Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Saturday March 12, 5:15pm
Sydney FC were competitive for the first forty minutes against Melbourne City last week before conceding a goal on the break soon after a contentious decision not to send off City captain Patrick Kisnorbo. The final score of 3-0 though was fair as they certainly wilted in the second half.
Sydney are without Alex Brosque for the rest of the season and whilst he hasn’t featured a great deal this season I think this will deflate their already fragile confidence after slipping out of the top 6 for the first time this season. Since hosting the Wanderers (20/2) they line up for their sixth match in 21 days including trips to Japan, and Melbourne twice.
Wellington were put to the sword by the rampant Adelaide at home 4-0 last week though they have been good enough to beat both Melbourne City and Western Sydney (in Parramatta) over the last four rounds.
- Sydney have not played a team outside the Top Six since beating Newcastle in Round 14. Those eight matches have returned W1-D3-L4
- Sydney has recorded just two clean sheets, both against Newcastle since Round Nine after starting the season with five from eight. Their last sic matches they have faced 4.5 shots per match against 2.9 overall
- Sydney are ranked eighth for shots on goal per match for both the last six (3.3) and overall (3.8). Their conversion rate is ranked tenth and ninth
- Wellington are ranked sixth (4.33) in the last six matches and seven (4.0) overall for shots on goal per match
- Their conversion rate is basically at the league average for last six (35%) and overall (29%) and their ranking of third and fourth respectively belies their low standing in the competition.
- Away from home they have conceded an average of 2.17 goals per match
Coach Graham Arnold has admitted Sydney are down after their loss to City and whilst they will relish an easier opponent than that faced in the last few months their scoring woes will have them very nervous heading into this match.
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday March 12, 9:40pm
Perth Glory are flying recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday to make it six wins from their last seven games. Aryn Williams and Nebojsa Marinkovic came off injured but both should be OK despite the short five-day turnaround or suitably replaced by Dino Djulbic and Richard Garcia respectively.
Central Coast were uninspiring against Melbourne Victory at home losing 2-0. The fact that the Victory took until the 90th minute to confirm the win despite playing against ten men for 40 minutes is cold comfort when you consider the Mariners failed to record a single goal on target. They’ve now won just two in 21 since the first day of the season, both against Wellington. Mitch Austin will likely not head to Perth due to a niggling back complaint.
- Perth have conceded eight goals in their last six matches from just 14 shots or 57% a rate that likely won’t continue
- Perth have faced just 2.3 shots on target per match in their last six matches a vast improvement on their season average of 4.3 per match
- Perth have scored an equal high 15 goals in their last six matches at a slightly above average of 38% conversion from shots on goal.
- Central Coast have conceded 52 goals in the league, 10 more than the next worst and have averaged conceding 2.6 goals per match away from home. They’ve faced 7.2 shots on goal per match in their last 6 somehow even worse than their six per match over the entire season.
- Central Coast have managed to score in all bar one away match though only once (three v Wellington) have they scored more than one.
Perth have led at half time in six of their last seven matches and in those six have gone on to win resulting in a Perth/Perth half full double. This on top of Mitch Austin being out and the Mariners with a possible eye on a home fixture with Sydney next week makes Perth a deserved strong favourite.
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday March 13, 5:00pm
Since their 6-1 loss to Perth, Newcastle Jets have picked up 10 points from a possible 18 to give themselves a fluky chance of making the Top Six, although another loss to Perth last week has probably made that a remote chance at best. Leonardo has been the impetus behind the improved form and should play despite coming off with an eye issue in Perth.
Western Sydney were smiling after taking a 78th minute lead in Brisbane last week on the back of two quick goals. However just five minutes later they were behind again conceding two in three minutes to the Roar a result that demoted them from the top of the table.
- Newcastle have scored just 21 goals all season. Eight of those against Wellington (13 from their other 19 matches). They have scored five goals from open play (+1 Own goal, +2 penalties) in their last 6 from 2.7 shots on goal per match (league average 4.3)
- Newcastle have faced 5.2 shots on goal per match in their last six vs 5.7 per match overall
- Matches at Newcastle have seen a total of nine first half goals at 0.75 per half and 24 second half goals at two per half.
- Western Sydney have split their last six matches W2-D2-L2 with the 2-5 loss to Wellington standing out as quite an anomaly.
- Western Sydney have faced on average 5 shots on goal in their last six matches vs 3.6 overall and managed 0 clean sheets in their last nine after starting the season with six in 15.
- Western Sydney away matches have seen an average of 1 goal per half in the first half and 1.9 per half in the second half.
A low scoring tight match looks on the cards for the first half at least.