Stats preview: Victory on Red-alert for Adelaide’s Mileusnic

Nothing but a win will do for Melbourne Victory in their Good Friday Original Rivalry clash with Adelaide United if they are to have any hope of finishing in the Hyundai A-League's top-two.

To get all three points they will need to halt the progress of winger Nikola Mileusnic, who has been the Reds’ main man against Kevin Muscat’s side of late.

WATCH FOR FREE: How to watch the Hyundai A-League LIVE and FREE
TALKING POINTS: Who can challenge Perth Glory in the Finals Series?

Melbourne City also have plenty to play for in Wellington but will need to snap a horror scoring record on their travels, while playing in Gosford might not be a good thing for the Mariners against the Wanderers on Saturday night.

Get across all of that and more in our statistical look at the action ahead this weekend.

Mileusnic the man for Adelaide against Victory?

It’s hard to remember a clash between the Reds and Victory in recent times that has got as much on the line as this Good Friday clash.

Both sides are desperate for maximum points: Adelaide to stay in the top four and Victory to keep in touch with the leading two.

The Melbourne club head to Coopers Stadium having lost just one of their last eight visits to South Australia, although that was in the most recent meeting between the sides, when Adelaide won 2-0 in Round 12.

If the Reds can repeat that result, it would be the first time since 2012/13 they will have recorded back-to-back wins against Victory.

ORIGINAL RIVALRY PREVIEW: All you need to know ahead of Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
HALLORAN: 'It's not like Marco getting the sack means we don't want to win the final'

And their form is decent as well, unbeaten in their last three games, while winning four of the last six in front of their home fans.

Kevin Muscat will need to have a plan in place to stop Adelaide flyer Nikola Mileusnic, with the winger directly involved in three of the last four goals the Reds have scored against Victory (1 goal, 2 assists).

But the defending champions often save their best form for this stage of the campaign.

They boast the best shot conversion rate (16%) in the Hyundai A-League this season, almost double that of the Reds (9%).

Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory, Friday 7.50pm (AEST)

WATCH: Mileusnic puts one on a plate for Craig Goodwin

Sky Blues out to maintain Glory’s Sydney struggle

Perth Glory may be riding high after securing a historic premiership last weekend, but it has been a while since they enjoyed a trip to the Harbour City.

Glory’s last five visits to take on the Sky Blues on their home turf have ended with defeat every time.

Perhaps even more telling is the overall score in that time: an astonishing 19-1 in Sydney's favour.

But in saying all that, this is a very different Perth outfit under Tony Popovic, especially away from home.

TOP-OF-THE-TABLE CLASH: A preview of Sydney FC v Perth Glory
NO REGRETS:
 Brosque says there's nothing he'd change in his career

Glory are currently on a 14-game unbeaten run on their travels and need to avoid defeat in just two more away games to equal Brisbane Roar’s record of 16 consecutive games back in 2010/11. 

Defending set pieces could be key for Perth getting a result in Kogarah, with the Sky Blues scoring a league-high six goals from corners in 2018/19.

Perth skipper Diego Castro is one man who will have a bit of extra motivation on Thursday night.

The Spanish maestro has scored against every other Hyundai A-League club besides Sydney FC. Can he end that drought at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium?

Sydney FC v Perth Glory, Thursday 7.50pm (AEST)

WATCH: Perth Glory get their hands on the Premiers' Plate

Gosford no comfort for struggling Mariners

Last weekend’s results confirmed the wooden spoon for the Mariners who have endured another season of woe on the Central Coast.

While the Western Sydney Wanderers have been only marginally better, hosting Markus Babbel’s side in Gosford won’t exactly fill the home side with confidence.

The Mariners have lost their last five games against the Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium, conceding 12 goals in that run.

Alen Stajcic’s men have also lost five in a row at home against all opposition, shipping 20 goals in the process.

MATCH PREVIEW: Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers
READ MORE: Why Melling wants role in Mariners rebuild

Western Sydney have improved as the season has gone on, picking up a well-deserved 1-1 draw with finals-bound Sydney FC last weekend.

The Wanderers have fired off an average of 5.2 shots on target per away game in 2018/19, the joint-most of any side in the competition along with Wellington Phoenix.

But second halves of matches have proved an issue for both of these sides throughout the campaign.

The Mariners have conceded the most second-half goals (38) of any team this season, while the Wanderers have conceded the third-most (25).

Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers, Saturday 7.50pm (AEST)

Goal-shy City up against it in Wellington

If their crosstown rivals do them a favour on Good Friday, Melbourne City could end the weekend in the top four with a win over the stuttering Phoenix in Wellington.

But that won’t be easy given recent history in this fixture and City’s shocking goal-scoring record on their travels.

Warren Joyce’s side has found the back of the net just 12 times in 13 away games this season, making them the only club to average less than a goal per game on the road in 2018/19.

When you consider that eight of those goals came in four matches, it underlines just how toothless City have been at times outside of Melbourne.

The last five games between these two sides have been won by the home team on the day, which is music to the ears of a Phoenix outfit who have lost back-to-back matches.

FINALS COME EARLY: A preview of the huge clash between the Phoenix and City
RUDE SHOCK: Rudan to depart Wellington Phoenix at season's end
WATCH: Emotional Rudan explains reasons behind his Phoenix departure

Slow starts have been an issue for Mark Rudan’s men over the last fortnight.

Wellington have shipped five first-half goals in their last two games, more than they did in the opening 45 minutes of the nine previous matches (four).

David Williams (11 goals) is enjoying a superb season for Wellington, needing just one more to equal his best-ever return in the Hyundai A-League (12 in 2013/14).

He has only ever managed one goal against City, however that was the winner in the most recent meeting between the two clubs at Westpac Stadium, in Round 16.

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City, Sunday 5pm (AEST)

WATCH: Williams' early goal sinks Melbourne City

Bautheac absence a blow to Brisbane’s hopes against Jets

Newcastle Jets have enjoyed plenty of success against Brisbane Roar over the last couple of years, and are undefeated in their last five meetings.

Four of those five games have been victories for the side from the Hunter.

And their hopes of adding to that streak have only improved with Eric Bautheac’s suspension for Roar after his late red card last weekend.

The Frenchman has been Roar’s most lethal player in recent weeks, directly involved in seven of Brisbane’s last nine goals in the Hyundai A-League (5 goals, 2 assists).

MATCH PREVIEW: Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
HOW TO WATCH: Hyundai A-League Round 26

There is no doubt who the Jets’ most creative player has been in 2018/19, playmaker Dimitri Petratos.

The 26-year-old has created 81 scoring chances this campaign, 14 more than any other player.

The 15-minute period before half-time could prove crucial in deciding the outcome of this one, especially for the home side.

Roar have scored (13) and conceded (15) more goals than any other teams in the final 15 minutes of first-halves this season.

Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets, Saturday 5.35pm (AEST)

WATCH: Bautheac's superb solo goal against Wellington