Key Battle: McGree v Petratos

When Melbourne City FC host Newcastle Jets on Sunday night, all eyes will be on the potential match-winners. Ahead of the match, we take a look at the key numbers between two potent attackers, Riley McGree and Dimitri Petratos.

Australian attackers Riley McGree and Dimitri Petratos are two of the competition’s most promising footballers. Currently in the early stages of his footballing career, McGree is pushing for a spot in the national team, while 26-year-old Petratos has caught the eye of Socceroos selectors in recent seasons due to his Hyundai A-League form.

Both players have instinctive football minds, which makes their play unpredictable and therefore difficult to match-up against. They also have the x-factor that is needed to grasp a game and change it in an instance.

For 20-year-old McGree, his game has drastically improved in the last 12 months. Since joining City at the beginning of the season, he has been one of the Club’s most consistent performers. His ability to skip past defenders with ease and fearlessly attack the opposition’s defensive line makes him one of the most exciting young prospects, not only at the Club but also in the competition.

Since joining Newcastle Jets in 2017, Petratos has blossomed as a footballer. The attacker is the type of player that thrives with the ball at his feet. Not only is he capable of scoring a long-range strike or burying one from close range, but he also thrives when he is standing over a set-piece. 

With one goal apiece in five matches so far this season, it’s evident that both players are more than capable of finding the back of the net. Both McGree and Petratos have also registered three shots on target each, demonstrating their ability to find time and space to test the opposition’s goalkeeper.

In his opening five matches, City youngster McGree has demonstrated his accuracy in front of goal. He is currently travelling at an impressive shooting accuracy percentage of 60 per cent, while his counterpart Petratos is currently sitting at 27.3 per cent shooting accuracy – less than half the accuracy of the man in City blue.

Attacking distribution has been a key strength of both players throughout their respective careers, with their individual attacking flare allowing them to create vital chances for their teammates. This has been supported by the key statistics this season, with McGree registering one assist and Petratos two. Furthermore, McGree has played six key passes and one successful cross as Petratos has played seven key passes, highlighting their attacking threat.

Without one offside call between them, the two players have also demonstrated their discipline in the attacking third and perhaps their tendency to remain in a central position or out wide, behind the number 9.

According to the numbers the two players have excelled in different areas when it comes to distribution in the middle of the park. At 162 successful passes, Petratos has played 40 more successful passes than his counterpart, although McGree has proven to be less wasteful with the ball at his feet. The City man is currently travelling at 84.1 per cent pass accuracy, while Petratos is at 77.1 per cent.

There’s no doubt that one of McGree’s greatest strength is his ability to carry the ball at speed, easing past defenders. So far this season, he has made an impressive 13 successful dribbles, 10 more than his Newcastle Jets rival.

With a host of numbers displaying just how threatening both players have the potential to be on Sunday night, it remains to be seen which one will have the greatest influence on the contest.

City host Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday 2 December, kick-off 7:00pm (AEDT).

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