and say ‘The board are giving me no money’, but surely from what he has said, you can decipher that we don’t have money to spend.

      He’s not trying to fool the fans; he’s trying to do what’s best with limited resources.

  21. i think we’re all getting carried away with our feelings on arsene and the club. i know we’re all frustrated, but this is not the place for your grievances about the club. we’re here to discuss the tactics of the club and whether or not strategies or players work with us.

    i think the issue about pace is interesting. ManUtd have fielded two powerful headers in their club and it has seemed to work for them, but our problem is different. i think we need more pace in our FBs because it helps them with tracking back.

    however, and i stress this point, it seems as if positioning is a major problem that eclipses the question of pace. we have already bought vermaelen and we have gallas. both are decent headers of the ball and both have pace, but neither are that dominating in the air. with hangeland, we would bring a different dimension to arsenal – one that would bring balance to our style of play. i think that his combination of physicality, height, and positional play are a good complement to the other FBs on the team.

    what i am asking for is something different to combine with what we have because of my wariness of the icarus paradox. i hope that we get him and that i am not wrong . . .

    1. I appreciate what you’re saying, but we are not playing a typical system; we are playing a high-line that requires mobility from all of our players.

      If we wanted aerial presence and tactical awareness, we could stick with Senderos.

      Gallas it too high a calibre of player to sit on the bench, whilst Vermaelen would not have cost £10million, only to feature sporadically. This is why I feel if a defender is brought in, they will not necessarily be a first-team regular (as Hangelaand would demand) and as such, why I would advocate a move for Sylvain Distin.

  22. today’s match will give us a clue to the starting 11 and tactics, formations going to be used for the season. any guesses?
    My prediction(11):

  23. I really dont understand the logic in sending Merida on loan. I thought he was brilliant for us against rangers and madrid. He could be a good back up for cesc and other cms.

    1. Because he’ll play regularly there in a pressured environment and being brilliant in a pre-season game really doesn’t mean very much. For example, Gibbs was brilliant in the 2007 Emirates Cup and hardly played for us (if at all) in that season, the same with Wilshere and the 2008 Emirates Cup.

      It also means other players can get a chance in the Carling Cup, and Merida would’ve been behind Song, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas, Ramsey as well as Nasri and Rosicky (if we play a 4-3-3) for a central position.

  24. I remeber the game against Fulham at the Emirates this season. Hangeland had stepped forward to join the attack. I think Almunia saved and sent the ball back. Hangeland’s sprint back into defence was lumbering to say the least. At that time, there was already a clamour to sign him.

    I’d looked at his stats and they’re very good. Wins a lot of aerial duels. His team concedes few goals. Tackling is wonderful…but he is slow.

    That’s fundamental, the way Arsenal play. With the speed demons like Toure, Gallas & Djourou we got caught out. It’d be worse with Hangeland.

    On the other hand though, he can be no slower than Song or Senderos. But he’s 28 years old, and the price that’s been quoted for him is as much as £15M.

  25. Many of the best defenders in the world have lacked speed. You have to see the overall. Having said that, I don’t think Wenger will buy him just because they “have had a look at him”. And buying someone for our defence so close to the new season will not make us better. Defende is about training together, like Adams & co did.

    1. True, some have not had speed, but they have been immaculate cerebral defenders who predict the game before it happens, Maldini for example kept Arsenal at bay by predicting what arsenal would do. Does Hangeland fit into this description? I am not sure.

  26. I will profess to have not seen Hangeland in depth over a 38 game season, but in the matches i did see him, he looked really good, but yet again, we must place it in context, Fulham are set up for his defensive skills, at a bigger club, you need to form into the collective and put yourself at the disposal of the team. Where does Hangeland fit in to Arsenal? Is he just there to prevent set pieces? If so, why can’t Arsenal find a player who is strong on set pieces and has better pace, in England, Lescott will cost big cash, but on the continent, players i have seen such as Benaloune of St Etienne, Adil Rami of Lille, Subotic of Dortmund, Kjaer of Palermo, Bruno Alves of Porto all are better players than Hangeland, Alves and Lescott would cost the most,but are better.

    Arsenal need another cerebral defender alongside Gallas or as first choice substitute, Vermaelen looks to have a decent understanding with Gallas so far, he seems to fit into the team ethos, i just don’t see how Hangeland fits in. There are other viable and better options than Hangeland on the market

    1. I think if Wenger does buy another defender (which I think he will because Gallas and Silvestre will be out of contract in less than a year), then it’ll be a young defender about the age of Djourou who’ll be hoping to become first choice next to Vermaelen next season.

  27. I think Nordtveit will be coming back next year. He is a classy defender who will provide competition to the other defenders. I think Gallas will leave along with silvestre. So our CB combo will be Vermaelen and /Djourou/Song/Nordtveit
    The new defender that we buy must be versatile and must play all across the defence or must offer some variety to us.

  28. Arsenal needs a good quality striker. This was never more evident in the Atletico match. How many scoring chances were left on the pitch? Way too many. Are you watching Liverpool-Atletico match 2-1 Atletico. Liverpool’s form is not that good.

  29. Hey, did anyone watch the valencia game? How did we play? Was the defense good. I guess it was not after the resut. Anyway, any analysis?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s