Kaizer Chiefs should play more like Jurgen Klopp’s outfit at Liverpool and less like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, due to the type of players in their team.
With Christian Saile they have a left footed number nine that is able to get in behind the defence, like Premier League star Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in terms of skill set. Then in Ashley Du Preez you notice similar attributes to that of legend Sadio Mane (now at Bayern Munich), such as speed and movement.
Yes, these two Chiefs players need to improve but that is where the coach comes in. Arthur Zwane believes that whatever ups and downs the club is feeling is completely normal when trying to employ a ball playing system, possession based football. That is when building solid structures, the players that come in will find it easy to thrive, under a well-oiled system.
Whether that suits the attributes and strengths of the team, I have to differ.
“The club has a plan, and we know that when you start something, at some point, you will go through some rough patches. It’s part of the game because you’re trying to lay a strong foundation,” Arthur Zwane told the media on Saturday.
“That foundation obviously helps us now to bring in players that can easily fit in our way of playing. So injuries did not, you know, help us. With too many injuries, we lost key players in very important games and what’s key is to focus and keep on working on that plan.”
Zwane has been trying to mould the Amakhosi team into playing his style of football. Is he succeeding in achieving this so far? Is there a pattern of play that supporters can recognise and identify with?
And are these players being coached on tackling different scenarios that may occur throughout the match like playing against a 10-man low block. Against Maritzburg United and TS Galaxy this was either not implemented or the players forgot what they were taught and relied on improvising to break down similar situations.
As mentioned in my opening statement, Chiefs need to play more like Liverpool because with the players they currently have a pressing style and counter attacking way of playing brings out the best in their current players as witnessed against Bucs this past weekend.
A ball was played over the top of the Orlando Pirates defence which led to an unforced error and resulted in an own goal. This was a much needed 1-0 Soweto Derby victory for Chiefs. Sometimes you need a bit of luck in football but you can only get away with it for so long. Zwane used the result to gain confidence in his project so far.
“How many times did Pirates create chances or go in behind us? But last week we had a bit of a challenge, but I understand because some of the players haven’t been playing for some time, it’s normal, we need to gain confidence and a fair chance to play,” Zwane continued.
“But unfortunately at the moment, we’re trying to get the team going and need some chemistry, tactical understanding to improve, so we focus more on grinding results now while we’re fixing ourselves, trying to improve our game.”
While Zwane is taking the positives and providing reasons why they are not the complete article yet, Chiefs are a better counter attacking team then a possession based team. In possession they are unable to find goal scoring solutions, as witnessed by the constant long range shooting by Sithebe and Maart in recent games but on the counter they are lethal. Using the pace of Du Preez and Saile in behind is their best outlet most times, and it’s something most teams can’t cope with.
Maybe the Klopp way of playing is ideal, being more direct and using your pace to press the second ball would also create more chances further up the field if the direct pass does not work. An example would be the 2018-19 Premier League title-winning Liverpool team. Playing a system that suits your players as well as putting them in the right spaces and positions.
There are skillset similarities that could make complete sense if the team could wholeheartedly try and implement it.
All in all the Arthur Zwane Project has managed to get through another weekend, earning the bragging rights which will satisfy the supporters until the next crisis which never seems far away.