This Sunday, two key midfielders will be going head to head when City take on Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park. We take a look at the key numbers in what will be an intriguing midfield battle led by Josh Brillante for City and Aiden O’Neill for the Roar.
In their first seasons at their respective clubs, both players have shown why they were so highly sought after in the off-season. At 26, Brillante is the more experienced of the two having made over 150 appearances in the A-League. 21-year-old O’Neill has played over 100 less A-League games but his time in England which included three Premier League appearances for Burnely, along with stints at League One clubs Oldham Athletic and Fleetwood Town have given him plenty of experience.
Due to Olyroos duty, O’Neill has played five less matches this season than Brillante, who has played in every one of City’s 18 matches.
Defensively, Brillante has been a massive addition at City, providing plenty of help to the back four. His tackles have a 73% success rate while he has also made 22 clearances and 32 interceptions so far this season. As a more attacking player, this is not one of O’Neill’s strongest points of his game and the stats show that. O’Neill’s tackles have a success rate of 56.5% while he has made four clearances and 21 interceptions this season.
O’Neill’s passing is one of his strongest skills as the young midfielder has proven himself this season to be very comfortable on the ball. He boasts an impressive passing success rate of 90.8%, while Brillante’s is a still very good, 83.3%. O’Neill’s passing in the forward half has been important to the Roar’s attack this season and at a success rate of 86.6% in the oppositions half, O’Neill more often than not finds a teammate.
O’Neill also averages far more passes a game at 73.4 while Brillante averages 56.6.
Brillante is the more dangerous of the two when it comes to the front third, always relishing the chance to get forward and attack. He has played 20 key passes for three assists, while also picking up a goal of his own. This is opposed to O’Neill who has just nine key passes for one assist, without hitting the back of the net, albeit in five less games.
While both players have their strengths, this battle in the midfield of the park shapes up to be a very important one in determining who will walk away with all three points.