It was a tough weekend of football with some grudge matches and new rivalries calling for commitment and desire. Check out some of the key stats from Round 3.
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Adelaide came into this fixture as the team on a high but it was all really about Ange Postecoglou’s side getting their first win of the season – but it wasn’t easy for them.
Shots on goal: Victory 4 / Adelaide 5; total shots: 11 / 9
Tackles: Victory 26 / Adelaide 27; effective: 90% / 77%
Possession: Victory: 47% / Adelaide 53%
Completed passes: Victory: 388 / Adelaide 281; accuracy: 83% / 78%
Crosses: Victory 12 / Adelaide 11; corners: 5 /5
So what can we draw from these numbers? That Victory were hungry for this game, they competed on every level and matched the visitors at every level. They even beat them at yellow cards (four – two).
Adelaide just about had the best of the possession, but Victory completed more than 100 passes more than the Reds, and their accuracy was noticeably better.
Perhaps most telling is the tackling; Victory’s 90 per cent effectiveness when challenging (defined as “an intervention that is the main reason the player with the ball loses possession, whether or not the tackler ends up with the ball”) was much better than the 67 per cent against Brisbane Roar in Round 2.
Perhaps it was the return of Mark Milligan but the men in blue certainly made their challenges count, making it much harder for the Reds as a result.
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
If F3 derbies have been relatively quiet in recent seasons, this one was a throwback to the old days with some hefty challenges and plenty of passion on display.
Possession: Jets 45 % / Mariners 55%
Yellow cards: Jets 5 / Mariners 3; fouls conceded: 18 / 14
Shots on goal: Jets 3 / Mariners 6
Tackles: Jets 20 / Mariners 12; effective: 91% / 71%
Completed passes: Jets 161 / Mariners 274; accuracy: 72% / 75%
Despite getting the benefit of some contentious refereeing decisions, these stats clearly show how hard the Jets worked against their closest rivals, turning the fixture into something of a dogfight.
They ceded possession, made almost double the amount of effective tackles, conceded more fouls and got five yellow cards – although some have argued it should have been more.
The Mariners, on the other hand, made a noticeably larger number of passes and had more shots on goal. Despite Gary van Egmond’s stated desire for his team to play an open, possession-based football, the Jets were, in this game at least, out to disrupt their opponents with a more physical approach.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
The inaugural Sydney derby was a finely balanced affair, only decided on a retaken penalty. The Wanderers still didn’t score but they remain competitive.
Possession: Wanderers 49% / Sydney 51%
Shots on goal: Wanderers 3 / Sydney 4; total: 20 / 11
Tackles: Wanderers 15 / Sydney 16; effective: 88% / 89%
Completed passes: Wanderers 267 / Sydney 272; accuracy: 82% / 82%
Crosses: Wanderers 17 / Sydney 8
Despite being just three games old, the Wanderers were on par with their older neighbours on every level. Just the equality of stats from this game shows how evenly matched the two sides were, neither wanting to give an inch.
The only real difference was on crosses, with the Wanderers obviously much keener to utilise the flanks than Sydney, who perhaps are playing very centrally as they look to go through Del Piero. Given the way they have battled so far, will they need to be more expansive as the season goes on?
Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
Brisbane were unable to match their heroics of last week against Victory, as the Phoenix put up an altogether more successful resistance to the champions.
Possession: Phoenix 43% / Roar 57%
Shots on goal: Phoenix 5 / Roar 4; total: 9 / 6
Tackles: Phoenix 33 / Roar 24; effective: 77% / 71%
Completed passes: Phoenix 160 / 503; accuracy: 69% / 85%
Crosses: Phoenix 24 / Roar 9
It’s somewhat reductive to call this fixture a mismatch but that’s what it looks like on these numbers alone.
Brisbane, as we’ve come to expect, had the lion’s share of possession and completed an astonishing 503 passes, and 85 per cent accuracy.
Wellington, on the other hand, made 33 tackles – the most of any team in Round 3 – and just 160 passes – the lowest of any team in Round 3.
The difference in the way the two sides are constructed can also be seen in the crosses; the Phoenix utilised their ability on the wings to send 24 balls in the opposition are, while the Roar kept the ball mostly on the ground.
Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart
Perth’s reputation as a physical side is growing by the week and while that might not be to some people’s taste, you can’t argue Ian Ferguson’s side are good at it and their approach has made them perhaps the toughest side in the league.
Possession: Glory 48% / Heart 52%
Shots on goal: Glory 8 / Heart 1; total: 19 / 9
Tackles: Glory 19 / Heart 12; effective: 86% / 80%
Completed passes: Glory 357 / Heart 206; accuracy: 84% / 74%
Crosses: Glory 24 / Heart 13
Melbourne Heart may have just about had more of the ball, Glory certainly did a lot more with it and were deserved winners on the day. They completely out-did the visits on shots on goal, tackles, crosses and completed passes, which may surprise some.
John Aloisi said his side couldn’t take the heat – that appears to be true in more ways than one.