In the second of our three-part series, we explore the world of A-League football stats; unearthing some statistical gems that reflect both the Phoenix’s overall performance this past campaign and the general craziness of the 2020/21 A-League season.
READ: Nix 2020/21 Season In Stats: Episode 1
In this article, we look at a bevy of statistical achievements set by the Club set last season from both a player and team perspective.
Club Season Stats
With David Ball’s goal versus Macarthur FC in the last game of the 2020/21 season, Wellington became the only team in the A-League this season to have four players score six goals or more – led by Tomer Hemed (11), Ben Waine (7), Ulises Davila (7) and Ball (6).
The last A-League team to achieve this was Perth Glory in the 2018/19 season, and it’s also only the second time in Club history that the Phoenix have achieved this feat – that being the 2010/11 Season with Chris Greenacre (8), Paul Ifill (7), Dylan Macallister (7) and Tim Brown (6).
As a team, the Phoenix drew the most fouls in the A-League by a huge margin; 390 fouls drawn – 15 fouls drawn per game – with Central Coast Mariners the second-ranked team with on 332 (12.7 fouls drawn per game). This was the second straight season the Phoenix had achieved this feat, having also drawn a league-leading 401 fouls in the 2019/20 season.
Interestingly, despite being fouled to this level the Nix committed the third-least number of fouls in the competition with 278; Adelaide the runaway leaders in this category with 367.
Ulises Davila was the joint-most fouled player in the competition with 62 (tied with Perth’s Bruno Fornaroli), despite only playing in 23 of 26 matches. The Phoenix were also the only Club with more than one player in the Top 11 fouls drawn – Cameron Devlin (45) and Reno Piscopo (44) joining Davila on this list.
No Room for Error:
Wellington Phoenix made just two errors leading to shots last season, the joint-fewest of any team (along with Melbourne City FC). They were also the only team in the competition not to make an error leading to a goal in the 2020/21 season.
The Phoenix was also one of four teams not to record an own goal, joining Melbourne City, Macarthur FC and Central Coast Mariners. On the other end of the scale, both Perth Glory and Newcastle each recorded three own goals for the 2020/21 season.
Statistically a Top Six team?
Although the Phoenix finished in seventh place – one point out of a top six finish and a coveted Finals berth – many of the Club’s numbers indicate that from a statistical perspective, they were one of the top four teams in the A-League.
For starters, the Phoenix finished third in Points Differential with +10 (44 Goals For, third-best in the competition, minus 34 Goals Against), the third-highest figure in the competition. This number also equalled the Club’s all-time Points Differential record – its +10 mark only matched by Wellington’s epic 2014/15 campaign.
The Club finished in seventh place with 38 competition points, good for 1.46 points per game. As previously reported by Stuff’s Andrew Voerman, no other Club in the history of the A-League has ever picked up that many points per game and missed the playoffs.
And no team has ever had a Goal Difference per game (plus-.38 per game) as good as the 2020/21 Phoenix but not made the playoffs.
Player Season Stats
Tim Payne was one of only 13 A-League players to start every match last season; he played the full 90 minutes in 24 of those matches, with his 2,300 minutes ranking ninth overall in the competition (actually 6th overall if you exclude the three goalkeepers in the list above him).
In his debut A-League season, Clayton Lewis had 112 crosses (9th in the competition) and 43 interceptions (6th) joining Central Coast’s Jack Clisby as the only players to rank in the top 10 in both of these categories for the 2020/21 season. He also becomes the first ‘Nix player to achieve this feat in the past five seasons.
Oli Sail put on a goalkeeping masterclass last season, recording 6 Clean Sheets over 20 matches to give him a 30% Clean Sheets rate. This is the most clean sheets recorded by a Phoenix goalkeeper – and the highest rate – since the 2014/15 season when Glen Moss recorded eight clean sheets and a 30.8% rate.
And after leading the competition in Goals Saved per Game for much of the season, Sail was pipped at the post by Western United’s Ryan Scott in their last day of action. The WUN goalkeeper recorded five saves in their final match to beat Sail by mere percentage points – Scott with 4.42 Saves Per Game based on 84 saves in 19 matches, versus Sail’s 4.35 SPG on 87 saves over 20 matches.
Tomer Hemed became the first ever Phoenix player to score a goal in five consecutive matches, registering six goals in total across five games from 16 May to 4 June. Hemed also matched the Club’s all-time Goals per 90 Minutes record with 0.74 goals, equalling the mark set by Roy Krishna in the 2018/19 Season. For the season, Wellington was the only team to feature two players in the Top 10 Goals per 90 Minutes – Hemed second and Ben Waine ninth with 0.52.
Speaking of Ben Waine, the 20-year-old striker led the entire A-League last season in Goals per Shot with a 33% strike rate; his seven goals coming off of 21 shots at goal. Waine also ranked second in the competition in Goals per Shots on Target – his astounding 7 goals from 10 shots on target (70%) just behind Perth’s Joel Chianese.
Ulises Davila became the only player to record at least seven goals and seven assists in the A-League last season. The last player to achieve this feat was Western United’s Alessandro Diamanti in the 2019/20 season who – like Davila last season – would go on to win the Johnny Warren Medal. Davila also became only the second player to achieve the ‘7 & 7’ feat for the ‘Nix, following Carlos Hernanadez registering seven goals and nine assists in the 2013/14 season.
Next week: we look at the huge role that youth, Kiwi-born players and Academy graduates played in the Phoenix squad – and its success – last season.