Sunday afternoon’s clash between Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets is a must-win for both teams. With an opportunity to stay in-touch with the top-four on the line, both sides will be looking to secure the three points. Ahead of the match, we preview the battle between two of the most influential players that are set to take the field, Matildas teammates Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond.
A football match is often decided by the battle that’s won in the midfield. With so much riding on Sunday’s fixture, we take a look at the key numbers comparing international stars Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond.
In many ways Kellond-Knight and van Egmond are quite similar, they are both elite performers that demand the ball at their feet. Their consistency combined with their quality of performance over an extended period has seen them become two of the country’s most influential footballers.
Before joining City at the beginning of the season, Kellond-Knight took a three-year break from the Westfield W-League, where she played in Sweden and Germany. Since returning to Australia’s domestic competition, the experienced midfielder has wasted no time make her presence felt.
In the four games she has played in City blue, Kellond-Knight has demonstrated both her versatility and her ability to pull the strings in the midfield. She has also reminded the competition of her ability to strike a set-piece, whether that be from the corner flag, a cross or a shot on goal.
For Newcastle, van Egmond has played a similar role, ruling the midfield and commanding the ball. With most of the Jets attacking plays being instigated by the midfielder, City will be looking to minimise her impact on the game.
When it comes to the key numbers, Kellond-Knight has played four games and van Egmond three, with neither being substituted.
In terms of attack, Kellond-Knight has demonstrated her ability to strike a dead ball. She has scored two goals, including a calmly finished spot-kick and a delightful free-kick from range. For the Jets, van Egmond is yet to find the back of the net, perhaps highlighting her tendency to fulfil a defensive role.
Despite often playing in defensive midfield, Kellond-Knight works tirelessly through the midfield to create chances for herself and her teammates, which is demonstrated in the key statistics. The City midfielder has played eight key attacking passes and has registered seven shots on target.
In comparison, van Egmond has registered one shot on target, but has also recorded eight key passes in the attacking third – highlighting her ability to pierce the opposition’s defence from the middle of the park.
In terms of distribution, Kellond-Knight is tracking at an impressive pass accuracy percentage of 80.3 per cent, which includes a passing accuracy percentage of 62 per cent in the opponents’ half. She has also registered two successful dribbles.
Van Egmond has an overall pass accuracy percentage of 63.2 per cent, which includes a percentage of 52 per cent in the opponents’ half. Her strength over the ball when in possession has seen her make five successful dribbles.
When it comes to the defensive side of the game, both players have demonstrated their ability to read the play, making three interceptions each. Kellond-Knight has registered 11 clearances compared to van Egmond’s three, while the Jets midfielder has won six tackles compared to Kellond-Knight’s two.
Both players have had impressive starts to the new season, and with a crucial three-points on the line, there’s every chance that one of the two big-game players will step-up to the occasion and take hold of the game.
City take on Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 9 December, kick-off 2:30pm (AEDT), before sitting out Round 7 with a bye and then returning to action when they take on Canberra United it what is set to be a blockbuster festive season double-header at AAMI Park on Saturday 22 December, kick-off 5:00pm (AEDT). Get your tickets here.