Overjoyed Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan has hailed his move to Premier League giants Arsenal, the team he supported as a kid back home, as “surreal”.
A look into who performed and under-performed in Round 16 of the A-League.
Sydney put in a dominant display offensively against the Victory in their annual Australia Day weekend Big Blue derby, winning 3-0. Despite having fewer shots on goal (19-10), Sydney proved to that quality is better than quantity as the Sky Blues took their chances in front of goal. The attacking partnership of Adam Le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses caused headaches for the Victory defence during the night and the win keeps them undefeated since October.
Their win against the Mariners keeps them undefeated in 2020, making it three wins out of their last four games. The Roar – while registering less shots (18-11) – had majority of possession (54 per cent to 46 per cent). Like Sydney the night before, they made their big chance count. This comes as a welcome change of events as the Roar struggled to perform at the start of the season.
The Adelaide man was in the thick of things against Western United, scoring two goals from his six shots. Half of his shots came from inside the box, which demonstrates his ability to get into attacking positions, allowing him to score his side’s opening two goals. He was also efficient with his passing, making 22 of his 26 passes (85 per cent).
Stakes were high for the Victory coming into their Round 16 clash. A win would keep them in touch of the top six, as well give them bragging rights over their biggest rivals in a match that saw Kosta Barbarouses play his old side for the first time in Melbourne. The Victory failed to stand up on the big stage. Despite having nine more shots on goal, they went scoreless throughout the game as Elvis Kamsoba and Andrew Nabbout were the biggest culprits of not taking chances.
Central Coast Mariners
The Mariners continue to be the whipping boys of the A-League. Despite the positives they showed in glimpses throughout season 2019-20, there are matches like the one against the Roar that undo all the Mariners’ hard work. Despite having more shots that the Roar, they failed to hit the back of the net and need to be more clinical in front of goal if they want to turn their fortunes around.
Once again, they hosted a game at a venue being used for the first time and lost. United lost the lead on three separate occasions. Defensive lapses hurt United as they went on to lose 4-3. This result also highlighted their defensive vulnerability as Adelaide were able to stick four goals past them.