Key Battle: Arzani v Geroge

Friday night’s Melbourne Derby Decider is shaping up to be an absolute thriller as both teams vie for the cities bragging rights. Ahead of the match, we take a look at the key numbers between Daniel Arzani and Leroy George.

Daniel Arzani has burst onto the scene in the back-end of this season. The youngster has grasped his opportunity at the top-level with both hands and shown the competition why Warren Joyce rewarded him with a place in the senior squad.

At 19-years-old, the attacker has shown confidence beyond his years and the ability to not only deal with pressure and expectation but to thrive under those circumstances, a feat that many players his senior would struggle to do.

As Melbourne City FC face Melbourne Victory this Friday, Arzani will be facing a player with similar attacking attributes alongside a wealth of experience in Leroy George.

Since joining Kevin Muscat’s team at the beginning of the season the Dutchman has arguably been the Victory’s most important player this season. The 30-year-old’s ability to produce an important assist has seen him rescue several points for the Big V.

Before we take a look at the key numbers between two of the most damaging attackers in the league, it’s important to note that Arzani has made 10 appearances for City, including seven starts compared to George’s 20 appearances made up of 19 starts for the Victory.

As we begin with the attacking third, the City youngster has wasted no time making an impact on the scoreboard. The winger has netted two goals including a breathtaking solo effort against the Glory last weekend; his cross-town rival in George has scored four goals. Arzani has produced six shots on target, George 19.

Despite George leading the competition for crosses with 186 crosses this season, the youngster from City possesses a stronger crossing accuracy (Arzani – 23.8%, George – 18.3%) having completed five successful crosses, eight less than his Victory counterpart.

George has quickly stamped his authority on the competition as the king of assists, having registered 12 so far this season – more than any other player in the competition. Despite George’s dominance in this area, assists have been also been a strength of Arzani’s, who has completed three assists in seven starts.

Similarly, George has completed 43 key passes including assists, with Arzani having produced 10.

Furthermore, in terms of distribution Arzani is arguably one of the strongest players at dribbling the league has seen. In 10 appearances, the youngster has completed a staggering 47 successful dribbles (George – 41).

There is absolutely no surprise that Arzani has won one penalty this season (George – 0), his dazzling feet, exquisite skill set, unpredictability and strength over the ball has often seen defenders left either lost and confused or left with no choice but to foul the 19-year-old.

In many respects his Victory counterpart is quite similar when in possession of the ball, which may explain why both players have been fouled so often this season (Fouls won: Arzani – 23, George – 48).

So far this season, Arzani has completed 170 successful passes compared to George’s 342, handing the City attacking a passing accuracy of 74.6% compared to his opponent’s 67.5%.

If the key numbers are anything to go by, we are set up for an attacking masterclass by both players in the deciding Melbourne Derby of the 2017-18 season.

Don’t miss the blockbuster contest at AAMI Park this Friday night, kick-off 7:50pm (AEDT).