Bobo is having the best scoring season in A-League history

Evan Morgan Grahame Columnist

By Evan Morgan Grahame, Evan Morgan Grahame is a Roar Expert

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    As Ross McCormack settles back into life in Birmingham, he’ll no doubt stave off the biting English chill with warm memories of Melbourne.

    Perhaps he’ll indulge himself, as he gazes at his freshly repaired garden gate, by rolling through the thuddingly pleasing echoes of his goals in the 2017-18 A-League season.

    His departure has blunted Melbourne City’s attack considerably, and he has also taken with him any sense of competition in this year’s Golden Boot race.

    The Scot’s current goals tally, 14 plundered in just 17 appearances, would have earned him equal fifth place in last season’s race, second place in the 14-15, 13-14 and the 11-12 seasons, and it would have won it for him in 08-09.

    McCormack would have left the A-League leading the race this year if not for another foreign striker, who happens to be constructing the greatest goal-scoring season in league history.

    Bobo, perhaps the most quietly consistent of all of Sydney FC’s stars over the past two seasons, has 18 goals in 18 league games this term – more than double that of Besart Berisha, now his nearest Golden Boot rival.

    When Bruno Fornaroli scored 26 goals back in 2015-16, he smashed through the 20-goal ceiling, a new apex for an A-League striker. Fornaroli played the full 90 minutes in all but one of City’s 27 regular season matches, and two finals games that year – in the exception he played 85 minutes.

    That’s 2605 minutes, and he scored a goal, on average, every 100 minutes. Seven times he bagged a brace, including in the key victory over Perth in the finals. He also had one hat-trick, scoring all three in a 3-0 win over Sydney FC. City lost nine times that season, and four of those losses coincided with Fornaroli going scoreless.

    The Uruguayan was like a neon stiletto that year; he was the central issue for every opposition gameplan, a glowing threat that would not be dimmed. He was fouled more times than any other player in the league, and could easily have snatched the Johnny Warren Medal from Diego Castro. How we’ve missed him this year.

    Brun Fornaroli dribbles the ball

    Bruno Fornaroli on the attack. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    Bobo, admittedly with less flair and flash, is bettering Fornaroli’s 15-16 efforts this season.

    On average, he plays slightly fewer minutes per game than Fornaroli did, has once started on the bench, and has been subbed off seven times. He has two hat-tricks, two braces, and has already registered more assists than Fornaroli did. He has nine more regular season games – plus however many finals games Graham Arnold’s side end up playing – to score nine more goals and beat Fornaroli’s record for goals in a season.

    Currently, Bobo is scoring a goal every 84 minutes, a better per-minute strikerate than Harry Kane in the Premier League and Edinson Cavani in Ligue 1.

    He ought to get to 27, especially if he plunders in savage numbers against Wellington – who are bottom, with the second worst defence in the league – this weekend.

    Bobo’s success can’t be attributed solely to him, not by a long shot. The Brazilian has prospered on the fertile service provided by Mierzejewski and Milos Ninkovic, and the numbers behind the 18 goals indicate as much. He has taken 70 shots this season, a total that leads the league by some distance. Six of his goals have been from the penalty spot, and he’s personally won half of those.

    Of his 70 shots, 33 have been on target, or 47 per cent. McCormack led the league in that regard, with a startlingly accurate on-target percentage of 64 per cent, but Bobo’s is still excellent; shooting at such a high volume can often imply impulsive, wasteful shooting, but not in Bobo’s case. Again, Mierzejewski and Ninkovic, both inside the top ten for shot-assists, have clearly contributed to the quality of Bobo’s shooting opportunities. 

    Bobo Sydney FC

    Bobo (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

    Bobo has been found offside just ten times this season, a vastly better total than, say, Berisha or Andrew Nabbout (both seen straying 22 times so far this season), the result one might generously attribute in equal part to well-timed running on Bobo’s behalf, and well-timed passing on the part of his teammates.

    And is this how Bobo’s been largely fed, along the ground or chipped over the top to run onto? Well, while Sydney have attempted the most through-balls in the league, the Brazilian has also contested more aerial duels (155) than any player – including defenders – so he’s being tasked with the graft traditionally expected of starting strikers. To compare, McCormack contested just 24 aerial duels over his 17 appearances.

    Essentially, while the Sky Blues tend to create more in attack than most teams, Bobo’s is not a role into which you could place a league-average striker and expect the same results. His finishing and movement is elite, and he can score in so many different ways.

    Aged 33, he’s at the point in his career where he can still compete physically, while being in the thick of his mental prime; decision-making, technique, intuition, chemistry, all of these elements are peaking. The fact that he’s been with the team for a year and a half helps as well. 

