King of Geelong: The Berisha stat that will have City on high alert

Western United FC are getting set for their first Melbourne Derby in the Hyundai A-League when they take on City at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.

And in striker Besart Berisha, Mark Rudan’s side have an ace up their sleeve.

Berisha enjoys a phenomenal scoring record at the Geelong venue.

While he didn’t find the net in the draw with Perth Glory last weekend, the veteran attacker has netted five goals in as many games at the venue.

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In fact, he’s the only player in the Hyundai A-League to have scored multiple goals at GMHBA Stadium.

The stat that matters: Melbourne City have made the most successful passes (872) of any team in the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season, 51 more than the next best Perth Glory (821).

PREVIEW: Western United FC v Melbourne City

Are the goals set to flow for Wellington?

It’s been a tough start to life as a head coach for Wellington Phoenix boss Ufuk Talay, with his side still searching for their first points of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season.

The Kiwi outfit have scored just one goal in 180 minutes this season in back-to-back losses to Western United FC (1-0) and Sydney FC (2-1).

But their disappointing return in front of goal is at odds with the number of times Phoenix have had the ball in the opposition penalty area in the first two rounds.

Only Sydney FC (63) have had more touches in the opposition box than the Phoenix (62) this season, with premiers Perth Glory a distant third (44).

If they can keep those numbers up you would think it’s only a matter of time before the goals begin to flow. And with star recruit Gary Hooper set to make his debut against Glory on Sunday, it could begin this weekend.

The stat that matters: Phoenix are undefeated in their last four Hyundai A-League matches at home against Perth (W2, D2).

MATCH PREVIEW: Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
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Will O’Donovan break his Victory drought?

Brisbane Roar hitman Roy O’Donovan has proven to be one of the deadliest strikers in the Hyundai A-League in recent seasons.

But there’s something about playing against Melbourne Victory that doesn’t agree with the prolific frontman.

Now in his fifth season Down Under, Victory remain the only team that O’Donovan has never managed to find the net against, in nine previous matches against the Navy Blues.

If Roar is to snap a three-game losing streak against Victory at Suncorp Stadium when they two sides meet there on Friday night, O’Donovan may need to end that curious hoodoo.

The stat that matters: This is the fourth successive Hyundai A-League season Victory have been winless after the first two rounds (D1, L1). They went on to pick up a win in their third regular season game twice on the previous three occasions. (D1).

MATCH PREVIEW: Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory

Roy O'Donovan says there are big things coming for Brisbane Roar
Roy O'Donovan is chasing his first-ever goal against Melbourne Victory

Desperate defence sparking the Wanderers

If there’s one area that Markus Babbel was keen to strengthen at the Wanderers in the off-season it was his side’s defensive strength.

In came the likes of Dylan McGowan and Matthew Jurman at the back, while defensive midfielder Pirmin Schwegler has added steel in the middle of the park.

And it’s had the desired effect with the Wanderers making the most clearances (64) of any team so far this season, including 20 more than Saturday night’s opponents Sydney FC.

It’s helped the club win their first two matches of a season for the very first time and if they can overcome the Sky Blues it will be the first time since April 2017 they have managed three successive victories.

The stat that matters: Sydney FC have lost only one of their last 16 Hyundai A-League matches against the Wanderers (W10, D5).

MATCH PREVIEW: The Sydney Derby
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Dylan McGowan has been a key contributor in the Wanderers' perfect start to the season
Dylan McGowan has helped Wanderers look much stronger in defence this season

Jets struggling to go the distance

There’s nothing that excites the fans and gets the pulses racing more than a cracking goal scored from outside the box.

But Newcastle Jets fans have been starved of that emotion for some time, with only one of the club’s last 45 goals scored from outside of the 18-yard box.

All of the Jets last 15 goals have come from inside the box, meaning if Adelaide United’s defence can keep Ernie Merrick’s side away from the penalty area on Saturday, it will go a long way to winning the match.

One thing in the Jets’ favour though is their recent record in the Hunter against the Reds, losing just one of the last six games between the two clubs at McDonald Jones Stadium (W2, D3).

The stat that matters: Adelaide United have lost their opening two games of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season. They have never previously opened a campaign with three successive losses.

MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United
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