Which Hyundai A-League club has the best front three?
The off-season recruitment of attacking talent around the Hyundai A-League has resulted in the assembly of some fearsome strike forces for the 2019/20 campaign.
There have been 107 goals scored in the first eight rounds of the season. Sydney FC and Melbourne City lead the way with 16 goals apiece, but they’re not the only teams with impressive attacks on show.
We’ve assessed three of each side's attacking weapons after eight rounds of play to see who is performing at their best, who is failing to live up to expectations and which combinations are taking us by surprise.
Sydney FC: Milos Ninkovic, Adam Le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses
Sky Blues boss Steve Corica added Kosta Barbarouses to his attack for the 2019/20 Season and is reaping the rewards as his combination with the red-hot Adam Le Fondre is producing goals aplenty for the Sky Blues.
Le Fondre has six goals to start the Hyundai A-League season while Barbarouses and Ninkovic have two apiece.
Strangely, none of Sydney’s attacking trio have an assist to their name despite creating 30 shooting chances between them, suggesting there’s plenty of room for improvement despite their strong start to the season.
Honourable mention: Alexander Baumjohann (three assists, including two against Western United in Round 8).
Melbourne City: Jamie Maclaren, Craig Noone, Javier Cabrera
Melbourne City’s front three is shaping as one of the most lethal in the competition, but their early season success has largely come down to the potent form of Jamie Maclaren.
The Caltex Socceroo has scored an astounding nine goals from just 12 shots in his four Hyundai A-League games for City this season, plus an assist for his efforts.
Meanwhile, his attacking counterpart Craig Noone is experiencing a relatively frustrating start to the season in terms of goal returns.
Despite having nine shots on target, Noone is goalless to date, but has two assists and 14 created chances to his name, while fellow winger Javier Cabrera has two assists and seven key passes from his three starts and two substitute appearances this season.
Honourable mention: Joshua Brillante (one goal, two assists).
Perth Glory: Diego Castro, Chris Ikonomidis, Bruno Fornaroli
There was much anticipation surrounding Perth Glory’s front three of Chris Ikonomidis, Bruno Fornaroli and Diego Castro combining in the 2019/20 campaign but, just like their team, the star trio have experienced a sluggish start to the campaign.
With five goals and two assists between them there’s signs of a strong partnership in the making, but they have left themselves plenty of room to improve throughout the rest of the campaign.
Fornaroli (two goals) has 12 shots on target to his name and has been unlucky not to score more throughout his first seven games in Glory colours, while captain Castro will be eager to improve on his uncharacteristically average return of one goal and one assist so far.
Melbourne Victory: Robbie Kruse, Ola Toivonen, Andrew Nabbout
Marco Kurz unleashed the frightening combination of Robbie Kruse, Ola Toivonen, and Andrew Nabbout from the start for the first time against Perth Glory on Friday night.
The trio produced just one goal – Kruse’s first of the season – but although they failed to light it up on the night, there’s plenty of potential for Victory’s front three to become one of the best in the league.
Toivonen is leading the way for Victory once again this season – he’s got five goals and two assists to his name so far. Meanwhile, Nabbout and Kruse have one assist and goal apiece as both slowly find their feet after injury layoffs.
Western Sydney Wanderers: Mitch Duke, Kwame Yeboah, Alexander Meier
The Wanderers hold the recipe to success in their frontline, but after a strong start to the campaign their strike force has been relatively subdued in recent weeks.
Wanderers captain Mitch Duke burst out of the blocks to start the season, scoring four goals in the first five rounds, but has gone goalless in the two games since.
German striker Alexander Meier has struggled to find his feet in the Hyundai A-League, scoring just one goal from seven appearances, while Kwame Yeboah has found the back of the net twice, scoring a brace against Melbourne City in Round 7.
Western United: Besart Berisha, Scott McDonald, Alessandro Diamanti
It’s been a mixed back of form for Western United in their first Hyundai A-League campaign, and much the same can be said for their attacking trio of Besart Berisha, Scott McDonald and Alessandro Diamanti, who have threatened to light up the league for brief spells this season.
Berisha leads the way for United with three goals, while McDonald and Diamanti have both created one goal and one assist apiece.
