Liga Portugal will stage a clash between two teams standing at the extreme ends of the table when Pacos de Ferreira and Benfica face off Thursday night. The hosts are having an extremely disappointing season and sit at the bottom of the table in the 18th spot with only six points from 17 matches played. The visitors, on the other hand, are leading the title race with a four-point lead at the top of the table. Pacos de Ferreira will be keen to perform well at home and at least give the leaders a tough game. Meanwhile, Benfica will be eager to take maximum points and continue with their momentum for the title charge. Below are some stats looking at the likelihood of the outcome of this Liga Portugal match.
This season, Pacos de Ferreira have been one of the worst performers in the top division. The viz above shows the percentile rank of the team’s stats in comparison to other teams in Liga Portugal. It can be observed that Pacos de Ferreira is struggling in defence. They possess a poor rank with respect to opposition xG per shot, recoveries, and pressing success. They are somewhat decent in terms of possession, performing reasonably in terms of final third entries and possession rate. Meanwhile, the team is also struggling in attack, with a low rank for goals and shots per 90.
This season, Benfica are the best performer in Liga Portugal. From the viz above, we can observe that the Eagles top the percentile rankings in all departments: attack, possession, and defence. Notably, the team has an impeccable rank in terms of xG, key passes, final third entries, xGA, and more. Benfica will aim for all three points against Pacos de Ferreira and preserve its advantage at the top of Liga Portugal.
The teams in attack
Pacos de Ferreira have only scored ten goals, the fewest in Liga Portugal 2022–23. They score an average of 0.59 goals per match and average an xG rate of 0.82. They take 9.82 shots per match with 37.2% accuracy. The viz above shows the team’s shot map from this season. We can see that a lot of their shots from the penalty area have missed the target or have been blocked. The numbers reflect their lack of quality in front of the goal and their inability to finish their chances.
Alternatively, Benfica have scored the most goals (43) in the current season of Liga Portugal. Their xG tally per match of 2.43 is also the highest currently, and they score at the rate of 2.53 goals per match. They take an average of 17.12 shots per match and have a 38.1% accuracy rate. From the shot map viz above, we can see that Benfica have taken an overwhelming majority of the shots from dangerous areas inside the penalty box. This highlights the quality and ability of Benfica’s attacking line and explains their success in front of goal this season.
The viz above compares the two teams based on the number of entries made into the opposition penalty box per 90 minutes. Benfica are the team that enters the opposition penalty area most frequently. They make 23 penalty area entries per match and are ranked at the top. Pacos de Ferreira, on the other hand, ranks second from the bottom with only ten penalty area entries per match.
The teams in defence
The above viz shows the defensive territory of the home team. It indicates that Pacos de Ferreira plays with a deep defensive line and are involved in a lot of defensive actions in the defensive third, making 44.32 interceptions and 75 recoveries per match. They concede 1.88 goals and 13.9 shots per match to their opponents. The team has a 57.7% win rate for defensive duels and a 44% win rate for aerial duels.
Comparatively, Benfica plays with a much higher defensive line and commits defensive actions high up the pitch, especially on the right side. Roger Schmidt’s side makes 32 interceptions and 83 recoveries per match. They concede 0.71 goals and six shots on average to their opponents. Benfica have a win rate of 64% for defensive duels and almost 50% for aerial duels.
Goncalo Ramos is having an excellent season with Benfica. He is the league’s leading goal scorer this season with 12 goals in 15 appearances and has provided one assist as well. He averages 3.56 shots per match with an accuracy rate of 47.5%. The 21-year-old will be keen to continue his prolific scoring run against a struggling Pacos de Ferreria side.
Another player who has been a revelation for Benfica this season is Enzo Fernandez. He has slotted seamlessly into the team and has given strong performances from midfield. The Argentine has created nine big chances, registered five assists, and scored one goal. For Pacos de Ferreira to get a positive result, their play will have to keep Enzo Fernandez from imposing his authority in midfield.
The home team is expected to be without Luiz Carlos because of a long-term injury. Apart from that, the rest of Pacos de Ferreira’s squad seems ready to play.
Meanwhile, the visitors are likely to miss the services of Rafa Silva, who has picked up a muscle injury. Other than that, the rest of Benfica’s players should be available for selection.
This will be another must-win fixture for Benfica to maintain their buffer at the top of the Liga Portugal standings. They will aim to secure maximum points and continue with their aggressive charge for the title. Pacos de Ferreira, on the other hand, will be motivated to interrupt the league leaders’ progress and build some momentum of their own to ascend from the relegation zone.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine