sunnuntai 3. toukokuuta 2020

Veikkausliiga 2020 squads - HJK, KuPS, SJK, Ilves, Honka & Lahti

I wrote a quick primer earlier about the average ages of Veikkausliiga squads for the upcoming 2020 season. If you haven't read that one yet, I suggest reading it before this one. In this post I will take a little closer look at the rosters of 6 of 12 Veikkausliiga teams. 

All the squad plots have been inspired by this lovely piece and I will go through the logic of the graphs quickly:

- Green area shows "peak age" which is assumed to be 25-29. This is, of course, subjective and also varies by position.

- Colour of the dot shows if the player has joined the team within last year (colour = red) or has been with the team for over a year (colour = light blue).

- White line behind the dot shows the time a player has been with the team. NOTE: this is based on data, so some players might have been on a loan last year and transferred in January 2020 so their line & dot colour would not show correctly  in the graphs.

- X axis shows the ages of the players at the end of April 2020.

- Y axis shows the share of minutes played for the team in the previous season, or in other words percent involvement in Veikkausliiga 2019. The numbers do not take into account Europa League, UCL games or Finnish Cup.

Let's start off with HJK Helsinki.

Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi, HJK (5th in 2019)

HJK's last season was a huge disappointment. The signings did not work out and for this season the roster has been revamped a lot. HJK has the most new players as percentage of the squad (only about 37% of last year's minutes return for the new season).

HJK Squad in 2020

The large number of new players is easily spotted with the numerous red dots at the bottom of the graph. HJK's team for the upcoming season is the second oldest measured by median age. The team seems to have been built heavily to "win now" as HJK squad's probably should be. 

However, it is kind of shame to see so few young players on the roster and especially youngsters who could get significant minutes this season. Most likely younger players to be featured are Lucas Lingman and Eetu Vertainen. Santeri Väänänen showed promise before his injury and hopefully can find his way on to the field as he should. Enoch Banza came back from relegated KPV where he was loaned out last year and might have hard time getting a lot of playing time in HJK's strong lineup. 

Murillo, Schüller, Atom, Riski... And that is just some of the new signings, so definitely a lot of quality. Six of the new signings are close to or over 30 years old and while they will definitely strengthen the squad for 2020 season, it will be interesting to see how the squad will look for 2021. This season is extraordinary for HJK in the sense that they will not be featured in Europe. So the team has been built with the sole goal of regaining the Veikkausliiga trophy and looks very, very likely to do just that.

Kuopion Palloseura, KuPS (1st in 2019)

KuPS returns as the reigning champions after a successful campaign. Their team sees a lot less changes than HJK as they return about 53% of last season's minutes.

KuPS Squad in 2020

The team did lose the best left back in Veikkausliiga Luis Carlos Murillo to HJK but  still have a strong squad for 2020 season. KuPS gets Urho Nissilä back on a loan from Zulte Waregem which is a very nice addition. The KuPS team is quite young but most notably lacks many older players. Ats Purje and Ville Saxman are the only players over 30. The team looks quite solid and is one of the favourites again.

KuPS will be coached by Arne Erlandsen this season as Jani Honkavaara moved to Seinäjoki after the winning the title. There was some very early news about players dislike of the new coach's methods so it will be interesting to see how Erlandsen will manage eventually.

The only young player in the squad with meaningful minutes in 2019 was Tommi Jyry. Jyry had a long history with Honkavaara, so hopefully the youngster will see minutes in the upcoming season as well with Erlandsen at the helm (or should it be at the wheel nowadays). 

Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho, SJK (9th in 2019)

SJK's season did not go according to plans and coach Eremenko was fired during the 2019 season (not a new thing around Seinäjoki). The new coach Jani Honkavaara comes from KuPS and has high expectations. The SJK coaching position has been quite unstable in the past so let's see how long Honkavaara will stick.

SJK Squad in 2020

SJK's squad has quite many "new" players according to my classification and data. However, as was pointed to me in Twitter by @Selkasauna, many of the red dots are actually players who have been at SJK at some point. So although the graph looks quite red, in reality many of the players have played together at some point. The team is quite strong and has a nice combination of experience and youth. 

The squad has three players over 32 years, so definitely not the youngest team in the league. There is a lot of young talent available though, with many players in SJK II also looking to be featured in Veikkausliiga. SJK has made an effort to persuade young players to sign with them. A big part of this is the Kuortane football high school and this is a move I like very much. Hopefully the balancing with "winning now" and playing young talent can be accomplished.

Tampereen Ilves (4th in 2019)

Ilves had a good season in 2019 and was leading the pack in the end of summer but faded a little towards the end. Ilves returns almost 90% of minutes from 2019 so the squad has remained almost fully intact.

Ilves Squad in 2020

Ilves has the second youngest team measured with median age. The team does not change much so it will be very interesting to see if they will improve this season. The squad has a lot of peak age players but also some interesting young talent. After Hilander, the next oldest players on the roster are 27 so they should have plenty of good years still in the tank. Lauri Ala-Myllymäki is a very good player to be playing in Veikkausliiga and might move abroad soon.

Tiemoko Fofana played a lot and was quite efficient (5 goals & 2 assists). He came to Ilves in 2018 from Nordsjaelland (who by the way are a super interesting team focusing on growing young talent). Yusif Moussa also played more than 60% of maximum minutes so coach Wiss did not shy from using young players. The most intriguing player on the roster might be Naatan Skyttä who had about 0.5 scoring contribution in 530 minutes at 17 years old.

FC Honka (3rd in 2019)

Honka came in 3rd place and won the Europa League playoff in 2019. That means that Honka will have something to look forward when the season eventually gets under way. Honka returns about 70% of last years minutes and coach Vesa Vasara. So stability is definitely there, however age starts to become a problem as can be seen from the plot.

Honka Squad in 2020

Honka fields the oldest squad in Veikkausliiga 2020 by almost a full year. The problems with the age structure can be easily seen as solid Robert Ivanov was the only player under 29 who played more than 50% of available minutes. Ivanov is a good player but I cannot easily get over the fact that Honka has about zero peak age players and not many youngsters either. Arlind Sejdiu played only 320 minutes last year but was super efficient. Would be interesting to see how he performs with more responsibility and playing time. Otto Ollikainen is another interesting young player who comes over from HJK. Let's see if he gets any minutes this season after being on the verge of Veikkausliiga for a while.

Honka is again one of the favourites according to bookmakers but to me the squad age profile is just messed up. There does not seem to be much of a continuity plan in place and the roster building is not to my liking. I mean, they did sign some younger players in the offseason but still. Of course, now they have the opportunity to play in Europe with an experienced squad, but we should expect a some turnover in the squad during the next few years.

FC Lahti (8th in 2019)

Lahti ended up in 8th place and returns about 50% of their minutes from 2019. The new coach is Ilir Zeneli who previously coached FC Espoo.

Lahti Squad in 2020

Lahti is intriguing to me personally because they rely a lot on young players. It will be interesting to see how things go with Zeneli as the new head coach. In 2019 Lahti had the most players U22 with more than 5% of minutes played (see table below) and based on Zeneli's history this will most likely not change for the upcoming season. The squad is the youngest in Veikkausliiga by about a half a year measured with median age.  

Veikkausliiga U22 players with >5% involvement in their current team

There are some interesting new faces (Vahid Hambo, Kari Arkivuo to name a few) this year. Also "new" face in Mikko Kuningas who returns to Lahti after some time in Inter Turku. Lots of new stuff with the new coach and players so not fully sure what to expect. The bookmakers are not expecting much but should be interesting season never the less.

Ei kommentteja:

Lähetä kommentti