Key Battle: Schenkeveld v Gulum

Defence will play a crucial role in what is set to be an end-to-end contest filled with entertainment when City take on Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday. We take a look at the key numbers between two of the best defenders on the park in Bart Schenkeveld and Ersan Gulum.

Both players joined the Hyundai A-League at the beginning of the 2017-18 season and during their short stints in Australia, both defenders have wasted no time making their mark on the competition.

Schenkeveld has quickly become a fan favourite at City, with fans and league pundits alike appreciating the commitment, passion and footballing ability shown by the Dutchman.

At Adelaide United, Gulum’s experience has played a vital role in the development of Marco Kuiz’s side. The former Besiktas defender adds a wealth of experience to a young defensive unit, and provides a calm and collected head on the field.

Schenkeveld’s consistency has been a highlight of his season so far. Since joining City, the defender is yet to miss a game in the regular season – playing every minute of the 2017-18 season so far.

The City defender has often displayed his ability to shut down the opposition’s attacking plays, through his raw speed and his ability to anticipate the play.

In contrast, 30-year-old Gulum has featured in 12 games for Adelaide with injury stalling the Reds desire for the former Turkish international to feature in every match.

Schenkeveld’s elite foot skills have provided a vital avenue linking defence with attack in Warren Joyce’s team this season. This is demonstrated in his passing accuracy, which sits at an exceptional 90%, and 81.4% in the opponents’ half - the best in the league.

In comparison, Gulum has recorded 77.7% pass accuracy and 66.3% in the opponents’ half, with both players recording eight dribbles apiece this season.

Gulum has showed his ability to move up the field and attack when needed with the defender recording four shots on target this season compared with Schenkeveld’s 0.

In terms of tackling ability, Schenkeveld has recorded a 64% tackle success rate compared to Gulum’s 50%.

Similarly, the two towering centre-backs carry a no-fuss attitude in the defensive third. They have both recorded their fair share of blocks (Schenkeveld - 10, Gulum - 6), interceptions (Schenkeveld - 35, Gulum - 27) and clearances (Schenkeveld - 45, Gulum - 36).

In what is set to be a huge clash at AAMI Park on Sunday, the calming influence of both Schenkeveld and Gulum combined with their last-ditch defending will play a crucial role.

City host Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Sunday in their final regular season double-header this season. W-League kick-off at 4:30pm, before A-League kick-off at 7:00pm. Click here to get your tickets for the match!