Melbourne City FC will have the chance to go top of the A-League table for the first time this season when it takes on Sydney FC on Saturday evening.
Rostyn Griffiths has been one of City’s best performers over the last couple of months and has once again settled into the number six role after splitting his time between there and centre-back for much of the season.
Former City player Luke Brattan plays the same position for Sydney FC and like Griffiths, has been in strong form as of late.
City took the points with a 3-2 win when these teams met earlier this season at AAMI Park, Griffiths in the heart of defence for the first hour of the match before moving back into midfield for the final 30 minutes after Nuno Reis was subbed on.
Brattan has seen a little more action this season than his former teammate, having made three more appearances than Griffiths for a total of 162 more minutes.
Given he has spent a fair amount of time deeper in defence, there’s no surprise to see Griffiths ahead in the defensive statistics.
His 22 clearances far outnumber Brattan’s four, while he also has the edge in blocks (8-7) and interceptions (28-20). Griffiths also boasts a much higher tackle win rate at 88.9% compared to Brattan’s 62.9%, although it’s important to note the Sydney FC midfielder has attempted almost four times as many.
These players both have recorded very similar numbers in terms of their passing, hovering around 65 passes per match at a success rate of just under 90% - Brattan with a slight edge in quantity of passes and Griffiths just in front in terms of quality.
Given he has spent more time further up the pitch, there is no shock to see Brattan has tripled Griffiths’ key passes (15-5) and has also recorded an assist.
Both have found the back of the net once themselves; Brattan netting the winner in his team’s season opener against Wellington and Griffiths’ thundering header the third of City’s six in the away Derby win over Victory.
Referees are always kept busy when these two are in action - Griffiths having conceded 16 fouls and been booked twice while Brattan has been whistled 18 times and shown yellow on four occasions.