Key Battle: Maclaren v Berisha

City take on Western United in their final fixture of the 2019/20 regular season this Wednesday night. Ahead of the clash between, we take a look at the key battle between two of the best strikers in A-League history, Jamie Maclaren and Besart Berisha. 

With both City and Western United looking to head into the 2020 Finals Series with winning momentum, both coaches will be looking at their star strikers to find the breakthrough and with the Golden Boot race set to go right down to the wire we're set for an entertaining contest. 

For City, Jamie Maclaren has showcased his goal scoring best across his six seasons in the A-League where he has netted an impressive 75 goals in 122 games. For Western United, Besart Berisha - one of the league's most experienced footballers - will be looking to add to his tally of 134 goals in 210 A-League appearances. 

Berisha's experience in the league sees him sit atop the all-time A-League goal scoring chart, while Maclaren sits in fourth place. 

As previously mentioned, the Golden Boot will also be decided in this, the last home and away game of the season. Maclaren is currently tied with Sydney’s Adam Le Fondre on 20 goals, while Berisha sits just two behind on 18. Not only will this match-up decide the Golden Boot, but it also will be one of the key factors in deciding who comes away with the three points.

Berisha has played 24 games this season, two more than Maclaren but has still only played a total of 45 more minutes.

Berisha gets on the ball a bit more than Maclaren, making 21 passes per 90 minutes with a competition rate of 82.2%. Maclaren makes 13.8 passes per 90 minutes, completing 70% but has also chalked up four assists from 15 key passes while Berisha is yet to record an assist despite making 19 key passes.

Although he has played slightly less game time, Maclaren has comfortably had more shots this season. He has shot 62 times with 37 of these attempts being on target, while Berisha has shot 45 times with 33 being on target.

Both have shown they can score on either side of their body and also in the air with both players having scored three headers this season. Both players also have scored three times from the penalty spot with neither having a spot kick saved.

Berisha is no stranger to the referees, having won 34 fouls but also conceded 30. Maclaren’s numbers are far lower in this category, he has been fouled 11 times and conceded 15. Both players have been yellow carded once this season.

Of the eight goals scored in the two match-ups between City and Western United earlier this season, this pair were responsible for all but two. Maclaren scored in either half back in Round 3 with Berisha briefly equalising before Maclaren’s second in City’s 2-1 win. Maclaren picked up another brace in Round 13, this time with both goals coming in the first half before Berisha drew one back in the 75th minute in City’s 3-2 win.

If recent history between the two sides is anything to go by, we're set for an enthralling final clash of the regular season on Wednesday night, kick off 7:30pm.

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