What to watch for: Newcastle v City

City’s wait for a home return to AAMI Park will go on a little longer as the team prepares to travel to face Newcastle Jets this Tuesday.

Coming off the back of a tough 1-0 loss to Western United, your City boys will be fired up to get back to winning ways.

Here’s what to keep an eye out for on Tuesday night:

A high-scoring affair on the horizon?

City fans have already witnessed some turbulent matches in 2021/22, but those who love a goal-fest could again be in for a treat against Newcastle on Tuesday when the two teams whose matches have averaged the most total goals this season go head to head.

As the league continues to be disrupted by COVID-19, there’s now a discrepancy in the games played by teams across the competition. Sydney FC and Adelaide United have played the maximum 11, City have managed to fit in nine, whilst Newcastle are amongst a small group of teams that have played just seven. It’s therefore best to compare teams’ performances on a per-90-minutes basis rather than by the overall numbers.

It’s on that basis, after all, that City and Newcastle thrive in an attacking sense, with respective league-leading shots per 90 tallies of 17.22 and 15.71. The teams also come in fourth and third when measuring how clinical their shooting is, recording 0.09 and 0.12 goals per shot. Overall, these statistics help to explain the teams’ status as two of the league’s three-highest scoring teams on a per 90 basis (1.56 and 1.72 goals respectively).

With City and Newcastle recording just one clean sheet apiece, expect a high-scoring affair on Tuesday if the teams maintain their statistical form thus far.

Reinforcements on the way

Whilst City fans and players alike may have left AAMI Park disappointed after our loss to Western United, the absence of six players with recent Socceroos experience (our representees in the squad for the Vietnam and Oman games, plus Andrew Nabbout and Curtis Good) saw Patrick Kisnorbo field a significantly depleted lineup that ultimately couldn’t overcome the odds despite their best efforts and some outstanding individual performances.

However, the postponement of City’s originally scheduled fixture for Sunday afternoon against Perth Glory has allowed even more time for the likes of Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Connor Metcalfe and Marco Tilio to physically prepare for involvement in City’s upcoming Newcastle clash.

The additional rest period may have also aided the recovery of Nabbout (minor niggle) and Good (illness), with fans undoubtedly hoping to see all six CityRoos returning to face the Jets.

Looking to overcome recent disruptions and inconsistent performances, the pressure will be right on these returning stars to hit the ground running again in club colours and help the team secure a vital three points on Tuesday.

How the City backline deals with Newcastle’s imports for the first time

Tuesday’s clash represents the first meeting between City and Newcastle this season, and it will also be the first time that the City defence will have to contend with two of the league’s foreign sensations this season in Beka Mikeltadze and Daniel Penha.

The Jets’ 24-year-old Georgian striker Mikeltadze has taken the league by storm in 2021/22, netting five goals in addition to an assist that currently has him atop the combined goal involvements leaderboard. The forward also tops the league for shots on target per 90, highlighting the threat he poses in front of goal.

If one hit signing wasn’t enough for the Jets, they’ve also unearthed another gem in Brazilian midfielder Daniel Penha. The 23-year-old has one goal and three assists in seven league appearances this season and impressively leads the league for total shots per 90 from his advanced midfield position.

In Mikeltadze and Penha, Newcastle have recruited a lethal attacking duo whose unfamiliarity within the league represents an unknown quantity for defensive units to contend with, and it’s how well the City backline can contain the Jets’ star foreigners that could determine our prospects on Tuesday night.