Stats preview: Le Fondre and Toivonen face off in Big Blue showdown
It’s always a massive occasion when the Big Blue rolls into town. And Saturday’s match-up at the Sydney Cricket Ground will have an added dimension with two of the Hyundai A-League’s most prolific strikers facing off.
Sydney FC’s Adam Le Fondre and Melbourne Victory’s Ola Toivonen will lock horns in an intriguing battle and while it’s unlikely they’ll come into contact, how the two 32-year-old forwards compare on the score sheet could well decide the outcome of the contest.
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How do Le Fondre and Toivonen compare?
Although Le Fondre (15) leads Toivonen (11) in the Golden Boot tally, it's the big Swede that edges the English marksman on the metric of minutes per goal.
A combination of illness and injury has restricted Toivonen's availability in patches this season (he's made just 14 starts) but his exceptional 108 minutes per goal ratio trumps Le Fondre's record of a goal every 137.9 minutes.
The Melbourne Victory man also edges Le Fondre for assists, providing three for his Victory team compared to Le Fondre's one for the Sky Blues.
When analysing big chances, which Opta define as a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Sydney FC poacher receives more of these opportunities.
Le Fondre has scored 10 of the big chances he's received this season, but has also spurned seven, while Toivonen has scored six big chances and missed three.
And, in terms of creating big chances for teammates, it is Toivonen - the focal point of Victory's attack - who comes out on top. He has provided four big chances to Le Fondre's three.
Can City find some heart?
Melbourne City might be out of sorts right now but their record under Warren Joyce against Brisbane Roar provides a big source of encouragement for Friday's clash against the Queenslanders.
City were badly beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 last Saturday and enter Friday’s 7.50pm kick off against Brisbane having won just once in their last eight outings.
However since Joyce took the reins at the club, City have won four out of six Hyundai A-League encounters against the Roar, keeping three clean sheets in that span.
They're also undefeated in their last nine Hyundai A-League matches at home.
Jets in line for historic clean sweep
Newcastle Jets are all but out of the Hyundai A-League finals race but they still have some history to play for when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday (5.35pm kick off).
The clash at McDonald Jones Stadium provides an opportunity for the Jets to do a clean sweep against Western Sydney for the first time in the club's history.
Should Ernie Merrick's side snatch an early lead the Jets might be well placed to do this, having not conceded a first-half goal in any of their last six games at the venue.
Spluttering Reds face well-oiled Phoenix machine
Much like top six rivals Melbourne City, Adelaide United have a very good record against their weekend opposition.
The Reds are undefeated in their last 10 outings against Wellington Phoenix, who they'll host at Coopers Stadium on Sunday (5.00pm kick off).
It’s there that the good news ends for Adelaide unfortunately.
Marco Kurz’s side have failed to score a second-half goal in their last six Hyundai A-League games.
They will face a Nix side that are having no trouble finding the net, having scored an astonishing 15 goals in their past three outings, dominant victories against Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets.
History beckons Mariners to glory
The Hyundai A-League ladder would suggest bottom-placed Central Coast Mariners are doomed for Sunday evening's contest against Premiers elect Perth Glory.
However, history is in fact balanced in favour of the Gosford club ahead of their 7.00pm kick off.
The Mariners have won 16 of the 21 matches played against Glory at Central Coast Stadium.
Throw in the fact Glory have never won more than three in a row against the Central Coast and Alen Stajcic’s Mariners have a glimmer of hope.