Analysis: Murdocca vs Lia

In this week’s match-up we take a look at midfield maestros Massimo Murdocca from Melbourne Heart FC and Vince Lia of Wellington Phoenix.

In this week-s match-up we take a look at Melbourne Heart FC-s Massimo Murdocca and Wellington Phoenix-s Vince Lia, the engines at the heart of both club-s midfield.

Murdocca has been one of Melbourne Heart-s most consistent players throughout the course of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League campaign after signing on from Brisbane Roar in the off season.

So far Murdocca has started every game for Heart this season, reflecting his importance to the side. For Phoenix, Lia has also been one of the first names on the team-sheet, with Ernie Merrick choosing him as a starter for all 22 A-League games so far.

Murdocca is Heart-s best passer, with a total of 948 passes in 22 games, with over half of those passes coming in the opposition half. Lia has had more passes with 1134, but has a 77.7% passing accuracy figure compared to 82.5% for Murdocca.

Lia has had a total 1508 touches so far this season, the fifth best in the league, with Murdocca amassing Heart-s second most with a total of 1223. Only Aziz Behich (1322) has had more touches.

As well as providing the link between defence and attack, Murdocca is never afraid to get forward with a total of 16 shots on goal compared to Lia-s 18. Murdocca and Lia have also amassed two assists each so far this campaign, proving their worth and danger in the attacking third as well.

The two midfield maestro-s have also been in their fair share of duels, 222 for Murdocca and 266 for Lia, but the Heart man has a higher percentage of duels won with 60.8% compared to Lia-s 53%.

Lia is a much more efficient tackler though with a success rate of 77.6% compared to Murdocca-s 69.4%.

A big part of being in the midfield is the ability to break down play, with Murdocca and Lia both conceding 28 and 35 fouls each. In terms of fouls won though, Murdocca has been fouled a total of 42 times in comparison to Lia-s 33.

These two workhorses will battle it out this Sunday in what is sure to be an entertaining clash when Wellington Phoenix travel to AAMI Park. Kick off is 4pm.