Key Battle: Arzani v Petratos

Melbourne City FC will battle Newcastle Jets for a spot in the Hyundai A-League Grand Final on Friday night. Ahead of the match, we take a look at the key numbers between two of the x-factors set to take the stage, Daniel Arzani and Dimitri Petratos.

Daniel Arzani and Dimitri Petratos have both had spectacular campaigns this season. On numerous occasions, the two attackers have proven their ability to influence a contest, either through a moment of individual brilliance or a dominant display across the 90 minutes, piling relentless pressure on the opposition’s defence.

Arzani may only be concluding his first season in the A-League, but the 19-year-old has already demonstrated his ability to perform on the biggest of stages.

The City attacker approaches each match with a no-fear attitude and takes on each defender with the same confidence, a trait that he again displayed in last weekend’s crucial Elimination Final win.

Petratos has also had an impressive A-League campaign, which saw the Newcastle attacker earn a Socceroos call-up. The 25-year-old has spent most of his career in Australia, barring stints in Malaysia and South Korea, but this season has arguably been his most impressive to date. 

Despite six years separating the two attackers in age, both players are equally as capable of influencing the result on Friday night. In many respects, they both play a similar brand of football. Creative on the ball, both players are always looking to press forward and create chances for their teammates when they have the ball at their feet.

To put the key numbers into perspective, Arzani has made 17 appearances this season, which includes 14 starts, and Petratos has made 25 appearances, having started in each of those matches.

In his 17 appearances, Arzani has made a staggering 100 successful dribbles. With each game the youngster grows with confidence and continues to skip past defenders with ease, which is perhaps his greatest strength and a brilliant asset that adds another dimension to City’s attack.

In comparison, 25-year-old Petratos has made 26 successful dribbles.

When it comes to distribution, the two players are separated by the slimmest of margins. So far this season, Arzani has a passing accuracy percentage of 78.3%, exactly 1% less than Petratos’ passing accuracy. In the opponents’ half, the City youngster edges out his counterpart with a passing accuracy percentage of 69.7% (Petratos – 66.9%). 

There is absolutely no doubt about the quality of Petratos and the threat he poses in the attacking third – his numbers this season and his ability to influence the game have been exceptional.

The Jets attacker has scored 10 goals this season, which is equal sixth in the competition for the most goals scored alongside teammate Andrew Nabbout. He is also equal second in the competition for assists and chances created, with nine assists and an impressive 71 chances created.

City youngster Arzani has also played a key role for his team in the attacking third. The winger has played 21 key passes, including three assists, and has scored two goals. He has also registered 13 shots on target (Petratos – 30) and played seven successful crosses.

In a match that is set to be deciding by the slimmest of margins, both Joyce and Ernie Merrick will be looking at their star men to spark their respective teams into action.

We are yet to see how this match will play out – it may be influenced by a long-range goal from Petratos or a dazzling run by Arzani – but one thing is for sure, and that is that both Arzani and Petratos are capable of sending their teams to the Grand Final. 

City play Newcastle in Friday night’s Semi Final at McDonald Jones Stadium, kick-off 7:50pm.