Singapore Premier League • May 21, 2014

Jaguars Face Dangerous Cheetahs


Hougang United vs Tanjong Pagar United

(May 21, Wednesday, 7.30pm, Hougang Stadium)

Written by: Kenneth Ho

The last time the Cheetahs played at the Hougang Stadium, they suffered a 3-0 defeat by Courts Young Lions, and they will be hoping to banish memories of that by pulling together a win against Tanjong Pagar this time.

Hougang have done superbly well this season, and are sitting proudly in the upper half of the table. The strikers are scoring freely, and the Cheetahs cannot be underestimated by anyone.

In contrast, the Jaguars have been floundering so far this season, with only 9 paltry points to show for from 12 games so far. To compound their misery, Tanjong Pagar come into this game on the back of a loss to the worst team in the league, after a 2-1 loss to Harimau Muda.

However, this is not to suggest this game will be as easy as it seems on paper. Tanjong Pagar actually were pretty decent in their last game, and it took a wonder goal and a penalty from Harimau to condemn them to defeat.

Hougang might be a rather direct side, with balls punted to either Geison Moura or Diego Gama who can superbly hold up the fort well to bring in other teammates into play, but their speed of play suggest that such tactics might not be to their advantage.

As shown in their last game against the Rams. Hougang had 61% of possession, but only managed to make 9.9% successful attacks per minute of possession. That statistic was among the slowest in the league, and can be more effective with a slow build-up play.

The main issue for Tanjong Pagar so far has been their lack of a consistent defensive showing. Whereas last season the Jagaurs were compact and gave teams a tough, this season has seen them conceding uncharacteristically bucket loads of goals

Knowing that Hougang takes a while to build up their attacks despite having much of the ball, Tanjong Pagar would do well to adopt a high-pressing game to reduce the amount of time the two frontmen for Hougang has on the ball.

This will help ensure that Hougang has lesser chance to play their usual game, and greatly reduce the chances of Tanjong Pagar conceding a goal.

Key Men To Watch

Hougang United: Nurhilmi Jasni

The midfielder has improved tremendously this season, with his runs from the centre providing the Cheetahs with an extra attacking outlet. This has resulted in four assists for his teammates to gain from.

Nurhilmi also provides something statistics are unable to show, being a menace. Even though his runs may not always yield a goal or assist, defenders still have to be mindful of defending him and hence may leave gaps for others to exploit.

The 28-year-old still needs to improve on his goal-scoring ratio though, as he has only one goal to show for all his efforts so far.

Tanjong Pagar United: Sebastien  Etiemble

The lack of goals have been hurting the Jaguars, with Monsef Zerka misfiring on all fronts. Statistically, the most dangerous player on the pitch next is Etiemble and that is who Tanjong Pagar has left to count on to get the goods.

With 12 shots on targets from 27 so far, and an average of 2.5 per game, the midfielder is on paper the best offensive threat for the Jaguars. However he will need to improve his goal ratio of 0.3 goals per game.

Hougang United – DWLWL

15/5/14    Woodlands Wellington 1-1 Hougang United

9/5/14      Hougang United 2-1 Balestier Khalsa

2/5/14      Hougang United 0-3 Courts Young Lions

24/4/14    Harimau Muda 3-4 Hougang United

16/4/14    Hougang United 0-1 Brunei DPMM

Tanjong Pagar United – LLDDL

16/5/14    Tanjong Pagar United 1-2 Harimau Muda

9/5/14      Brunei DPMM 4-0 Tanjong Pagar United

1/5/14      Geylang International 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United

25/4/14    Tanjong Pagar United 1-1 Tampines Rovers

17/4/14    Home United 4-0 Tanjong Pagar United

10/4/14    Tanjong Pagar United 1-1 Warriors FC

Head to Head (S.League)

27/2/14    Tanjong Pagar United 1-2 Hougang United

4/7/13      Tanjong Pagar United 1-0 Hougang United

22/3/13    Hougang United 2-3 Tanjong Pagar United

14/6/12    Tanjong Pagar United 0-1 Hougang United

9/2/12      Hougang United 1-1 Tanjong Pagar United

26/11/11  Tanjong Pagar United 1-3 Hougang United

6/10/11    Hougang United 4-3 Tanjong Pagar United

25/4/11    Tanjong Pagar United 0-5 Hougang United