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What Is Chiefs' Best Attack?

So far this season Stuart Baxter has chopped and changed his striking combinations, with Knowledge Musona and Bernard Parker appearing to be his preferred starting pair.

However, in recent matches, against Maritzburg United and Bloemfontein Celtic, he used Kingston Nkhatha as his spearhead and number nine.

Against United, Knowledge Musona and Bernard Parker played slightly behind Nkhatha and it was a combination that seemed to work well.

Nkhatha’s physicality and clever movement stretched the Team of Choice’s defence giving both Parker, who is generally recognised as the club’s true number 10, and Musona the space to play and create havoc.

The evidence from our exclusive Soccer-Laduma stats shows that Nkhatha’s intelligent movement and physical presence created plenty of space and opportunities for Musona and Parker to exploit.

Chiefs had 29 shots in total in the match which is a huge improvement on the 13.79 shots they were averaging before the United clash.

Individually, Parker had six shots (whereas he was averaging 2.6 per game previously), Musona took seven shots (he was averaging 3.2 shots) and even Siphiwe Tshabalala had seven shots (Shabba was averaging 3.2 shots).                                                                                                                                                                    

The numbers also seem to show that Nkhatha’s direct running into advanced positions behind the opponent’s back four gave the likes of Parker, Tshabalala and Musona the space to play and create chances.

The passing numbers of all three players were higher against United when Nkhatha played.

Overall, it suggested with an out-and-out battering ram and number nine like Nkhatha, it brought out the best in Musona and Parker (as well as Shabba and perhaps the team in general).

However, in Chiefs’ following game against Celtic, Baxter dropped Parker and brought George Lebese into his place as more of a conventional left-sided midfielder.

It seemed to affect the play because Nkhatha was forced to drop deeper to get more involved in the build-up, as Lebese’s tendency is to play more out wide, unlike parker who prefers to rove centrally as a creative number 10.

Until the 72nd minute, when Lebese was subbed out for Parker, Chiefs weren’t quite as prolific at creating chances as they were against United.

Yet in the following few handful of minutes that Musona, Parker and Nkhatha played together, Chiefs had five attempts on goal.

In fact, in the combined two games that Musona, Parker and Nkatha were on the field together (for 87 minutes in total), Chiefs had 27 shots on goal.

In conclusion, this data seems to show that when all three are playing together, Chiefs are arguably at their most dangerous as an attacking force. Although the likes of Lebese, Lehlohonolo Majoro and Kaizer Motaung Jnr may feel they have plenty to offer as well.

By David Minchella

Follow David on Twitter: @DavidLaduma

 

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