Singapore Premier League • April 27, 2014
In-Form Protectors Take On White Swans
Albirex Niigata (S) vs Home United
(April 27, Sunday, 7.30pm, Jurong East Stadium)
Written by: Kenneth Ho
Uniformed giants Home United will travel to Jurong East Stadium on Sunday evening in the last match of round nine to take on Albirex Niigata.
Form-wise, the Protectors have been superb since mid-March. They have remained unbeaten after a loss to Churchill Brothers in the AFC Cup and chalked up seven wins from their last eight games.
This is in no small part due to the form of Home’s goalkeeper, with Shahril Bin Jantan keeping four consecutive clean sheets in as many games so far.
On the other hand, Albirex come into this game after capitulating to a surprise 4-0 drubbing by Warriors FC which ended their four-game unbeaten run.
The Warriors might have been favourites in that match, but to lose in such devastating manner would have been demoralising.
The White Swans play a slow-tempo game, whereby they pass the ball around incessantly until they can find an opening.
The Japanese side are also capable of holding onto the ball for a long duration. Despite the scoreline in their previous match, they are still ranked second in the table for the amount of ball possession, according to Instat. This means they can create more attacking chances, as they possess more of the ball.
Unfortunately Albirex main problem is making those chances count.
In the game against Warriors, Albirex created 113 attacks, one of the highest amount in the league for round eight. However, only 11 shots came from those moves.
What was more telling, was that only three of those shots were on target, with one coming from inside the box.
If the hosts are unable to cause much trouble offensively despite seeing much of the ball, then Home should have no problem getting their sixth successive win in all competitions.
That said, Albirex should be looking to bounce back from their previous loss, and should provide more than a stern test for the Protectors.
Key Men to Watch
Albirex Niigata (S): Kosuke Matsuda
The key to giving Home a hard time, is to prevent their marquee signing Lee Kwan Woo from enjoying time and space. The midfielder possesses superb intelligence and awareness, and rarely makes the wrong decision in play-making.
This task of stopping Lee will fall upon Kosuke’s shoulder. A great tackler of the ball, the Japanese is a fighter too. He had a success rate of 75% tackles made in his last game, and came out on top in 67% of his challenges.
Home United: Lee Kwan Woo
The midfield maestro is expected to pull the strings in midfield for the Protectors and there are little reasons why Lee is a man to watch out for.
Competent in the art of passing, Lee is essentially the reason why Home tick. He is the missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle and without him, Home will look struggle to make many offensive inroad.
Albirex Niigata (S) – LWWDW
16/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-4 Warriors FC
10/4/14 Courts Young Lions 1-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
4/4/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Tanjong Pagar United
26/3/14 Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
21/3/14 Albirex Niigata (S) 1-0 Balestier Khalsa
Home United – WWWWW
23/4/14 Persipura 0-2 Home United
17/4/14 Home United 4-0 Tanjong Pagar United
13/4/14 Woodlands Wellington 0-3 Home United
9/4/14 Home United 2-0 New Radiant (AFC Cup)
5/4/14 Home United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa
Head to Head (S.League)
4/11/13 Home United 3-1 Albirex Niigata (S)
17/5/13 Home United 1-0 Albirex Niigata (S)
1/3/13 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Home United
23/8/12 Albirex Niigata (S) 0-0 Home United
25/3/12 Home United 4-2 Albirex Niigata (S)
10/9/11 Home United 0-4 Albirex Niigata (S)
21/5/11 Albirex Niigata (S) 2-1 Home United
13/3/11 Home United 2-1 Albirex Niigata (S)