GPL Review: 10 lessons from matchday four

Aduana Stars went big as they romped to a 6-0 win against Inter Allies, but Kotoko continue to struggle for goals as they left it late against Eleven Wonders. And AshGold, for the first time this season, dropped points. Here are 10 things we learned from matchday four.

Hearts of Oak get the message.

The Phobians did not begin the season on a bright note, picking up a point from their opening two ties. They drew with new boys Eleven Wonders and outplayed by leaders AshGold 3-1. Since then, they have gathered themselves and won two successive games against Dwarfs in mid-week and Dreams on Sunday. The Phobians are not only winning games, they are also playing well. Patrick Razak, obviously, has been huge especially in the last two games, scoring a goal each. It's even more significant considering he's just returned from injury. Hearts are third on the log with seven points – and they look good.

Can we rely on uninterrupted power supply?

Football games anywhere on the planet is best enjoyed when it flies by without any interruptions. It is understood that Star Times want to cover games which is why some games are fixed to be played under the floodlights.

It’s a great idea, because Ghanaians and even people outside the country, can catch the games live on TV or via the StarTimes app. But when a football game is delayed for over 40 minutes, it takes away not only the excitement from the fans. It kills the beauty of the game.

Saturday's Elmina Sharks vs WAFA tie was an incredible game until the Baba Yara Stadium went dark. If we cannot rely on uninterrupted power supply, then, there is no reason for the late kick offs. This is just one “glitch”, or could be the beginning of many to come. Fans and players had to wait for such a long period just to restore power. It is not the best way to go and the future of playing games under the floodlight looks bleak.

Hunters continue to tame the Miners

Bechem United’s remarkable streak against AshGold continues. They have not lost to the Miners in any Premier League matchup since February 2015, and in the process, have managed two victories and three draws.

AshGold needed some stopping. Somebody needed to halt their winning run and Bechem United ensured AshGold did not maintain a 100% record. It was a game fiercely and furiously contested in the middle of the park, with few goal-scoring chances carved out. Both gaffers, Kobby Mensah and Charles 'CK' Akonnor, got their tactics spot on leaving no room for errors.

The only times both teams managed to get in behind the defence was when the goals were scored and they were clinically dispatched. The 1-1 draw at the Baba Yara Stadium took the hunters’ records against the Miners to four victories, five draws and only two defeats in 11 games. For every elephant, there is a hunter. Their record against AshGold is just remarkable.

Image result for kenichi yatsuhashi allies

 Inter Allies’ troubles on the road continue

The Eleven is to one club have developed an atrocious habit on their travels – they cannot win games.

The recent visit to Dormaa Ahenkro on Sunday presented an opportunity to end such an unwanted record on the road against Aduana Stars. The home side had seen nothing short of hard times in the last 21 days, losing 4-0 embarrassingly to ES Setif in the CAF Champions league, and 2-0 away at WAFA on Wednesday in the Premier League.

Psychologically, one would expect that Inter Allies would have the advantage after putting regional rivals Liberty Professionals to the sword last time out in Cape Coast. Instead, they got drubbed by the Ogya, 6-0.

This means that Inter Allies are winless on the road since September 11, 2016. Already, this season Allies have lost their first away trip, against Kotoko. Their Japanese-American boss, Kenichi Yatsuhashi, clearly has got to do something.

Allies are without a victory in their last 18 games (9L 9D) and have managed just one clean sheet in their last nine Premier League games on the road. To place a respectable position on the league table come week 30, Inter Allies must work on becoming mean defensively on the road and turn the numerous draws into wins and defeats into draws – at least.

Amos Addai impressive again

Wingers and wing forwards have become some of the most importants part of every modern coach’s retinue. They possess the ability to fashion out goal-scoring chances, score goals and stretch the opposition backline with searing pace.

AshGold's Amos Addai currently has got it all.

He is agile, comfortable on the ball in tight areas, has an eye for a pass and finishes crisply. Addai was a constant menace throughout the game against Bechem United. He drifted infield to get involved with moves often and one of such enterprising surges resulted in the quick one-two which carved out the Bechem United backline wide open. It left him yards of space to run straight through and equalise.

That move and the goal was of the highest order by any standard. He was also on fire against the Phobians last weekend and crowned that excellent outing with a goal, too. Two goals from four games is not a bad return at all and such string of fine performances surely will make his coach very proud. Addai seems not perturbed about who and how many are around him, he just has one mission: to terrorise defences.

