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Prematch Warmups: Hougang United vs Balestier Khalsa - SPL 24/25

Submitted by: Anon | 20th June 2024


Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
"This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time." — Tyler Durden

We will be up against an opponent where they play positive football and know how to score. Balestier has racked up a whopping 7 goals from their two matches in the SPL this season already. So it's business as usual for Balestier despite losing their key players like Ho Wai Loon and Daniel Goh to Albirex.


We will be coming into this encounter as the slight underdogs eventhough it's played at Jalan Besar Stadium. As such, we need to be wary of their attacking prowess. But where there is attack, there is a frail defence. Let's look at the silver linings we can exploit in this encounter in this short article. Hougang United vs Balestier Khalsa SPL 24/25! C'mon boys!




Variety of Attack

Instigators

Explanation

Long range shot outside the box

Fukashiro, Kozar, Tajeli

All 3 have the ability to do so from range. Fukashiro (sometimes Kozar) will look to stay back to put their laces into stray second balls outside the box.

Crosses

Harith(left side), Darren/Sassi(right side), Tajeli(from deep right)

As shown against Tanjong Pagar where four out of five goals were started by crosses, BKFC is a real threat here. Worse is how Tajeli can deliver crosses from deep for attackers to latch on to. Bruno and Faris would have no excuse as they have the height advantage.

Throw-ins into the penalty area

Madhu

Madhu has repeatedly done this, and I suspect he will try to do so even thought the JBS pitch with the railings will limit him.

Set piece

Harith(right corner), Tajeli(left corner)

Admittedly our weakpoint when defending against. We would need to be alert when handling the crosses, and mobile when handling the 2nd balls.

Sweeping counter-attacks

Hafiz Ahmad

Hafiz represents Balestier's desire to have a sweeper keeper who will turn defense into route-one attack. Against Geylang, their first goal came from Hafiz sweeping the ball out to the right to Fukashiro to cross to Tanaka. This could be their double edged sword.

Wall-passes in the penalty area

Their entire forward line + Kozar and Sugita.

I think this is balestier's bread and butter where they can move the ball in tight spaces fast. Watch out for the left side of BKFC where their Japanese players look to combine this way.

As laid out above, a sign of a good attacking team is the variety in which they can score. And I got to say that every one of their variety of attack look dangerous this season. There seems to be countless ways they can score against us.


So how to stop them? I feel that the best way to stop them is to attack them because this exposes their imbalance in defence. It also exposes their attacking 5 to sit back deeper and defend — something they're not used to. After prolonged pressure, they will make mistakes defending. Which is why I also feel the reason why they've brought Hafiz Ahmad in their side is to (a)cover the huge gaps they leave behind when they go marauding forward, and (b)give teams a hard choice that if they attack, they will fear a swift counter.


Against Geylang where they conceded both goals on the right side, Peter de Roo astutely shifted Fukashiro to the right from his original left position. Fukashiro's threat on the right side then dissipated Geylang's attack from that area as the players playing there got too busy defending. This signals a manager who prefers to use attack as a form of defense. If we attack them we'll have a hard time, if they attack us, we'll have a hard time.


We'll just have to hope that our attack shows up on the day to make sure that even if we don't attack, that we keep posession as much as possible. Less time for them on the ball is lesser window of opportunity for them to hurt us. And if possible, if we target Hafiz Ahmad just right, and nip the ball away from him when he's wandering upfield, we might get a chance to score when he's stranded in no-man's land.



2. How did Geylang cope?

In the first match of the SPL season, Geylang set themselves up to beat Balestier by having their forward line pressure Balestier. Geylang knew Balestier would only get stronger in the 2nd phase of play onwards, so they deployed their front men to press the Balestier backline — their weakest part of their play. This also pins back Tajeli and Darren Teh.


We can imagine Balestier's attacking buildup will split into two, left side and right side. With Alen being the engine on the right, and Sugita being the engine on the left. The link between left and right is Alen and Sugita. They will never be any other connecting passes by anyone else UNLESS it's a counter.


Geylang did try to exploit Balestier's slow backline but found Hafiz Ahmad to be quick to sweep. Perhaps we should do like how Tanjong Pagar did against them by imploring our forwards to pop long shots from time to time to let Hafiz know that whenever he goes off his line, we will try to pop one over him.





So what's the best way forward?


In short, we should deprive their attack by blessing them with our own attacking threat. Balestier will like to keep the ball on the ground and passing in triangles. But they can't handle it when it's dished out to them. If we can keep the posession like how we did against Albirex and Tanjong Pagar while being clinical and quick in our final third, then we can win a huge aspect of this contest.


In addition, we need to also stop their midfield engine of Sugita and Kozar from dictating the midfield. Their tenacity in winning tackles and distributing it to their team mates. Alongside this, Hafiz Ahmad, their goalkeeper needs to be kept in check so that he doesn't play his game. Let him know that sweeping the ball is a dangerous occupation. We need to be smart about popping long range shots and have quick runners on standby to lay off to.


Let's get the 3 points here on our way to get 15 points per round, okay! C'mon you hougang boys! Fight till the last minute. 💪

"This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time." — Tyler Durden
 

Balestier vs Hougang Quick Report:


- 3-4-3 formation preferred (Balestier)


- Dangermen: Shodai Tanaka, Riku Fukashiro, Ismail Sassi, Tajeli Selamat.


- Our defending of setpieces should be a top priority here.


-Keeper Hafiz Ahmad have the tendency to sweep any balls over the top to counter the lack of pace in his backline. If we can get the ball first, Hafiz will surely be stranded in no-man's land.


-Against Geylang, Geylang knew Balestier would only get stronger in the 2nd phase of play onwards, so they deployed their front men to press the Balestier backline — their weakest part of their play. This also pins back Tajeli.


-Balestier's attacking buildup will split into two, left side and right side. With Alen being the engine on the right, and Sugita being the engine on the left. The link between left and right is Alen and Sugita. They will never be any other connecting passes by anyone else.


-Madhu will attempt long throws into the box.


-Riku is Balestier's outlet to shoot from range. We see this in setpieces where he sits back to pounce on balls outside the box. PDR has a habit of putting Riku on the side of the field where they get penetrated easily as PDR's approach is to fight fire with fire on a leaking flank.


 


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