    It’s a varied style, it’s industrious, and it’s potent to a degree we’ve never seen. Mierzejewski and Ninkovic sparkle weekly, and rightly catch and keep the attention. Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill are given deserved praise too, as young, prospering Australians playing in our young, prospering league.

    But the Brazilian’s brilliance is also glinting through, and if Sydney power on to retain the Premiership-Championship double, it will be thanks to Bobo’s goals, each one a vital hunk of coal shovelled into the Sydney engine.

    Evan Morgan Grahame
    Evan Morgan Grahame

    Evan Morgan Grahame is a Melbourne-based journalist. Gleaning what he could from his brief career as a painter, the canvas of the football pitch is now his subject of contemplation, with the beautiful game sketching new, intriguing compositions every week. He has been one of The Roar's Expert columnists since 2016. Follow him on Twitter @Evan_M_G.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • February 1st 2018 @ 8:20am
      punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      Great analysis Evan.

      Funny saying this about a Brazilian but true;
      ‘Bobo, admittedly with less flair and flash, is bettering Fornaroli’s’.
      Bobo is all about his movement & technique & of course Ninko & Mierzejewski, but without doubt an unsung hero, he hasn’t been talked about like Berisha or Fornaroli & I understand the reasoning behind that, but give me Bobo anytime as a SFC fan.

      It’s been a great season for SFC, Ninko & Mierzejewski in full flight, I have not seen better in the A-League, the industry of Brillante (especially, amazing watching his workrate live, though poor touches last couple of games) & O’Neill (technique very good as well), Brosque as you would when you have Ninko & Mierzejewski, plays the link player very well. Both Wilko & Buijiis are solid & brilliant at the same time, Wilshire shows all the experience, though missing Grant, Zullo, very one dimensional, but does a great job, using his speed in a slow backline. Reymayne better then I thought, always a very good shot stopper, but crosses, ummmm, distribution good. Carney getting on, but good enough for 20-30 mins, won the GF last for us. Simon, least said best. And then of course their is Bobo, Bobo, Bobo.
      Depth a problem as we approach the ACL.

    • February 1st 2018 @ 8:26am
      Midfielder said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      Great read and largely agree ….

    • February 1st 2018 @ 8:26am
      Josh said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      McCormack was a much better player.

      Bobo has better players around him.

      I’d take Ross in a heartbeat.

    • February 1st 2018 @ 8:27am
      Midfielder said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      Nem

      Off topic but the states start streaming tonight this is the QLD FB stream link.

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DU2qd54U0AAXn9H.jpg:large

    • February 1st 2018 @ 8:39am
      Nemesis said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      Remember, 6 of Bobo’s goals came in 2 matches when he should have been suspended for a cowardly attack on an opponent behind play.

      If Berisha had done what Bobo did, he’d have been given a Red Card and 2 match ban.

      But, the pro Sydney FC referee in charge of VAR looked at it & decided it only deserved a Yellow, but VAR can’t give Yellows. A Yellow would also have sent Bobo off since he had already been booked. And, to add a final touch of farce, the Match Review Panel couldn’t take action since the MRP cannot review incidents the referee has seen.

      So, 6 out of 18 goals scored in matches Bobo should never have been allowed to play.

      And, he’s scored 6 out of 18 goals from penalties

      • February 1st 2018 @ 8:40am
        punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        Salty. Loving it.

        • February 1st 2018 @ 8:50am
          Nemesis said | February 1st 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          I don’t understand? What language are you speaking?

          • February 1st 2018 @ 10:28am
            punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

            Let me speak your language.
            SFC clear of MV this year 17 pts
            SFC clear of MV last year 17 pts
            SFC keeps beating MV but struggle against CCM.

            • February 1st 2018 @ 10:56am
              Nemesis said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

              I understand all that.

              Don’t understand the meaning of “Salty. Loving it.” Doesn’t make sense in the English language I speak.

        • February 1st 2018 @ 9:46am
          Post_hoc said | February 1st 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          But is he wrong?

          • February 1st 2018 @ 10:24am
            punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

            Which part? The whinny part? The part where FFA sees the PL, Bundesliga & La Liga & thinks these guys are successful because it’s a 1 team league where one team runs away it. Maybe we should follow suit & favour SFC (let them have the rub of the green, give them SFC fans as refs) & let them run away with the league for 2 seasons running, this part?
            Sorry PH I laugh, I see SFC playing some very good football & pretty consistent as well & I read on these threads, giving SFC credit, but then the big question marks??? I suppose the old saying winners are grinners & we can little of what salty ones are talking about.

