If success is built from the back, then there’s a clear reason why the Central Coast Mariners are languishing down the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
The Mariners have found it incredibly difficult to stop opposing teams from scoring against them, failing to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 17 matches.
It’s a worrying sign for coach Mike Mulvey as his side heads across the Tasman to take on the competition’s most in-form team Wellington.
While 17 straight games is an astonishing run without shutting out the opposition, it’s nothing on the competition-record 36 games the Mariners went between April 2015 and November 2016 with a clean sheet.
At the other end, skipper Matt Simon will be their go-to man against the Phoenix, with the veteran striker directly involved in four of their last five goals (scored two, assisted two).
The Phoenix have won three of their last four games against the Mariners at home and head into this one on the back of a seven-game unbeaten run.
If Mark Rudan’s troops avoid defeat on Saturday, they’ll set a new club-record for unbeaten games in succession.
Striker Roy Krishna (seven goals) has been their leading man in attack and his shooting accuracy of 67% is the best of any player to have had more than five shots on target in the 2018/19 Season.
PREVIEW: Phoenix v Mariners
The record Adelaide are desperate to change
The Reds may have beaten Sydney FC to win the FFA Cup 2018, but they haven’t enjoyed clashes against the Sky Blues in the Hyundai A-League recently.
Sydney FC are unbeaten in their last seven games against Adelaide United, conceding just one goal in that time.
But in saying that, the Reds have performed well on their travels lately.
PREVIEW: Sydney FC v Adelaide United
Marco Kurz’s side have won four of their last six games on the road and have not trailed at half-time in any of those matches.
It points to a concerning statistic late in games though for the Reds, having scored just three goals in the final half hour of games this season, the least of any club.
Interestingly, when it comes to successful crosses this season, these two sides are poles apart.
The Sky Blues have made just 21 successful crosses all season, the fewest of any club, while Adelaide’s 39 is second only to the Wanderers (47).
Despite the disparity, Sydney FC have outscored the Reds 24 goals to 16.
Not a happy hunting ground
Brisbane Roar might be looking for a win to turn their season around but the trip to AAMI Park to play City on Friday night won’t fill them with any confidence.
That’s because it’s been eight years since Roar have beaten City (previously Heart) at the venue, a run of 11 straight games.
And City have won six of their last eight games on their home ground, keeping five clean sheets in the process.
PREVIEW: City v Roar
Conversely, Brisbane have gone seven Hyundai A-League games since their last victory. They have never gone eight games without a win in their Hyundai A-League history.
But Roar did beat City when the two sides met earlier this season thanks to Adam Taggart’s brace and the striker has scored more goals against City than any other club.
Dimi the man from distance
Newcastle Jets attacker Dimitri Petratos is one of the most powerful strikers of the ball in the Hyundai A-League.
And the classy playmaker likes to try his luck from long range regularly. Petratos has had 37 total shots from outside the box this campaign, 15 more than any other player in the competition.
In fact, the Jets have attempted 83 shots from outside the box in 2018/19, the most of any club.
They’ll hope to convert those shots into goals in this one if they are to snap their winless run in games outside of NSW, which currently stands at five.
PREVIEW: Victory v Jets
While Victory’s form has been patchy over the last few weeks, they have won three of the last four games between the two clubs, including last season’s Grand Final.
Kevin Muscat’s men have won two on the bounce against the Hunter club but neither of these teams has ever won three consecutive matches against the other.
Without star import Keisuke Honda, Victory may look to Terry Antonis to be their creator, with the midfielder one of just two players (with Perth Glory’s Neil Kilkenny) to have made at least four assists and scored at least three goals this season.
Wanderers to take a point from the west?
A look at the table and the recent form guide would suggest Sunday’s game at HBF Park would be a stroll in the park for Perth Glory.
But four of the last seven games between these two clubs has ended all square, including earlier this season in a 1-1 draw in Perth.
PREVIEW: Glory v Wanderers
Although, the Wanderers haven’t managed to take all three points back from the west in their last seven visits.
Despite their struggle for results, Markus Babbel’s Wanderers have still created a stack of chances in almost every match this season.
In fact, 5% of all their touches this season have been inside the opposition box, which is the highest proportion of any team in the Hyundai A-League.