In each edition of the Fantasy A-League Focus we take a look at some of the key issues emerging in the A-League and analyse their implications for fantasy coaches.
Round 10 sees our first (and probably only) ‘double round’ of the season, where Perth and Melbourne Victory will play twice. This is due to the Round 5 game needing to be postponed as those teams faced off in the FFA Cup final that weekend.
So obviously fantasy coaches will be wanting to capitalise on this situation. Perth perhaps have slightly more favourable fixtures – playing twice at home, first against the Mariners then the Victory, while Muscat’s men face a trip to Wanderland before heading to Perth midweek.
Unfortunately Perth – now sitting bottom of the table – don’t provide us with any clear fantasy choices. Richard Garcia (MID, $224k) is hardly prolific, however he is their top point earner (41; 10 more than their next best, Michael Thwaite) and has scores of 6, 5 and 4 in his last 3 outings. Garcia also has managed 4 shots on target in his last 2 games, suggesting he may add to his solitary goal soon – which was scored against the Mariners in Round 1.
Gyorgy Sandor (MID, $215k) is fit again and returned to the side against Adelaide. However, his early season form (25 points in 3 games) is probably deceptive given he’s a deep-lying playmaker more than a goalscorer. Garcia is more advanced positionally and therefore more likely to get chances to score. Sandor nonetheless scored against the Mariners in Round 1.
Coaches may wish to gamble on Sidnei (FWD, 218k) or Chris Harold (FWD, $194k) finding the back of the net, however given the strong performances of other forwards this season it is a massive risk to bring either into your team.
In defence, it’s not likely Perth will keep a clean sheet; they’ve done so only once this season and allow an average of 4.9 shots on target per game (only the Mariners, City and Newcastle average more). However, those who have Marc Warren (DEF, $102k) and lack quality defenders in their line-up may want to give him a run on the field this round regardless.
The Victory on the other hand have plenty of options to choose from; Besart Berisha (FWD, 353k) and Gui Finkler (MID. $327k) are the most obvious selections, however picking a 3rd Victory player is slightly more difficult.
Fahid Ben Khalfallah (FWD, $292k) is finding the going slightly more difficult in his second season in the A-League, while Kosta Barbarouses (FWD, $282k) has dropped off in form (8 points total in his last 3 games) after a promising start to the campaign. As with Sidnei and Harold, the strength of other forward options is something for coaches to weigh up against their inclusion – especially with two away games.
Oliver Bozanic (MID, $251k) is the only other non-defender to consider; he’s similar to Garcia in that he’s hardly prolific, owing to his role in the team. However in the last 3 rounds he’s produced scores of 7, 9 and 6. Be wary though that Bozanic may be rested in one game this round, as he’s played all but 20 minutes of Victory’s A-League campaign.
Like Perth, Victory have struggled to keep the opposition out this season, keeping only 2 clean sheets. This is despite the fact they’ve allowed an average of 3.6 shots on target per game – only Sydney, Western Sydney and Brisbane average less.
Victory’s defenders aren’t exactly cost effective either – Jason Geria is the cheapest ‘safe’ choice at $168k, while Daniel Georgievski and Matthieu Delpierre will set you back $206k and $223k respectively. Danny Vukovic in goals is a massive $299k. Risky, pricey picks.
The other conundrum facing coaches this round is who to captain. If not for the double fixtures, it surely had to be Aaron Mooy (MID, $369k). Mooy is on track for the greatest season of all time in Fox Sports Fantasy A-League; in 9 rounds he’s scored 99 points, placing him 19 points ahead of the 2nd highest point getter, Mitch Nichols.
Despite being man-marked in the last round Mooy eventually managed to break the shackles, notching an assist and a late goal to maintain his record of hitting double figures in every game since Round 2.
City have scored 10 goals in their last 2 games, and lead the league in shots on target with 56 – that’s 16 more than the 2nd best team, the Mariners.
And this week, they face… the Jets. As mentioned in previous editions of the focus, while the Jets defensive record looks good in terms of goals conceded (just 9 in 9 games) the shots on target allowed data paint a very different picture.
The Jets allow their opposition an average of 5.3 shots on target per game – only the Mariners average more (5.9 per game), and they’ve conceded 12 more goals than Newcastle.
Or, looking at it a different way – the Jets have conceded 9 times from 48 shots on target; Brisbane have conceded 9 from 33 and the Victory 9 from 29.
The points have already begun to dry up for the Jets – 3 draws and 2 losses in their last 5 games – so is this the week where their defence is finally exposed in a big way?
It’s a question every fantasy A-League coach needs to consider before they decide on who to give the captain’s armband to this round – do you put the ‘C’ on the rampant Aaron Mooy against the Jets, or take a punt on someone potentially playing twice?
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.