Image result for akonnor ashgold

C.K Akonnor combines tactics with fashion

Across the globe, fans love beautiful football exhibited by coaches/managers but they even love a manager who pays particular attention to his wardrobe. The gaffer of AshGold makes sure he comes to his office well dressed and looking dapper. If you didn’t like the outfit of CK Akonnor, then, you missed out. Foreign managers elsewhere do not only endear themselves to fans with their tactical nous, their fashion sense play a big part. Names like Luis Enrique, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Arsene Wenger etc. come to mind because they take looking good as serious as coaching. Maybe, just maybe, it is time our coaches emulated that.  CK Akonnor does not only focus on tactics, strategies, formations and what not, he makes sure he steps onto the pitch looking great. We saw that in his previous stints with Hearts and Dreams FC, too.

Kotoko lack midfield creativity

Over the past two seasons it is a well-known fact that Kotoko are deficient in terms of scoring goals. This season, the same problem has reared its head. In four games already, they've laboured to score more than a goal. They cannot break teams down in whatever formation and tactics they employ. Against Inter Allies, it was evident Kotoko lacked creativity in midfield.

The engine of every team is the midfield. To score a lot of goals you need creativity from the guys behind the forwards to be at their creative and inventive best. Emmanuel Gyamfi, Jordan Opoku, Jackson Owusu, Frank Sarfo Gyamfi, Kwame Boahen etc must begin to create chances for the strikers.

Yes, Jordan Opoku scored the match winning goal against Eleven Wonders, but it was a flat performance from the midfielders with no creativity. Paa Kwasi Fabin must work on his team especially his midfielders to start being imaginative and daring. Passing sideways and backwards would not make the team score goals. Kotoko have a good squad and must get the best out of everyone. That one goal project is not good enough for a big club like Kotoko with the quality of the players they possess.

Sharks dangerous from set pieces

Scoring from corner kicks and free kicks gives any team greater chances of getting a desired results out of a game. Elmina Sharks proved against WAFA that they are such a dangerous side when it comes to set-plays.

When Richard Mpong floated in the free-kick, it looked as if WAFA had been ordered to let it go in. They had no answer to it as Benjamin Arthur headed it home. Sharks always looked threatening from corners and free-kicks throughout the game. The second goal was like the first; free-kick into the box, nodded down by Ofoe Ofotsu for Daniel Obeng Crentsil to secure their maiden win of the season.

When there are few chances created in a game, set pieces become so crucial and Sharks took full advantage of that. Full credit for exhibiting they are such a force in that department. This won’t be the last they will score from set plays. It is a warning to all.

Home teams dominant

Across the eight league centres, no away team went home with the three points. Only Medeama managed a point from the Karl Reindorf. Home teams in week four scored a staggering 17 goals against one scored by Medeama against Liberty Professionals. Aduana, the biggest winners managed 33.3% of total goals scored in all centres and 35.3% of home goals. In mid-week, Hearts of Oak were the only team to win 2-0 on the road against Ebusua and WAFA achieved same at Karl Reindorf in week two. Home teams continue to dominate on weekly basis and it is maybe a matter of time before it changed – or maybe not.

Champions respond in style

Aduana Stars have had a month to forget.

Playing in front of their own fans for the first time this season in the Premier League, they left no one in doubt as to why they are defending champions. From the blast of the whistle, they made their intentions clear. Aduana meant to annihilate and decimate their opponents to send a warning to all. It was fast and furious football and mesmerising particularly in the first half which sent the home fans to town. 

It was the team they are accustomed to and they absolutely loved it. Got the job done in the first half with Yahaya Mohammed scoring all three, and Bright Adjei, Nathaniel Asamoah and Emmanuel Akuoku scoring a goal each to complete the romp. 

Aduana Stars are unbeaten in their last 30 (W24 D6) home fixtures and stretching their unbeaten run against Inter Allies to five (W3 D1). 

6-0 against Inter Allies, the very first time they have managed to do so against any opponent in their Premier League stay. That is how to respond to adversity. Up next is Fosa Juniors from Madagascar in the Champions League. They go into the very confident especially playing in the Nana Agyemang Badu Stadium.

No automatic alt text available.