Key Battle: Glover v Italiano


Melbourne City FC are set to host Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park this Thursday night, the home side looking to continue its domination of the fixture at the venue, having not lost there since October 2015.

Following his valiant goalkeeping display in last year’s Grand Final, Tom Glover has continued to go from strength to strength as City’s #1 throughout the 2020/21 campaign thus far.

His counterpart between the sticks on the night is likely to be Lewis Italiano, who began the season behind Jack Duncan in the Newcastle goalkeeping ranks but has since become the Jets’ preferred shot-stopper over the past month.

Given Italiano only stepped into the role of Newcastle’s #1 in late March, his appearance tally of seven games pales to Glover’s 17 this season.

For this reason, a comparison of the two keepers’ per-game statistics is more useful than using their whole numbers.

Since becoming Newcastle’s regular first-choice keeper amidst the club’s 10-game winless run, Italiano has copped an average of two goals per game, significantly higher than Glover’s average of 1.1 across his 17 appearances. Italiano is yet to keep a clean sheet while Glover has six.

An unsurprising consequence of Newcastle’s defence being constantly under-fire is the fact that Italiano is called into action far more often, making 3.9 saves per game to Glover’s 1.7.

Similarly, Italiano is also forced into catching and punching the ball more frequently per game than his City counterpart. From their data in these metrics, Glover is more likely to punch an aerial ball clear than catch it, electing to punch 29% of the time in contrast to Italiano’s 20%.

For all the goals conceded by Newcastle, it’s Italiano who saves the higher percentage of shots he faces at 65.9%, whilst Glover records a slightly lower success rate at 60.4%.

In regards to their distribution, Glover is both more involved in his side’s build-up play and more accurate with his passing, playing 24.2 passes per 90 at an accuracy of 72.5%, compared to Italiano’s 21.4 at 50%.

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