In each edition of the Fantasy A-League Focus I’ll be taking a look at some of the key issues emerging in the A-League and analyse their implications for fantasy coaches.
This weekend’s A-League action clashes with an official FIFA international window, meaning that A-League clubs are forced to give up any players called up by their national teams. While other leagues like the EPL take a break during international windows, the A-League continues, meaning teams, fans and fantasy coaches are robbed of some of the top players in the league. The Socceroos, Olyroos and All Whites are all playing matches in this window. The players who will miss Round 6 are:
Brisbane Roar – Matt McKay, Corey Brown, Jamie Maclaren
Melbourne City – Aaron Mooy
Melbourne Victory – Jason Geria, Giancarlo Gallifuoco, Scott Galloway, Connor Pain, Kosta Barbarouses
Perth Glory – Josh Risdon
Sydney FC – Andrew Hoole, Chris Naumoff, Shane Smeltz
Wellington Phoenix – Tom Doyle, Louis Fenton, Michael McGlinchey, Alex Rufer, Logan Rogerson
Wellington’s Roy Krishna will play for Fiji this week however he is expected to participate in the Friday night game against Adelaide.
El Tuna leads the way
As noted in previous editions of the Fantasy A-League Focus, shots on target is a reliable indicator of whether players will keep scoring, start scoring, or stop scoring in the coming weeks.
If you have Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli in your side this is good news, as not only does he lead the league in goals (5) but also he’s had 9 shots on target, at least 2 more than any other player.
If you don’t have him it may not be a given that you bring him in this week, however. With Aaron Mooy missing through Socceroos duty City may find it more difficult to create scoring opportunities for their prolific forward. Mooy indeed leads the league in shot assists, with 15 – 1 more than Michael McGinchey and 9 more than Fornaroli, the next best City player in this statistic.
City also face the Wanderers this round. Western Sydney have allowed only 10 shots on target so far this season; only Sydney FC have allowed fewer, while City themselves have faced 30 shots on target (only the Mariners have allowed more). In other words, don’t expect City to score four against the Wanderers – especially with Mooy out – while they would have to do exceptionally well not to concede.
- After producing 16 shots on target in the first 3 rounds Wellington have hit a wall. In the last 2 rounds the Phoenix hit the target just 4 times, and were well beaten by the Victory before scraping a draw with the Mariners. Roy Krishna hasn’t had a shot on target in that time. With McGlinchey absent this week Wellington may against struggle against an Adelaide side they’d be expected to defeat on current form.
- Speaking of Adelaide, the return of Bruce Djite seems to have sparked their attack back into gear. They had 8 shots on target against Melbourne City last Thursday and scored twice, with Sergio Cirio cutting inside from his favoured left wing position to score the Reds’ first non-own goal of the season. One player Djite’s return doesn’t help is Craig Goodwin, who has been shifted to left back now that Djite is fit. Goodwin did not hit the target against City, though he did provide 3 shot assists – expect more of the latter rather than the former if he remains at left back.
- The clash between Newcastle and the Mariners on Saturday looms as an interesting one, as on form the Jets would be expected to win. However, they have been extremely clinical, scoring 7 goals from 13 shots on target (7 of which have been via Milos Trifunovic) – even Perth, who have played 1 game less, have hit the target more. The Mariners have also scored 7 times, though from 22 shots on target. Both teams have allowed many shots on target by their opponents, with the Mariners being the worst in the league in this statistic (34) and the Jets the equal 2nd worst (30). However, the Mariners have conceded 11 goals while the Jets have only copped 6 – perhaps the loss to the Wanderers was the first sign that their luck is about to turn for the worse as they surely cannot continue to give so many opportunities to their opponents without conceding more goals. The likes of Roy O’Donovan (7 shots on target for 3 goals) and Fabio Ferreira (6 shots on target for 2 goals – though 4 came in Round 1 vs. Perth) may capitalise for the Mariners.
- Despite a promising start to the season the Wanderers picked up a solitary point from their first 3 games. They’ve since won both games and will look to continue their run against a Mooy-less City this round. Despite their irrelevance in fantasy in previous seasons, don’t be afraid to look at bringing in some Wanderers players. They’ve had the 3rd most shots on target (23) and allowed only 10 by their opposition (only Sydney have allowed less). Dario Vidosic has played more than 60 minutes just twice, however he has the equal most shots on target (6) for a midfielder along with Mooy. Mitch Nichols has scored twice from 4 shots on target (3 coming against Newcastle), which suggests Vidosic has the better upside once he is playing 70-90 minutes regularly. Don’t expect any improvement from Federico Piovaccari though – he’s hit the target just twice in 5 games, playing at least 75 minutes in all of them.
- The Victory would be expected to provide a solid test of Sydney FC’s defences this week, though they are missing Kosta Barbarouses. Sydney have conceded only 2 goals this season, and are the only team in the league who have allowed less than 10 shots on target (7), making their defenders and keeper Vedran Janjetovic reliable picks. The Victory themselves have only allowed 12, though they have played one game less and will be missing Jason Geria. In the last 3 games between the sides Sydney have conceded 9 goals (3 goals each in 3 games) and the Victory 6 (3 goals twice and a clean sheet in the Grand Final). However, it would certainly go against current (defensive) form if this match was a shootout like the two 3-3 draws last season. Nonetheless, Sydney have had the 2nd most shots on target in the league (24); but they have only scored 6 goals, meaning they will likely start scoring more regularly if they continue to frequently hit the target. Shane Smeltz is absent meaning either Alex Brosque (6 shots on target, 1 goal) or Matt Simon (2 shots on target – albeit from very limited minutes, 2 goals) will lead the line. The Victory have had 18 shots on target (remembering they have played 1 game less), with Barbarouses hitting the target the most (6 shots on target for 1 goal). Besart Berisha has had 5 shots on target for 3 goals, meaning he probably needs to start hitting the target slightly more often to keep pace with Fornaroli.
Team shots on target and shots on target allowed statistics via Opta / A-League match centre. Player shots on target via Fox Sports Fantasy A-League.