If the stats truly tell the story, then round four tells us Perth Glory are not the thugs they are made out to be.
Another big weekend of Hyundai A-League football with some rather contentious results and very interesting contests
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Both sides are searching for their best form but the Jets appear to be much closer to theirs than the now last placed Victory. Possession: Jets 55% / Victory 45% Total shots: Jets 14 / Victory 10; On target Jets 5 / Victory 6 Tackles: Jets 35 / Victory 28; effective: Jets 73% / Victory 74% Completed passes: Jets 350 / Victory 340; accuracy: Jets 83% / Victory 80%
What we can see from these numbers is, to state the ridiculously obvious, that Newcastle were better than Melbourne.
The Jets had more possession, more shots, made more tackles and more passes. That said, the margins were very fine, and as we saw during the game there were probably only some key details that gave the Jets the three points - such as Emile Heskey-s finishing.
Despite their current form and place on the table, the stats suggest the Victory aren-t far away from their rivals. But in a competition as even as the A-League, those small differences can have a big impact.
Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
A match skewed somewhat by refereeing decisions, it would be good to have a breakdown of the numbers before and after Ben Sigmund-s sending off. But as things stand...
Possession: Adelaide 57% / Phoenix 43% Total shots: Adelaide 10 / Phoenix 9; On target Adelaide 7 / Phoenix 2 Tackles: Adelaide 10/ Phoenix 9; effective: Adelaide 59%/ Phoenix 64% Completed passes: Adelaide 345 / Phoenix 177; accuracy: Adelaide 80%/ Phoenix 73% Crosses: Adelaide 15/ Phoenix 9
Given Sigmund was sent off in the 76th minute, one could argue that the stats from this fixture would have been fairly even, until going down to 10 men three Wellington-s game plan into chaos
That final 15 minutes would certainly have given Adelaide the time and space to exert their dominance over the visitors; the Reds- possession was much higher as were their number of passes (although Wellington rarely outpass their opponents) and crosses.
But it-s interesting to note that the two are fairly even in shots and tackles, reflecting perhaps the evenness of the game before the red card. The fact that Adelaide-s numbers here haven-t spiked also suggests that they didn-t quite dominate the game as much as the scoreline says; it certainly looked like that watching the match.
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
It was billed as the biggest mismatch in the league but the underdogs showed the champions - and the league as a whole - that they can-t be taken lightly.
Possession: Roar 57%/ Wanderers 43% Total shots: Roar 12 / Wanderers 19; On target Roar 7/ Wanderers 9 Tackles: Roar 18/ Wanderers 25; effective: Roar 78%/ Wanderers 66% Completed passes: Roar 511/ Wanderers 206; accuracy: Roar 86%/ Wanderers 73% Crosses: Roar 11 / Wanderers 12; corners: 2 / 11
Possession? Roar on top. Completed passes? Roar on top. Everything as expected? Nope...
The Wanderers made a significantly higher number of tackles than Brisbane, which shows how much pressure they were applying to the champions. Their effectiveness was much lower than the Roar-s - but that stat is defined as the player with the ball losing it; the Wanderers weren-t always taking the ball from Brisbane, instead snapping at their heels and disrupting their play.
Western Sydney also outdid their hosts on shots and shots on target; when was the last time a visiting team did that at Suncorp?
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Another big game that was altered by a red card, before which Perth looked the better of the two sides. Possession: Sydney 43%/ Perth 57% Total shots: Sydney 14 / Perth 11; On target Sydney 8/ Perth 5 Tackles: Sydney 13/ Perth 29; effective: Sydney 57%/ Perth 91%; fouls conceded: Sydney 23 / Perth 9 Completed passes: Sydney 255/ Perth 363; accuracy: Sydney 81%/ Perth 83% Crosses: Sydney 4 / Perth 23
We knew Perth were an ultra-competitive football team (is that just a euphemism for “physical”?) but it-s no wonder Sydney found it tough going at ANZ Stadium.
Glory bossed the possession - and absolutely killed it in the tackle, making 29 to Sydney 13, with a ridiculous 91% effectiveness. Almost every time a Sydney player was tackled, they lost the ball.
Glory also easily outpassed their hosts, yet again making a mockery of the suggestion that Ian Ferguson-s side rely on using their strength more than the ball.
And look at the comparison of crosses; we know Glory have good wide men and they certainly tried to make the most of them. And yet again, Sydney declined to send the ball in from the flanks, a recurring stat this season for the Sky Blues. This has to be taken in the context that they-re trying to play the ball on the ground and through Del PIero in the middle - but despite the result Sydney haven-t been playing well and could certainly use some variety in their play before their luck runs out.
*Note: we decided not to analyse the Heart-Mariners game, as the stats only backed up the equality of the game, and few insights could be drawn.