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Prematch warmups: Hougang's Back, Alright!

Submitted by KingKikilover10 | 8th May 2024

All paws on deck. #1H1H

It's been long, and here we are again with a brand new season, with new rules and a refreshed squad. This time though on May 10, we will have to go toe to toe with the Sailors once again, the current Singapore Cup Champions. LCS too, have revamped their foreign contingent with their local players remaining relatively the same. Will we get 3 points to set the tone for this season, or will we face more troubles in the sea of the unknown?

Preseason, forecasting of what's to come?

Take a quick look at the standings for the SPL Preseason Tournament, if you did not follow up with the tourney, I must remind you that Lion City Sailors did not play their first team during the entire tournament. They did however, play their first team, against teams in Thailand and JDT. We did get a glimpse of how LCS performed against JDT, and they did fairly well I must say.

There were also some interesting changes to the squad (LCS). For a start, lynchpin forward, Richairo Zivkovic has not been able to extend his contract with the club. Hence, it is rumoured that the Sailors are still out to find a replacement striker. Next, Zulqarnaen Suzliman was ruled out for most of the season due to a ACL injury from the game against China (WCQ). Since then, at right back Lionel Tan has deputised for Mamat in that right back position. For Hougang, we did do semi-well in our pre-season tournament, with the team slowly adding new players to the roster across the past few weeks/months. It must be said that the club has taken a very balanced approach in allowing who appears on the team sheet first. We were handed 2 losses in the tournament, 3-0 against BG Tampines Rovers and 3-2 against Young Lions. With some players proving their worth early on, and watching interviews with Coach Marko, it could be said that we do have a squad filled with talent.

If it ain't broken don't fix it

Last season, there was no doubt that we were with a squad derailed with injuries, a squad that on paper looked like it could compete with the very best, faltered. We often set-out in a 5-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 with the widest midfielders often pulling out wide. And it doesn't seem like it's going to change anytime soon. With Krajcek still in on the way to getting his match fitness after battling injuries of their own, do not expect him to start the game. Anders, also seems to be recuperating from an injury as well.

On the other hand, the Sailors often play in a 4-3-3 formation, there is no reason to think that Rankovic might put out something drastically different, we are not to be looked down upon. With a lack of a natural right back in their ranks, and Lionel looking like he could tie that position down, could we perhaps exploit that? With Bart Ramselaar amongst others added to the ranks, it will be important we close down spaces in the middle as much as possible.

This starting XI gave Sabah a scare.
This starting XI gave Sabah a scare.

Ok Jordan and Stjepan, do your thing! Alright, it's the first game of the season and we don't have too much information or any reliable predictions for how our teams will set out, so let's keep this final section a little more light. Looking at this sub-header and the sentences above this, you would know what I expect from this Hougang side. Wing-play to disrupt the Sailor's defence. Whilst Sailors have a squad brimming with talent, no team is perfect. A young Carmona and a converted centre back means that our players on the wings should cause some damage. If Stjepan and Hazzuwan were to both start, we could see a flurry of crosses heading for Petar. Need someone to perhaps drag defenders out of position via a cut-in? We have fan favourite Gabriel Quak who can come on.

As a unit, we must stay compact and not give players like Bart Ramselaar space to pick out players or drift between the lines. Once again, Maxime Lestienne will be the biggest red flag, not letting him get the space to inflict any damages on our backline. That would be the main thing we need to look out for, not to mention many teams last season still gave Maxime way too much space to try placing a cross. After looking at the Sailors taking on the White Swans for the community shield, it looked like Lionel was really entrusted with the role of right back while Obren operated as a left-back. We could also see CVH or even Carmona making an appearence there.

Conclusion This article is one of the shorter ones that I have personally written but with somewhat limited information on players to lineups that might be deployed. However, it's for sure that this encounter is going to be exciting and I can't wait for the SPL to be truly back. Hougang's Back, Alright! #1H1H


Lion City Sailors vs Hougang Quick Report:

- Preferred formation 4-3-3 or 4-5-1.

-Both teams it seems have a RB injury crisis. Maybe we could exploit Lionel who doesn't bomb the right flanks. or we could see sparks fly with Stjepan vs Hafiz Nor

-LCS injuries: Zulqarnaen, no more Richairo

-Dangermen: Shawal Anuar, Bart Ramselaar, Maxime Lestienne.

- Kracjek might not be at full fitness. Anders, Kenji and Nazrul out through injury.

- Need to close down runners like Obren and prevent crosses.

— Tune in to the "Upcoming" section of our homepage after the matchday to see the latest scores. Or follow our 'hougang_hools' instagram page or 'Hougang United FC Supporters Club' to see snippets or updates on latest scores. All images used are stocks or from the hougang united instagram page unless otherwise stated.

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Will We Grab Points In This Game?

  • 0%Yeah foshure

  • 0%Tough luck!

Which battle are you excited to see?

  • 0%Shodai, Ajay & Justin VS Hariss, Hami & Song?

  • 0%Stjepan vs Hafiz Nor?

  • 0%Ensar vs Shawal part II

  • 0%Gabriel vs Lionel?

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