For the love of the beautiful game, hit the flipping net!

Sport

For the love of the beautiful game, hit the flipping net!

It sure is boring to have to keep talking about the lack of killer instinct in front of goal by PSL teams

Nick Said

It seems there is no end to the epidemic of low scores in the Absa Premiership, with strikers in the league again failing to set the pitch alight in the opening weeks of the campaign.
Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen said at the weekend it was “boring” to have to keep talking about the lack of killer instinct in front of goal after both sides missed excellent opportunities in the 0-0 draw with Cape Town City at the weekend.
But it is a topic that will not go away and each week we are reminded of the paucity of quality in the opposition box in the domestic league. Last season saw the fewest goals scored of any 30-game Premiership campaign‚ with just 490 in the 240 matches played‚ a touch over two per match. If you compare that with the 2016/17 season‚ where there were 538 goals scored‚ it is a significant 10% drop.And at the start to this campaign, it has been even worse, with the first 25 matches yielding only 49 goals, under two per game. Adding to the dismal statistics is the fact that six of those strikes have been own goals and a further four have been penalties, meaning just 39 goals have been scored in open play at the right end by teams, or 1.56 per match.
AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson suggested that his side’s fixture against BidVest Wits on Tuesday would be a “game of chess” and therein lies perhaps some explanation for the lack of goals. The teams know each other so well these days, there is so much analytical information on the opposition and the sides are set up so well defensively, that they simply cancel each other out. A lot of the time it takes ether a mistake or a piece of brilliance to unlock the opposition.
This is, of course, also true in the major leagues of Europe, where there is no secret to the sides anymore and it is all about who performs on the day. But the difference, perhaps, in a Spain or England, is that there are the players there who can consistently provide a touch of class to open up a defence, or create a chance out of nothing.And, perhaps the biggest difference, they are far better at finishing off the chances that are created. How often do we see a simple header put wide in the PSL, or a player blasting over the bar from six yards? The answer is every week.
Orlando Pirates have signed a coach, Frenchman Stéphane Adam, specifically to work with the club’s strikers, and while it has yet to produce results, it is a process and a positive step in trying to unlock their potential in the box.   
But it is, at times, tough viewing for the fans in a league that has plenty of potential but desperately needs to give supporters a reason to return to the stadium. In a football context goals provide entertainment, not games of chess, and it is up to coaches to find a way to provide that.

This article is reserved for Times Select subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Times Select content.

Times Select

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.

Previous Article