Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
Friday January 29, 7:40pm
Western Sydney Wanderers got over the top of Central Coast last week thanks in no small part to the two poor defensive errors that gifted them goals. They certainly dominated the first half but away from the two howlers and given the Mariners were reduced to 10-men they didn’t exactly dominate. Perhaps this was a hangover from the Derby loss the week before.
Melbourne City were imperious in attack scoring three fantastic goals after amassing 20 shots at goal and seven on target. Once again the conversion rate of three from seven on goal is well above the league average. They still conceded though and have managed just the one clean sheet all season against the shot-shy Newcastle Jets. Reason enough for concern as the finals loom.
I’ve taken a look at the total shots and shots on target differentials for each team which was quite interesting. All stats are the average per match with the ranking per stat in brackets.
Team Total Shots TS Conceded Difference Shots on Target SOT conceded Difference
WSW 13.8 (2) 8.8 (2) 5 (1) 5 (4) 3 (2) 2 (1)
City 15.2 (1) 14.5 (7) 0.7 (6) 5.8 (1) 6.3 (10) -0.5 (7)
I think these stats are compelling and from City’s perspective concerning with regard to the title race. However their attacking combinations and fluency really were some of the best I’ve witnessed in the Australian Domestic competition so that attacking impetus has to come at some cost, certainly their matches are not for the faint hearted and it is little wonder that 14 of 16 have had over 2.5 goals and 12/16 over 3.5 goals.
The teams have split their two matches this season with the last a 3-2 victory for City an extremely open match.
There is a forecast for a possible severe thunderstorm in the Parramatta area on Friday night. Showers are fine as they tend to speed up the tempo of matches, just be careful and if it looks to be monsoonal type rain then I would temper my bets.
Based on the above stats I can see why the market has the Wanderers favourites however I can’t help but speculate at the big odds on a City win.
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Saturday January 30, 7:30pm
Sydney FC to my eye were awful against Melbourne Victory on Tuesday night, refusing to commit any players to the attack and hoping that they could fluke a win. Really, it was negative football at its worst. Coach Graham Arnold however was lauding another solid defensive display that restricted the Victory to just two shots on goal.
Defence has been the key to Sydney’s success this season with a league low of just 2.2 shots on goal conceded per match, however their 4.2 average shots on target is superior only to Wellington and Newcastle.
Brisbane Roar have conceded four goals in each of their last two matches losing to Adelaide and Victory. They have managed just the one goal in their last three and that was a dicey penalty last week. This downturn coincided with the loss of their Olyroos contingent, James Maclaren, Brandon Borrello and James Donachie. These three return this week so it will be interesting to see if they can turn their form around. To be fair to them, they have conceded those eight goals from just 13 shots on target and ran into both opponents on good days.
The draw has thrown up an anomaly here with Sydney having just four days to recover from the trip to Melbourne whilst Brisbane have had 9 days between matches.
These teams have already played out a 0-0 at Allianz earlier this season in a match that featured just 11 shots of which just two were on target.
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
Saturday January 30, 9:40pm
Perth Glory have been going quite well of late picking up 12 of a possible 24 points after picking up just 4 from a possible 24 to start the season. They’ve had a busy January in the transfer market with key signings of Andy Keogh and Shane Lowry both available for this match though they will have to wait till next season to unleash Adam Taggart. Still on the back of some good results, a 6-1 thumping of the Jets last week and some positive investment from the owner the Glory should be heading into this match with plenty of confidence.
Melbourne Victory got over the top of a stubborn Sydney FC on Tuesday night and whilst they too were not at their best it was still a good result to back up their thumping of the Roar two weeks ago.
Perth have won 11 of their last 22 home matches including a recent win over Victory when they were well below full strength.
The Victory have managed just the two wins away from home this season against Sydney and Newcastle. Barring a good 45 minutes against the Mariners when they scored 3 goals (to draw 3-3) and a strong 90 minutes against an out of sorts Brisbane in which they scored 4 goals, the Victory have been struggling to create a lot of chances scoring just four in the six other matches that make up the second part of their season to date.
They have scored just five away goals from seven matches and managed four of those against Sydney, they’ve been held scoreless away in five of seven matches. (Note published league tables have them scoring nine in nine away matches however I have discounted the Derby at AAMI Park and Central Coast at Geelong as neutral matches).