Fireworks expected as joint lowest scorers square off – and here's why

Just because the competition's joint-lowest scoring teams go head-to-head in Round 7, don’t expect Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar not to put on a Hyundai A-League spectacular.

In fact Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix have been threatening to go off all season and the stats, provided by our friends at Opta, back it up.

Robbie Fowler’s Roar finally found their shooting boots in a remarkable 4-3 comeback win against Melbourne City last week and, in the process, snapped the leader-leaders’ unbeaten record in 2019/20.

This week, the Queenslanders travel to Wellington Phoenix, who come out of a bye having finally got points on the board for the first time this campaign in a 1-1 draw at Melbourne Victory in Round 5. 

In 10 Hyundai A-League games, Roar and Nix have combined for a meagre total of 10 goals, but don’t let those numbers fool you into thinking this is not going to be an open, attacking contest on the other side of the ditch at Westpac Stadium.

MATCH PREVIEW: Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
MATCH PREVIEW: Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
MATCH PREVIEW: Perth Glory v Sydney FC


A top-of-the-table clash, according to the xG ladder

Brisbane sit seventh in the Hyundai A-League ladder, with Wellington rock bottom in 11th, but the alternative league table tells another story.

When you rank the Hyundai A-League clubs based on their expected goals (xG) for each game, the outlook for Phoenix and Roar is very different.

2019/20 Season



Sydney FC



Wellington Phoenix



Brisbane Roar



Melbourne City



Adelaide United



Western United



Melbourne Victory



Newcastle Jets



Central Coast Mariners



Perth Glory



Western Sydney



Astonishingly, Opta’s xG rating has Wellington as second in the ladder, and Brisbane as third.

This tells us that Roar and Phoenix have scored five goals, but they should have scored between 10 and 11 each, given the quality of their shooting chances.

Hard luck, maybe. Poor finishing, possibly. But Fowler and Talay’s stuttering starts are not down to a lack of chances created. 

If the two strugglers continue to fashion goal-scoring opportunities at the rates shown above, their goal tally is very likely to trend upwards.

MATCH PREVIEW: Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
MATCH PREVIEW: Central Coast Mariners v Western United
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Jamie Maclaren, Melbourne City

Shooting for the top

Despite scoring eight more goals, Melbourne City are remarkably behind Roar and the Phoenix in the xG ladder. 

The competition’s highest scorers have notched around three goals more than the xG says they should have, which shows some dead-eye finishing from Jamie Maclaren and company.

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that, despite being the second top real-life scorers with 11, xG leaders Sydney FC are 3.62 goals behind their expected goal tally.

That means the Hyundai A-League’s most creative team should have netted even more.

Most other teams in the division are tracking about right, within around one goal of their expected output.

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