Macarthur won the transfer battle for Socceroos striker Tomi Juric, but can he provide the same impact that Derbyshire did?

Socceroo Tomi Juric has signed a one-year deal with Macarthur and is expected to fill the gap left by the Englishman Matt Derbyshire.

After losing Derbyshire at the start of July, Macarthur was facing a very tough task to find a replacement for their top scorer. The Blackburn-born forward scored 14 goals and made five assists in his first A-League season, finishing only behind Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren for the Golden Boot award.

Providing 19 goal contributions meant that he was involved in almost 60 percent of the goals that Macarthur scored in their inaugural season. But goals weren’t the only thing that he brought to the table when playing for Milicic’s side.

According to InStat Scout, the 35-year-old also lead his team in big chances converted, chances created, shots on target, attacking challenges, and aerial duels.

Head coach Ante Milicic was one of Derbyshire’s biggest fans. The Ex-Matildas manager singled out his striker on a couple of occasions, praising his work rate and character.

“He’s been excellent,“ Milic said when speaking to the media on the 14th of May after a win against Melbourne Victory.

“Everyone talks about his goals but his numbers are phenomenal. He works constantly, he starts our press, he’s vocal in the change room and he always wants to score.“

Juric is another player who has worked with Milicic before during the pair’s time together at Western Sydney Wanderers and the Australian national team. He won’t have an easy task replacing Derbyshire but stat-wise he does look like a logical choice.

Although a direct comparison will be unfair to Juric, given that he played the majority of his football while carrying an injury, looking at both players’ stats could tell us a couple of things.

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Looking at the stats

Starting off with the most important thing for a striker – goals. According to InStat, both forwards averaged around 0,5 goals per game with the ex-Blackburn attacker registering 1,14 shots on target per game and the Australian international just below 1 at 0,91.

Both players’ ability was also highlighted in their expected goals numbers (xG). While Derbyshire underperformed with 2 goals less than the expected 16, the ex-CSKA striker scored 3 more than his expected 7.

On the other hand, Juric showed lower efficiency in the air, despite being 11 centimeters taller. He won a total of 31 air challenges (1,41 average per game) compared to 82 won (2,9 average per game) by his predecessor.

Derbyshire also had the better season in terms of bringing people into play. He created 29 goalscoring chances and registered five assists, compared to the 12 chances created and one assist made by his future successor.

As always stats can’t really paint the whole picture but they can definitely give you an idea of how someone could fit in a certain project. Both players have their strengths and weaknesses but on the whole, it looks like Macarthur is getting a decent replacement for the vacant spot at the front.

They are a team that plays a very different game compared to Adelaide but there are a lot of signs that their new number 9 could flourish under Milicic.

With the World Cup in Qatar looming closer, Juric will be looking to get back to his best to impress Socceroos coach Graham Arnold and the Campbelltown Stadium could be the perfect place for him to do it.

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