MKFC 2023 mid-season report

Melbourne Knights hit the halfway mark of the 2023 season having enjoyed their best ever start to an NPL Victoria campaign.

The 27 points picked up so far by Ben Cahn’s side is the best return by a Knights side at this stage of the season since the commencement of the NPL in 2014, bettering the previous record of 24 points set in 2015 by the only Knights side to have reached the NPL finals series.

Twelve new players arrived at the club along with new Head Coach Ben Cahn ahead of the club’s 70th anniversary season with the new look side wasting little time making their mark on the league with their high energy, possession-based brand of football.

Knights remain unbeaten at home this season with their seven-match run currently equalling the club’s longest undefeated home streak in a single NPL Victoria season.

Knights are also currently on the club’s longest NPL Victoria unbeaten run (six matches) following last weekend’s 5-0 win over Heidelberg United.

Friday’s 5-0 win over the Warriors, which was Knights first league victory over Heidelberg since 2015 and their equal biggest margin of victory in an NPL Victoria match is perhaps the sides most impressive result to date.

Knights currently sit fourth of the NPL Victoria league table, seven points shy of league leaders Avondale but with a ten point buffer over seventh placed Altona Magic as they seek a return to finals football for the first time since 2015.

In the cup Knights are just two wins away from a fourth Australia Cup national rounds appearance with a Preliminary Round 6 away tie against Bentleigh Greens coming up next week.

Leading the scoring for Knights in the league this season are Gian Albano (6), Ciaran Bramwell (5), Mohammad Sumaoro (4) and Gevaro Nepomuceno (3).

Albano, who is Knights all-time leading NPL Victoria scorer with 32 goals has formed a formidable pairing with strike partner Ciaran Bramwell with the pair leading the league in combined expected goals and assists (Albano 9.43 & Bramwell 8.98).

Albano also tops the chart in dribbles (11.62 per 90), key passes (11), touches inside the penalty area (72) and progressive runs(1) (81).

Ben Cahn’s blueprint has certainly made it’s mark on the league with Knights leading the competition in completed passes (6710), passing rate(2), forward passes and deep completions(3) while their average of 57.87% possession per match is only bettered by Avondale.

Steve Whyte, who followed Cahn from Olympic to Somers Street has been crucial to this approach leading the competition in completed passes (1027), passes to final third(4) (161) and through passes (19).

Whyte is one of four Knights players in the league’s top five for passes completed alongside Josh Phelps (838), Anthony Duzel (761) and Corey Sewell (738) with Duzel and Sewell also in the league’s top five for passes to final third and progressive passes.

Defensively Knights have the league’s fourth stingiest defence, conceding just 16 goals so far while Joey Franjic has made the most blocks of any player this season (17).

Knights kick off the second half of their 2023 campaign at home on Friday night in a Croatian Derby against St Albans where a win would see them break the pair of unbeaten records and equal their points tally from 2022.

(1) Progressive Pass / Progressive Run: A pass or run that moves the ball considerably forward. The minimal requirement for a progressive path progression towards opponent goal is:

  • 30 metres, if starting and finishing points there are in own half
  • 15 metres, if starting and finishing points there are in other halves
  • 10 metres, if starting and finishing points there are in opponent half

(2) Passing Rate: Passes per minute

(3) Deep Completion:  A pass (excluding crosses) that was received in a 20-meter radius from the opponent goal line.

(4) Pass to final third: A pass to a zone within 35 meters from the opponent’s goal line.

All data presented in this article is sourced from Wyscout.

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