Sydney picked up its first win in two games on Sunday against rivals Melbourne Victory and will be looking to go back-to-back when it takes on Perth on Saturday night.
An early red card for Melbourne forward Elvis Kamsoba saw the Sky Blues take control of the game, winning thanks to goals from Bobo, Kosta Barbarouses and Alex Baumjohann.
While the Victory were restricted to ten men, they didn’t create any major chances against Sydney’s backline, which is statistically the best in the league this season, having conceded just 13 goals at an average of 0.9 per match.
Sydney’s attack has been similar in its high numbers, but the story of the season has been its inability to convert chances of high calibre.
In this campaign, Sydney FC has averaged the second most shots on target per match (5.4), created the second most big chances (33), and have had an expected goals (xG) of 31.3 compared to their nineteen goals scored. (Expected goals calculates how many goals a team should have scored based on the quality of the chances created. By comparing actual goals to expected goals we can see whether a team has overperformed or underperformed in any given match.)
They have also missed the most big chances this season (32) and have scored the equal eighth least goals per match, averaging just 1.4 per 90 minutes.
The last time Sydney FC played Perth Glory, Sydney had an xG of 2.05 but scored just once, as Perth Glory restricted them to a 1-1 draw.
Even against Melbourne Victory where Sydney won 3-0, they still underperformed compared to what was expected, creating chances equivalent to an xG of 4.94.
Steve Corica spoke to The Inner Sanctum about his side’s recent lack of form in front of goal.
“‘We’ve practised (finishing) quite a bit. The good thing is we’re creating a lot of chances. I think we’re number one for creating chances, so that’s a positive,” he began.
“Obviously we want to score more goals but we’ve just got to take our chances when they come.
“We’ve got very good strikers and a lot of young boys as well coming off the bench and trying to score goals.
“I think Bobo now has got four goals in nine games so he’s getting better all the time.
“Kosta, it’s good to see him score as well and (Alex) Baumjohann in the last game against Victory so that will start to pick up towards the end of the season once we get more confidence in front of goal.”
Sydney has been handed a big boost moving into the clash, with Diego Castro being ruled out with a knee injury for two to four weeks.
Speaking about changes that Sydney may look to make with the busy fixture list coming up, Corica admitted that only time will tell.
“Well this is the first day back we’ve got training, so I’ve not had a look at the boys so we’ll see how they all go today,” he said.
“They seem to all be okay, so we’ll wait until after training to see who’s going to play.
“There might be one or two players we rotate because obviously we have another game on Saturday against (Melbourne) City which is going to be a massive game as well, but we need to deal with Perth and pick up three points against them and then we move on to the next game.”