We cast our eye over some interesting statistics and identify where the teams are excelling following the second round of the Hyundai A-League.
Friday | Adelaide United 2-2 Melbourne Victory
It was a tale of two halves in the round two opener as Adelaide United hosted Melbourne Victory in what is always a fiery clash. Adelaide got out to a 2-0 lead with goals to Cirio and Jeronimo in the first stanza as they lined up seven shots on the Victory goal. Ange Postecoglou-s troops rallied though as they fired in twelve shots on goal in the second half, with both Guilherme Finkler and James Troisi getting on the scoresheet. The Reds Osama Malik was highly involved throughout as he completed 88% of his 59 passes on the pitch. Mark Milligan was also strong at both ends of the park completing 47 passes, having 14 final third entries and making a number of key tackles in defence.
Melbourne Heart 2-2 Central Coast Mariners
If you only look at the amount of possession the Central Coast Mariners had against the Melbourne Heart you would of thought they might have strolled to victory. Graham Arnold-s side had 65% of the ball throughout the match but found themselves 2-0 down in the opening half. The Mariners piled on the pressure after the break with 70% of the ball and had six corners and eight shots on goal as they eventually pegged back the Heart to finish 2-2 after Marcos Flores scored two second half penalties.
Mariners centre back Marcel Seip was extremely effective at the back completing 98% of his passes and dispossessed the Heart attackers on numerous occasions. Fellow Dutch defender Rob Wielaert was strong for the Heart making 51 passes from the back, 4 effective tackles and 10 final third entries to help spark his side's attack.
Brisbane Roar 4-0 Sydney FC
Brisbane Roar pulled Sydney FC apart on Saturday night as they claimed a 4-0 victory. Goals to captain Matt Smith, Henrique, Jade North and Thomas Broich had fans reminiscing of their side's 36 game unbeaten streak when they were as lethal as ever in front of goal. The Roar were dominant all over the park having a round -high 17 shots on goal to the Sky Blues eight, while the home side claimed 62% of possession to ensure Sydney never had a chance in the match.
The Roar moved the ball around efficiently completing 89% of their 624 passes, while Sydney FC only managed a total 381 passes. If clubs are to break down the Roar this season they will need to ensure that they disrupt their passing patterns and take the game to them, something Sydney failed to do from the outset. The Roar moved to the top of the table as the only team to have won both their matches in the 2013/14 season and look set for a big year under Mike Mulvey.
Newcastle Jets 4-0 Perth Glory
In the only match to not produce a goal in the second round of the season, the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory both claimed their first point of the year. The Glory dominated possession throughout the first 45 minutes with 62% of the ball but could only manage two shots on goal, while the home side fired six. The possession evened out in the second half and the Glory finally started to get deeper into the Jets half. However the Glory-s ten second half shots on goal, four from Jamie Maclaren, proved fruitless, as neither side were able to break the deadlock.
Jacob Burns was effective for the Glory with 82% of his match-high 61 passes completed and 11 entries into the final third of the pitch. Scott Neville made nine tackles at the back for the Jets and helped ensure that his side got something from the match.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Wellington Phoenix
Heading to Western Sydney proved a difficult task for every Hyundai A-League team last season and many expected it to be another victory for the home side as the last season's Premiers Plate winners hosted the 2012/13 wooden spooners. Football is a funny game though and the ‘Nix left Pirtek Stadium with a much-deserved point on Sunday evening.
Buoyed by a packed house in full voice the Wanderers started the stronger and right back Jerome Polenz scored his first Hyundai A-League goal after drilling the ball low when it fell to him from a Wanderers corner. The home side had nine shots on goal in the opening 45 minutes but could not add to their lead and kill off their opponents.
Whatever Ernie Merrick said in the dressing room at half time was certainly heeded after the break. The Phoenix looked more desperate in the second half and with 11 shots on goal one was bound to go in. Jeremy Brockie scored the equaliser, latching onto a Paul Ifill through ball, moments after Wanderers keeper Ante Covic was forced to make two rapid-fire saves to keep Wellington out. Carlos Hernandez proved to be one of the best in the yellow and black again as he led his side in passes (64) and passing accuracy (91%) and made 11 entries into the Wanderers final third.
On the other side of the pitch Polenz-s movement up the park was effective, making a team-high 10 final third entries as well as a total of 49 passes. While the Phoenix only have one point in their opening two matches they have looked a much-improved side and will no doubt become stronger as the year progresses under new coach Merrick.