First up, we’re egg-basketing the Brisbane defence for the Roar’s trip to Newcastle. The Jets failed to create a single chance in last week’s stalemate with Adelaide, and after a reasonably positive start, Scott Miller has his work cut out to evolve the Jets into something more than a defensively stout side who offer nothing going forward. They create the least chances (5 per90) and register the second fewest shots per game (7.4) behind Perth (8.3).
Conversely, Brisbane have been surprisingly excellent at the back this season. They’ve conceded the equal fewest goals (5) and kept the equal highest clean sheets (3) despite facing the fourth-most shots on their goal per game (4.8), where Jamie Young has looked significantly safer than he did last season. Were backing Young, Daniel Bowles and Shane Steffanutto to leave the Hunter sharing a large spoil of clean sheet points.
Joining the Brisbane posse is the fit-again Alberto, after returning alongside Topor-Stanley in the heart of the Wanderers’ defence. The Spaniard demonstrated his aerial prowess from attacking set-pieces last week, with two headers just shy of the mark and one cleared off the line. Away to the Mariners, where Tony Popovic is likely to adopt a more conservative approach in the face of Tony Walmsey’s swashbuckling offensive style, the Wanderers and Alberto are a good chance of a shut-out and more.
Melbourne City haven’t kept a clean sheet all season, but we’re backing the penny to drop for Connor Chapman when John van’t Schip’s side host Perth. Kenny Lowe’s side create nearly as little of Scott Miller’s Jets (5.5 chance/90) and take even fewer shots on goal. At the moment, they can’t find a winning solution in the final third despite a few promising signs on the transition, and this leaves City with a great chance to get their clean sheet monkey off their back.
In midfield, Aaron Mooy takes his customary position both in the team and as the hands-down captaincy favourite. With Melbourne City play a struggling Perth side on Friday, offering Mooy an excellent chance to register yet another double-digit return.
After a slow start, Gui Finkler has exploded into Fantasy form to give managers a real headache in finding room for a premium midfield. Finkler’s Victory take on Adelaide United on Saturday, who have conceded the most goals (15) in the league. Melbourne are getting back to their clinical best, and Finkler is perhaps the most vital cog in their attacking arsenal.
Although Sydney haven’t been firing on all cylinders in an attacking sense, they’ll be hoping that Milos Ninkovic can provide the creative impetus the Sky Blues have often lacked this season when they come up against the Phoenix tonight. Whilst the sensible Fantasy decision here may be to plump for one of the Phoenix’s premium midfielders, who outshine the Serbian (owned by just 4%) in every statistical area – something’s got to give eventually, and we’re going with gut feeling over numbers here.
Following two consecutive blanks, we’re hoping Bruno Fornaroli breaks his mini-drought against Perth. The Uruguayan has gone off the boil in two games were City adopted a different approach against Brisbane, and were played off the park by the Wanderers. Against a Perth side who will likely be happy to concede possession, this should work in Fornaroli’s favour.
Kosta Barbarouses has been integral for Victory over the past couple of weeks. He created 5 chances last week against the Mariners and holds one of the stronger shots per90 (2.3) and chances created per90 (2.3) ratio’s in the A-League. With 20 points in his last 2 home fixtures, the Kiwi looks the goods for Victory’s home game against Adelaide.
Finally, we’re giving Mark Bridge a shot to continue his impressive recent form. Since returning from injury, Bridge has accumulated 31 points from just 255 minutes of action. That’s 6.2 points per game, but 11.5 points per start (Bridge has been used as a substitute late in the 2nd half three times). He’s produced a pair of goals and assists in that time – it’s hard to leave him out on the basis of this form.