Stats Review: Sydney Derby anomaly Wanderers took advantage of
Kosta Barbarouses is still chasing his first competitive goal since making his move to Hyundai A-League Champions Sydney FC in the off-season.
And the New Zealand international must still be wondering how he didn’t break that duck in Saturday night’s pulsating Sydney Derby against the Wanderers.
The Sky Blues fell to their first defeat of the campaign – going down 1-0 at Bankwest Stadium – with Barbarouses guilty of squandering a number of chances.
The first of those came just after the half-hour mark when he was picked out by Milos Ninkovic just inside the box, but fired wide of the target.
He went even closer just after the break, his glancing header from Brandon O’Neill’s corner hitting the post and rolling across the line into the grateful arms of keeper Daniel Lopar.
Watch the video at the top of the article as we breakdown Barbarouses' chances from the Derby as well as Lopar's heroics for the Wanderers.
READ MORE: What are expected goals?
But Barbarouses’ best opportunity came 15 minutes from time when Ninkovic sent him clear on goal but his finish was blocked by the legs of Lopar.
According to Opta’s Expected Goals (xG), a player should convert that chance 50% of the time.
And when you add all of Barbarouses’ chances together, he had an xG of 1.03 for the match, but failed to find the net.
When you consider the 29-year-old attacker has never had a higher xG in a match without scoring, it underlines the difficulty he is having in front of goal right now.
Barbarouses' current plight is similar to what he experienced in the early rounds with Melbourne Victory last season.
He failed to find the net in any of the first five games in 2018/19, eventually ending the drought in Round 6 when teammate Keisuke Honda unselfishly allowed him to take a penalty in Victory's 4-0 rout of Wanderers.
It kick-started Barbarouses' most prolific season in the Hyundai A-League, finishing the campaign with 15 goals, including a run of nine goals in nine games between Rounds 14-22.
You can be sure Sky Blues boss Steve Corica will be hoping his prized recruits first goal isn't far away and it could just spark another fruitful period for the speedy attacker.
Of course, Wanderers’ Swiss keeper Lopar deserves plenty of credit for keeping Barbarouses and his Sky Blues teammates at bay.
While other gloveman across the Hyundai A-League over the weekend made more saves than Lopar, it was the quality of his stops that really stood out.
That one-on-one save from Barbarouses ranked among the highest xG in Round 3, so his ability to keep it out and preserve his clean sheet made him standout from the other gloveman over the weekend.
McGree in rare scoring form
While Barbarouses is struggling in front of goal right now, one player who is enjoying a purple patch is Adelaide United starlet Riley McGree.
The 20-year-old easily outperformed his xG (0.72) in Round 3, scoring a second-half double as the Reds beat Newcastle Jets 2-1.
McGree’s heroics included scoring direct from a corner, curling his cross over keeper Glen Moss and into the far corner of the net, with his xG for that strike a staggering just two percent.
It proves the rich vein of form the Reds playmaker is currently in.
McGree has scored five goals in his last five games in both Hyundai A-League and FFA Cup, making him a key figure in the plans of coach Gertjan Verbeek.
Hyundai A-League as close as ever
The Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season is shaping as being as tight as ever, with the results so far this campaign indicating just that.
In fact, stats guru Andrew Howe pointed out that a new record for ‘close games’ in the Hyundai A-League was set over the weekend.
Including last season’s Grand Final, there has now been 16 consecutive matches in the Hyundai A-League that have either finished in draws or by no bigger than a one-goal margin.
Berisha enters the top 10
He’s the greatest goal-scorer in Hyundai A-League history and Besart Berisha is now chasing down the top goal-getters in Australian national league history.
Berisha’s goal in Western United FC’s 2-1 loss to Melbourne City on Sunday took his overall tally to 118 goals in just 189 games Down Under to sit 10th overall in all-time records.
While he’s closing in on the likes of Glory great Bobby Despotovski (123), Victory legend Archie Thompson (129) and John Kosmina (133), ‘Bes’ has a bit of work to do to get to Damien Mori’s tally of 240 league goals.
Three players reach impressive milestones
Perth Glory picked up their first win of the campaign by beating Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
It was the perfect way to mark milestones for a couple of their stars, with skipper Diego Castro sensational in his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance for the club.
Right-back Ivan Franjic played his 200th game in the Hyundai A-League from his time at Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City and Glory.
Former Glory - and now Brisbane Roar - defender Scott Neville also brought up his 200th appearance in the competition in his side's 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.