Welcome to the second edition of “Phoenix Prognosis”, where I take a look at some key (and some useless) points from the Phoenix’s weekend encounter. The 4-1 win over the Newcastle Jets brought up plenty of talking points, so let’s get straight into it.
What was that people were saying about the Round One loss to Perth again? A handy reminder not to visit Overreaction Theatre after such a small sample size.
After posting the scoring rate of Michael McGlinchey last week, only fair to make another meaningless comparison again this week for the two Phoenix stars so far this season. Remember when goalscoring threats Vince Lia and Manny Muscat made up the core of the Phoenix midfield? Good times:
Nathan Burns and Michael McGlinchey – 6 goals in 6 games.
Vince Lia and Manny Muscat – 4 goals in 287 games.
The Phoenix’s Jekyll and Hyde duo
It wouldn’t be the Phoenix without a couple of players who draw vastly differing opinions from fans, and it looks to be Tom Doyle and (unsurprisingly) Jeremy Brockie this season.
Doyle has had moments of class this season, but has also been at fault for a few scary errors when he turns into Dom Toyle, such as the comical own goal last weekend and this short burst of inattentiveness yesterday.
Meanwhile, Brockie still seemingly has his haters and hardcore supporters, having some excellent spells of link-up to turn provider early on, yet still attracting criticism for a perceived low workrate and missing a chance off a McGlinchey cross.
(But I’m sure he’s well used to that by now).
Newcastle’s Defence Were As Honking As Their Strip
Although the Phoenix midfielders and wingers had some excellent vision and fired off some raking passes, they were given an abundance of space to do so, with the Jets really lacking a spine in the centre of the park.
How bad was the Jets defence? The Phoenix only had 39.2% possession, and played 200 less passes than Newcastle, yet still bundled four past them. (You know it isn’t your day when the Phoenix score from a set-piece against you).
Oh, and that Jets strip? Turrible, just turrible.
Westpac Stadium’s Influence On Crowd Perception
There has been a recent swath of opinion calling the Phoenix’s crowds poor. When you put them in context, they really aren’t that bad at all – with crowd numbers in the technology era falling across all sports, and Wellington’s population making for a tough comparison to some other A-League cities.
However, that perception could very well easily come from the cavernous Westpac Stadium, which makes all crowds below 15,000 look relatively small, and the SKY cameras, which are installed in places where the crowds tend not to flock to.
This isn’t the fault of Westpac Stadium, nor SKY, but it is one of the reasons why the casual onlooker may agree with the crowd size sentiments.
- The Phoenix continue to get quality shots at goal, shooting 8 of their 10 attempts from inside the box yesterday afternoon.
- After proposing that Louis Fenton get a run at right back at some point in the season, he seemed to be at fault, at least partially, for the Jets’ unmarked goal. With Ernie Merrick seemingly keen to keep giving him some run in the last 20 or so minutes, we’ll see how he continues to hold up.
Next up? The Melbourne Victory on Monday night, so except this column to run on Tuesday next week. Until then.
Hamilton raised, Niall Anderson now halves his time between university studies in Auckland and catching up on all things Waikato football in the Tron. Having covered Waikato FC and WaiBOP United in the ASB Premiership, Niall is also the lead writer at nzhoops.co.nz. Find him on Twitter @NiallGunner.