Diamanti has created 20 chances for his side to score but only one of those chances has resulted in a goal.
The Italian has been one of the most dangerous players in the league so far this season, but if Berisha and McDonald can convert more of the chances created off their captain's boot, then they could both soar up the scoring charts.
Brisbane Roar: Roy O’Donovan, Jay O’Shea, Aaron Amadi-Holloway
Brisbane Roar’s new-look attack is spearheaded by Roy O’Donovan - but it’s orchestrated by Jay O’Shea.
O’Shea has overtaken Dimitri Petratos as the league’s prime chance creator. He’s laid on 24 key passes in his first seven Hyundai A-League games and created a league-high 26 chances, but unfortunately for the Roar, O’Shea’s attacking output has only produced one assist to date.
It’s business as usual for O’Donovan who has five goals to his name and is shaping as one of the league’s top scorers for yet another season.
His strike partner Aaron Amadi-Holloway continues to adjust to life in the Hyundai A-League, having scored just once in two starts and four substitute appearances.
Newcastle Jets: Abdiel Arroyo, Dimitri Petratos, Nick Fitzgerald
Newcastle are experiencing a relatively positive start to the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League campaign despite disappointing returns from their forwards throughout the start of the season.
Panamanian international Abdiel Arroyo has had his struggles in his five starts for the Jets, scoring just one goal, while wide-man Nick Fitzgerald has failed to hit the back of the net despite dispatching nine shots on target.
Meanwhile, Dimitri Petratos has been producing his usual high standard of attacking creativity from midfield, crafting 21 chances, laying 19 key passes and notching two assists and two goals in a strong start to the campaign.
Honourable mention: Angus Thurgate (2 goals, 1 assist, 100% shooting accuracy)
Wellington Phoenix: David Ball, Ulises Dávila, Gary Hooper
Slowly but surely, Wellington’s strike force is gaining fitness, confidence and momentum, which could see them erupt through the back end of the Hyundai A-League campaign.
Gary Hooper has one goal to his name having made just one start and two substitute appearances as he continues to build his fitness.
Meanwhile, David Ball has looked every bit like a top-drawer striker and is unlucky to have just one goal to his name off eight shots on target.
But as Wellington’s strikers find their feet, creative midfielder Ulises Dávila is producing the goods. The Mexican has five goals to his name, one assist and 12 key passes, and he looks more and more like one of the signings of the season as each game passes.
Adelaide United: Riley McGree, Nikola Mileusnic, Ben Halloran
As Reds boss Gertjan Verbeek routinely rotates his focal point in attack, he seems to have settled on Riley McGree, Nikola Mileusnic and Ben Halloran as his preferred attacking three to surround his front man.
McGree is enjoying a breakout season of sorts, scoring six goals through his first seven games, taking 12 shots on target, playing nine key passes and notching two assists along the way.
Mileusnic and Halloran have commonly started in Adelaide’s wide left and right attacking positions and have excelled in their roles; Mileusnic has three goals and one assist to his name while Halloran has scored once and assisted twice in his five starts.
Adelaide’s attack has been fluid, fast and clinical throughout the start of the Hyundai A-League campaign, and these three have contributed greatly to it.
Central Coast Mariners: Daniel De Silva, Jordan Murray, Tommy Oar
Alen Stajcic will be hoping for more of an attacking output from his strike force in the weeks to come as the Mariners look to improve on a campaign in which they have shown glimpses of being a Finals Series-calibre side.
Danny De Silva and Tommy Oar look to be Stajcic’s trusted pair of wide men, while the head coach has tinkered with the focal point of his attack, playing Jordan Murray, Matt Simon and Sam Silvera through the middle at different stages throughout the season.
De Silva and Murray have a goal apiece, while Murray has two assists to De Silva’s one, but Oar has yet to score or assist a goal in his seven starts for the season.
Midfielder Milan Duric has eased the burden on the Mariners’ strike force with three goals, but Stajcic will be depending on his attacking trio to lift their game in the weeks to come if his side are to apply scoreboard pressure to their upcoming opponents.
Who do you think is the Hyundai A-League's best attacking trio? Vote below