With a projected 50+ DSTv Premiership games to be played in January, the games keep coming thick and fast for all teams. With a top of the table clash taking place as well as two of this season’s most prolific goal-scorers facing each other, Laduma Analytics takes you through what you can expect when SuperSport United face Mamelodi Sundowns.
After 10 leagues games this season, the defending champions have already amassed 24 points, six more than at the same stage last season. Indeed, the circumstances was very different with the opposition, personnel and conditions all playing a part. However, the coaching partnership between Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokeona so far seems to be ticking away without a hitch. Next up for Masandawana is a trip to SuperSport United, who just less than 72 hours ago beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2:1 in their league encounter.
Battle of the Goalscorers
Both teams have been prolific in front of goal this season scoring 19 goals each which is just shy of two goals per game. Furthermore, both leading scorers for each team (Bradley Grobler & Themba Zwane) well and truly understand the basics of how to best score goals when given the opportunity. As we can see from their shot maps, only one goal (red dots) has come from outside the box this season. This shows their intelligence as players to hit the ball at exactly a precise location and often when that moment is within the box.
Whilst both are leading their respective clubs tallies, Grobler has been in particular flying form, setting personal bests, helping the team to gain higher points tallies and just recently become SuperSport’s all-time leading goal scorer; 58 goals in all competitions (Source: OptaJabu). His 10 goals in the league this season, alone accounts for just over half (53%) of his team’s total goal tally. The other share of goals have come from Thamsanqa Gabuza (five goals) and Theboho Mokoena (three goals) which all together total to 95% of Matsatsantsa’s goals this season.
For the visitors, the difference in goal scoring distribution is slightly lower and more spread out across the squad. Whilst Themba Zwane leads Downs’ total with eight goals, Peter Shalulile on four goals and Kermit Erasmus on two goals, their total share of team goals equals to 70%.
In Sundowns last match against Baroka one week ago, the team had 60% of the possession yet it is always more important to understand what they did with the possession they had. The table below can help us establish an idea of how players combined across the field in order to progress the ball up the pitch. This table only shows the number of combinations between players that were successful passes, ie: we know who received the pass from a team-mate. The names from top to bottom represent the start of the pass, whilst the names going left to right show us to which team-mate the passer played the ball to. The number of times that a pass was successful is represented within the box.
For example, when progressing the ball forwards the most successful combinations came from Morena, Nascimento and Onyango. Their next move was to combine with Coetzee, where his next move was to play to Lakay and Maboe more often than others. What makes the visual the little more interesting is the fairly even spread of combinations between players, given the numbered boxes that are filled in. This may highlight to the opposition how Sundowns like to move the ball, which player is the main distributor and to whom he looks to progress the play.
This top of the table clash will be very interesting for fans to watch given how attack-minded and goal efficient each team and specifically it’s players have been so far this campaign.