            • February 1st 2018 @ 10:50am
              Post_hoc said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

              punter, it appears to pretty much everyone else except SFC fans that they continually get favorable calls , now the reason they get it is up for debate, but I don’t think the appearance of favoritism is.

              I have no issue with you and your salty banter, but they say there is a wisdom in a crowd.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 11:08am
                punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                PH we all see football with our (put team colours) eyes. As mentioned in other post, I reckon Reddy should have been sent off, but the ref didn’t, a 50/50 call, but Wanders fans thinks the worst decision, while non Wanderers fans see this happens in football all the time, could’ve one either way.

                Now I thought Rhys Williams deserved to sent off for a tackle far, far worse then Reddy’s but didn’t get sent off, same as Geria tackle on Ninko, (Arnie was fuming) maybe SFC not as favourable as those non SFC fans think.
                Maybe when winning you just get on with it a bit more, but when losing to Perth hurts & looking for excuses.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 11:28am
                Nemesis said | February 1st 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

                Do you ever think Syd players should be sent off, or do they never transgress?

                When Ingham was through on goal & Wilkshire hacked him down – similar situation with Rhys Williams against NIX, Williams was sent off.

                When Adrian elbowed Williams in the jaw – you have no issue with that. But, players have been sent off (in ALeague Grand Finals) for same incident. Adrian didn’t even get a Yellow Card and you think that’s ok.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 11:40am
                punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                No I don’t Nem, I have SFC eyes, just like you have MV eyes.

                Evan wrote a very good article on one of the best players in the A-League & about the possibility of being of having the bestgoal return for one season for any player.
                You put on your MV eyes & provided a very negative view on Bobo’s performance, Bobo scores penalties, well so does Berisha. As for your other comment, fact is Bobo did not get sent off & did score 6 goals in the next 2 games.
                In my language, I found your comments on Bobo, who is the main topic on this article, as very salty & a view from a MV eyes.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Nemesis said | February 1st 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Well, you & I differ. I can fully appreciate why Rhys Williams got sent off in the NIX match. I can fully appreciate why Geria was given a 2nd YC and a penalty awarded.

                I can look objectively at a match, even though I’m a staunch fan of one of the teams I’m watching.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 12:30pm
                punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                I agree this where we differ, you pick & choose, I look at the whole.

                I saw Williams tackle on Mierzejewski in the 1st half should have been a straight sent off
                I saw Geria tackle on Ninko also in the 1st half as a straight sent off
                You saw Wilshire hack on Ingham as a sent off
                You saw Mierzejewski elbow on Williams as a 2nd yellow & sent off.

                Well we saw it differently to referee, who’s the one that matters & I accept that, because as a long time football fan just like you, I accept the swings & roundabouts that occurs in a football game, even a football season, some go your way some don’t, that’s football, always has been always will be even with the VAR.

                Remember it was you who wrote a post on the theme on this article that Bobo should’ve & if so, would’ve & hence could’ve.

              • February 1st 2018 @ 1:45pm
                Post_hoc said | February 1st 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Punter, my comments on Reddy are more about the inconsistency with the VAR and the poor quality of Australian Referees to adequately implement the system. If you ask me personally Reddy’s tackle was not the worse tackle, but being consistent he should have gone. The worst case I think was Maccarone on Santalab, no Wanderers bias when i say that example is everything that is wrong with ALeague Referees and extension the VAR

              • February 1st 2018 @ 5:05pm
                Fadida said | February 1st 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                The Reddy one wasn’t a red simply because Riera had knocked the ball so far ahead he couldn’t possibly have got to it. Therefore no goal scoring opportunity was denied

      • February 1st 2018 @ 10:01am
        Chancer said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        The MRP and the VAR have bought the A-League into disrepute. How long do we have to put up with Sydeney centric officials? The game is turning into a joke. Sydeney is without doubt a great team but it is a pity about the officials

        • February 1st 2018 @ 10:25am
          punter said | February 1st 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          My point exactly PH, see, Sydney is a great but….. as I say loving these salty comments.

    • Roar Guru

      February 1st 2018 @ 1:01pm
      Cousin Claudio said | February 1st 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

      Nice article, good analysis.

      Bobo’s a good man to boot and well liked by all the Sydney FC fans who have had the pleasure of his company.

      He lives in a quiet street in North Sydney and is well like by his neighbours too. One of them is a work colleague who lives in the same street and has kids about Bobo’s kids age.

      They regularly play together – the kids that is, not Bobo and my work colleague.

      • February 1st 2018 @ 1:41pm
        Post_hoc said | February 1st 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

        If I lived on the same street, I would be trying to get a few 5 a side games going just to say I’ve played with him LOL.

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