Analysis: Why Are Kaizer Chiefs Struggling This Season?

Baxter Kaizer Chiefs
By

12 October 2021

The October international break is over and league action is back this weekend. For AmaKhosi, it is another chance to re-write their 2021/22 season start and begin scoring some goals for their dearest fans. Despite the new coaching set-up and a host of new players making their debuts over the last two months, the team has struggled to score goals and currently sit 12th on the log, having scored only four goals in six games. Laduma Analytics have crunched the numbers and take you on a journey to discover why Chiefs have struggled for goals in the first quarter of the season.

Attacking Elements

From this season’s data, Chiefs are amongst the highest shooting teams (62 shots taken) in the league since the season began; taking an average of 10 shots per game. Along with that, according to xG they should have expected to score at least 9 goals by now instead of the 4 that they have. Even the amount of points they should have on the board is double what they currently have. Of course, the defensive elements also play a part but most aspects point to a deficiency on the attacking side of the game for Chiefs. So what is causing this?

Creativity

There is no lack of creativity from the front yet the chances that have fallen to Chiefs have just not been taken by their dangermen. This is ever more so apparent when you consider that they are (along with Stellenbosch FC) leading the log in creating 31 opportunities. Of these chances, 19 have come through just three players alone – Billiat, Dolly and Parker as the table below shows. When only 13% of these chances are converted in comparison to the league average of 24%, then the truth is in the pudding and fans have taken notice.

Threat Creation

The dashboard developed below breaks down Chiefs player’s passing numbers, touches in the opposition half and also how much threat each player brings to the team. The expected threat (xT) is calculated in terms of quantifying possession. If a player makes a pass from a place where it is unlikely for their team to score, to a place where they are more likely to score, then they have increased the xT in favour of their team. In general, the nearer you get the ball to the goal, the more likely your team is to score. This is by no means a strange concept to any football fan but through data, we can now measure a player’s individual contributions more accurately.

Keagan Dolly

Keynote signing Keagan Dolly may not play a lot of passes however is one of the club’s most dangerous players going forward. His ability to create dangerous opportunities for other players such as Billiat, Nurkovic, Manyama and others is second to none in the Amakhosi squad. Even when you examine where Dolly touches the ball in the opposition half and where he creates a threat by moving the ball into dangerous areas – he is amongst Chiefs top 3 players everywhere. The players who next match that feat at best are either Khama Billiat, Njabulo Blom or new signing Phathutshedzo Nange.

Conclusion

The past few results have not looked great for Chiefs yet there is a silver lining of sorts. The team is playing well and are creating plenty of chances for themselves. Unfortunately for their early season, they have just lacked finishing off the chances that have fallen their way. Either way, the technical staff and players alike should be pleased with the performances. All going well these should in time convert their early season performances into results for the long-term season ahead.

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