By Petar Petrov (PPetrov_FV)
We are just past the halfway mark in the A-League Men’s campaign now!
With every club having played at least 13 league games, we take a look at the best performers in the A-League Men’s competition, according to stats from FotMob and InStat Scout.
For our formation, we have picked the league’s most frequently used setup – the 4-2-4, with a double-six and two strikers.
Here is Kick360‘s A-League Men’s Team of the Season (TOTS) at the halfway point, based on role-specific statistics and metrics for each position.
GK – Jack Duncan (Newcastle Jets)
Probably the most surprising inclusion on the list, Duncan has had a quietly excellent season since displacing Michael Weier between the posts for Arthur Papas’ side.
Despite having a pretty shaky defence in front of him, the 29-year-old keeper has put up some very impressive numbers, ranking in the top 1% for Saves per 90, with 5.1, while also having the peak Save percentage in the league (80.7%), and coming just behind Joe Gauci for Goals prevented (based on xG) with 4.4.
RB – Joshua Risdon (Western United)
The Western United vice-captain is one of the very few players that managed to carry over their form from last season coming into 2022/2023. Risdon has made a difference for his team, both offensively and defensively, and that is shown in his numbers.
The Socceroos right-back is the most prolific defender in the league, providing six goal contributions (the sixth highest) in 13 appearances, with his four assists making him the joint best provider in the country.
In terms of defensive contributions, Risdon ranks in the top three for successful tackles, interceptions, and ball recoveries in the Western United squad.
CB – Marcelo (Western Sydney Wanderers)
If you ask Marko Rudan what Marcelo’s most important traits are, he’ll probably say confidence and leadership. Two intangible qualities that can’t be measured by stats. But the Brazilian really is the full package, passing both the eye and stats test.
The Wanderers captain tops the charts for clearances per 90, while making the top 10 for interceptions, ball recoveries, and air challenges won. A fantastic all-action defender who has done more than enough to earn a place in every TOTS so far.
CB – Brian Kaltak (Central Coast Mariners)
Similarly to his partner, Kaltak has hit the ground running in his first year in the A-League Men and has established himself as one of the prime centre-backs in Australia, in spite of his lack of previous pro experience.
The Vanuatu international has impressed with his strength and composure, making the top five for interceptions, blocks, ball recoveries, and successful air duels. He has been extremely valuable for the Mariners’ buildup as well, averaging 57.4 passes per 90 (most) and 4.1 accurate long balls, the second most in the league.
LB – Jordan Bos (Melbourne City)
Despite the lack of goal contributions, it’s really hard to go past Jordan Bos when making a TOTY XI. The youngster won the left-back spot at the start of the year and has never looked back since.
Having played as a winger in his youth days, Bos slotted perfectly into City’s aggressive formation and has been consistently impressive, averaging 1.4 successful dribbles per 90, a league-high for full-backs, winning 53% of his tackles, and helping City keep six clean sheets, the most in the competition.
CM – Calem Nieuwenhof (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Nieuwenhof’s Sydney FC departure left most people scratching their heads and halfway through the season, that decision from the sky blues looks even stranger. The young midfielder instantly became a cornerstone for Rudan’s new Western Sydney and has been a mainstay in the XI ever since.
From his deep-lying position, Nieuwenhof has created the fourth most chances in the Wanderers squad, while at the same time doing a lot of the dirty work. He’s currently the midfielder with the most completed tackles in the league, something that has helped the Wanderers massively when it comes to breaking down transitions.
CM – James O’Shea (Brisbane Roar)
Jay O’Shea has once again been the standout performer for Brisbane and there should be little surprise that he makes this list, with his playing style naturally making him a bit of a “stats-darling”.
O’Shea makes the top three for chances created, with 35, and is the central midfielder with the highest xA in the competition (2.9). He has scored two goals, provided one assist, and been named man of the match four times for the Roar.
RW – Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City)
Following his exceptional World Cup performances in Qatar, Mat Leckie returned to Australia looking even stronger and sharper and the evidence can be seen in his numbers.
At present, when it comes to attackers, Leckie leads the league in terms of successful tackles and ball recoveries in the final third. He also tops the charts in City’s squad for big chances created and completed dribbles per 90.
An invaluable profile that gives Vidošić’s side loads of creativity from wide areas but also has the legs to press tirelessly and defend from the top of the pitch, something that is highly valued at every club that’s part of the City Football Group.
LW – Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
Considered by many as the finest player in the A-League Men, Goodwin has been on fire in the first part of the campaign, despite his off-season injury issues and the inconsistency of his team.
The former Sparta Rotterdam winger is not only Adelaide’s best assister and goal scorer, with six goals and four assists, but he’s also the leading chance creator in the whole league, ranking in the top one percentile for xA (3.7) and sitting second on the table for big chances created, just one behind Craig Noone.
ST – Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City)
The name Maclaren has become a synonym for goals in recent years, with the former Perth striker on course to winning his fourth consecutive Golden Boot since returning to his home country in 2019.
In 13 games this term (excluding the Melbourne Derby), Maclaren has scored 14 goals (+one assist), from a total of 13.7 xG, and is leading the way in every single goalscoring metric. Maclaren sits in the top 1% for Goals per 90, xG accumulated, xGOT, and shots on target per 90.
And although some fans still question his on-ball abilities, City’s star doesn’t really seem bothered. He now has 134 goals in the A-League Men, and is just eight short of Besart Berisha’s all-time record.
ST – Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners)
Cummings sits one spot behind Maclaren in the goalscoring charts, with eight accurate strikes. But the former Scotland international also carries a lot of the creative burden for Montgomery’s side. He’s their joint highest assist provider, with three, and ranks seventh in the squad for Expected assists (xA).
Following the departure of Marco Ureña, Cummings became the main man in Gosford and if we look a bit deeper, his influence is obvious. The Coasties have lost only one of the games in which the Edinburgh-born forward has scored or assisted.
Image credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images