The stat that shows Stajcic is turning the Mariners around

Alen Stajcic has instilled a newfound combative streak into his Central Coast Mariners, Perth Glory need to find a way to stop Besart Berisha, while a Wellington Phoenix youngster looks to fill the boots of Sarpreet Singh.

After a thrilling start to the new season, we look ahead to Round 2 which features a blockbuster F3 Derby and an historic first home game for new boys Western United FC.

The round kicks off with Melbourne Victory hosting Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night, while Sunday’s double-header features an FFA Cup 2019 Final preview between Melbourne City and Adelaide United, while Sydney FC host Wellington Phoenix.

We take a look at all the key stats ahead of the weekend’s action below.

TRANSFER WINDOW CLOSED! Every signing for the 2019/20 Season
HOW TO WATCH: Every game in Round 2 of the Hyundai A-League

Stajcic adds steel to the Mariners

A major focus of Stajcic’s rebuild of the Mariners centred around instilling a ferocious attitude to make his side tougher to beat.

And on the evidence of the opening round, the Gosford club are certainly on the right track.

No other side won more tackles (19) or more duels (75) than the Mariners in the opening round of the 2019/20 Season.

After winning their final home match of last season (3-1 against the Wanderers), the Mariners will hope that newfound resolve will help them register back-to-back wins in Gosford for the first time in four years.

Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets match preview

The stat that matters: The Jets have won five of their last six Hyundai A-League games against the Mariners at Central Coast Stadium, scoring an average of four goals per game in those five wins.

Newcastle Jets
The Jets have an excellent recent record in Gosford

McCowatt stepping into Singh’s creative breach

Wellington face a tough road trip to the home of champions Sydney FC on Sunday but it could be a fresh-faced 20-year-old that holds the key to their hopes.

Phoenix legend Paul Ifill heaped pressure on Callum McCowatt in the pre-season when he said the attacker isn’t too far behind starlet Sarpreet Singh, who moved to German champions Bayern Munich in the off-season.

McCowatt gave credence to Ifill’s claim by creating four scoring chances against Western United FC in Round 1, the joint-second most of any player.

Despite drawing a blank against United, Phoenix played 42 passes into the box, the second most of any team in the competition and 14 more than Sydney FC.

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix match preview 

The stat that matters: Sydney FC have won seven of their last nine Hyundai A-League games against Wellington Phoenix (D1, L1).

Callum McCowatt created four scoring chances against Western United
Callum McCowatt created four scoring chances against Western United

Wanderers desperate to snap Victory hoodoo

Western Sydney Wanderers will need to overturn a horror recent record against Melbourne Victory if they are to win the first two games of a season for the first time in the club’s history.

The Wanderers haven’t won any of their last 11 games against Victory, picking up just three draws in that period.

And their record at Marvel Stadium is also poor, winless in five games at the venue, with Victory outscoring Western Sydney 13-3.

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers match preview

The stat that matters: The Wanderers will be looking to begin a Hyundai A-League campaign with back-to-back wins for the first time ever after a 2-1 win over the Mariners in Round 1.

WATCH: Five magic moments between Victory and the Wanderers

Glory must be on Berisha alert

Saturday afternoon’s clash at GMHBA Stadium will be another historic moment for new boys Western United FC, who play their first-ever home match in the Hyundai A-League against Perth Glory.

And United’s star striker Besart Berisha will again be the man who could inspire Mark Rudan’s troops to another win, following on from his match-winner against Phoenix last weekend.

Berisha simply loves playing against Perth Glory, scoring 16 goals against them in the Hyundai A-League, the joint-second most of any player against a single opponent in the history of the competition.

If Berisha fires again, United could become just the second team in Hyundai A-League history to win their first two games.

Gold Coast United began their tenure in the competition with a three-game winning streak in 2009.

Western United v Perth Glory match preview

The stat that matters: Perth Glory have lost only one of their last seven Hyundai A-League games in Victoria (W4, D2).

WATCH: Berisha scores Western United FC's first Hyundai A-League goal

Will Maclaren help improve City’s conversion rate?

City boss Erick Mombaerts will be hoping the return of Caltex Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren helps improve his side’s proficiency in front of goal.

No team had more shots than City’s 17 in Round 1, but they were unable to get one past Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas in the Melbourne Derby.

Maclaren, who has scored six goals in four games in the FFA Cup this year, is sure to give the City attack a more impetus at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Melbourne City v Adelaide United match preview 

The stat that matters: City’s Craig Noone created a round-high six scoring chances in the season-opener.

Craig Noone
Craig Noone was City's chief creator in the opening round stalemate against Victory