Since gaining promotion in 2018, Santa Clara has usually been in and around the top half of the Liga Portugal table. The club’s best season in recent history came in 2020/21 when it finished sixth, followed by a seventh-place finish the next season. However, this year has proven worse as the Azoreans languish four points above the relegation zone with 13 games played.
Santa Clara is currently two spots above the danger zone in the 14th position with 13 points. They have lost six, drawn four, and won three matches. The team lost a crucial midfield figure in Hidemasa Morita, who moved to Sporting CP in the summer transfer window. With the Liga Portugal 2022/23 season returning to action, Santa Clara’s task in hand will be to improve their league position. Let’s now look at some stats that show how Santa Clara has performed so far this season.
Santa Clara started the season in poor fashion but has managed to gain some form recently. The team has two wins, two draws, and a defeat in their last five league matches. The viz above shows the percentile rank of the team’s stats in comparison to other teams in the league. We can observe that the team has underwhelming stats in the attacking and possession departments. Meanwhile, their stats are comparatively better in defence.
Lack of attacking threat
The 11 goals scored by Santa Clara are the joint-third-lowest in Liga Portugal 2022–23. They are underperforming their xG per match value of 0.90, with only 0.84 goals scored per game on average. Averaging 8.7 shots with an accuracy rate of 36%, Santa Clara takes among the lowest number of shots in comparison to other teams. The viz above shows the team’s shot map from this season. We can observe many of their shots missing the target or being blocked. They have also tried their luck from a distance but without much consequence. The numbers reflect Santa Clara’s lack of threat in front of the goal and their inability to convert chances.
When compared to the Liga Portugal 2021/22 season, Santa Clara scored 38 goals with an xG per match value of 1.18. They scored at a rate of 1.12 goals per match and took 10.15 shots per match, with a lesser accuracy rate of around 32%. There is an apparent decline in terms of the team’s attacking threat this season. The above viz represents Santa Clara’s overall ball progression in Liga Portugal 2022/23. We can observe the team not making much use of the central attacking zones and instead progressing up the pitch using wider areas. The Azoreans average 25.2 positional attacks and 1.9 counterattacks per match, with an efficiency rate inferior to most other teams in the league. While they have a success rate of 56% on dribbles, the number of times they attack through the central zone per match again stands low at a count of 17.
Santa Clara’s defensive department has much better numbers than their attack. They have conceded 13 goals in as many matches and have a goal difference of minus two. With one goal conceded per match on average, they are letting in goals at a much lower rate than their current average xGA value of 1.37. The viz above illustrates Santa Clara’s defensive territory in Liga Portugal 2022/23. We can see the team making lots of defensive actions in the defensive third and even inside their penalty box. They make 45 interceptions and 15 fouls per match on average. The team wins 55% of their aerial duels—a return better than the majority of the teams. Furthermore, they win 54% of their total defensive duels contested and possess a decent pressing efficiency of 47%.
In comparison to the 2021/22 season, Santa Clara conceded 54 goals throughout their campaign with a goal difference of -16. The team let in 1.6 goals per match on average, a figure much higher than their current one.
Santa Clara’s defenders have displayed their determination to keep things tight and at the back. They have blocked a total of 38 shots between them, with a total xG of 2.29 on those shots. A good chunk of the blocks were made inside their penalty box and have been crucial. This shows the commitment and willingness of the players to work hard and help their team get results.
Santa Clara will look to build on their recent form to climb up the league rankings. While they need to improve in the attacking department, they will want to continue the defensive solidarity shown by the team this season.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine