We are approximately 20% into the 2020/21 DSTV Premiership season. Whilst there is still a lot to play for, we have already learnt a great deal from each team’s current situation. Chiefs are still struggling to find their rhythm under Gavin Hunt. The mid-week comeback draw against Black Leopards certainly did not make their situation any easier.
Meanwhile, their opponent’s on Tuesday night, SuperSport United are standing strong after their first 5 games of the 2020/21 campaign. Laduma Analytics previews the encounter and what you may expect from the two sides.
Daniel Cardoso just like in 2019/20 is again the most trusted player in the Glamour Boys outfit this season. He is currently the only player to have played the full 90 minutes in each of Chief’s 6 PSL games so far. Whilst the consistency in appearing is ideal to maintain squad structure, the same has to be shown for the consistency in keeping clean sheets. A feat that Chiefs have so far struggled with this season.
The above image shows us the locations on the field where Chiefs have conceded shots from (top left) and areas where opposition teams have been highly active in bringing the ball into the box (right). The locations where Chief’s opposition have been hurting them from shooting locations is a worrying trend. Especially the right-hand side of the box and one that meets the eye test when you mirror this with match footage.
The other very interesting aspect of Tuesday’s match is the image on the right. Chief’s have allowed the opposition to play balls into the box from both flanks fairly evenly, but it is these areas of the pitch where SuperSport are very dangerous with the likes of Grobler and Mokoena.
Elsewhere, Chief’s game last week versus Black Leopards exposed other parts of their game. Especially the central areas of the midfield where they were dominated in the first half. For example, in the 25th minute, when Chiefs were already 2-0 down, Leopards played a ball in 4 sequences straight through the middle of the field only for the goal to be called for offside.
Above we have mapped using a Voronoi diagram the space occupied by each player in the frame. It calculates how much of an area a player is ‘covering’ and assigns the shape based on that proximity.
Mumuni Abubakar (on the ball) dropped deep to collect the ball and then played a very valuable pass through the middle of the field (which by-passed 3 Chief’s players on its way) to Rodrick Kabwe. Positioned between the lines, Kabwe then turned and played a through-ball for Karuru to run onto.
The same encounter in January between the two sides ended up with a 2-1 win for Tembo’s side. Its was one of the few defeats inflicted by any team on Chiefs last season. Matsatsantsa currently sitting in 6th place will fancy their chances against a very inconsistent Chiefs team, especially when you have two in form danger men in your squad.
So far this season, their two main threats in front of goal have been Bradley Grobler and Teboho Mokoena. These two players have scored the club’s 7 goals between them. Keeping them quiet may be Kaizer Chiefs best option but how does one best do that? It is easier said than done.
Both players contribute a lot to the team’s attack going forward. However each have different strategies when it comes to pulling the trigger as shown in the maps (top left) above. Grobler fancies his chances mostly from within the penalty area whilst Mokoena is not afraid to let fly from distance. Both players also happen to be very dangerous in the left channels of the field when delivering balls into the penalty area.
This marries up nicely with the fact that SuperSport United have earlier in the season fancied most of their attacks down the left hand-side. To be precise now, this has levelled off to be more similar across both flanks. However still affecting areas we discussed above which could cause problems for Kaizer Chiefs.