Hyundai A-League preview: Mariners v Wanderers
All eyes will be on Gosford to see what impact Luis Garcia will have at the Mariners. Will the Liverpool legend inspire the cellar dwellers against the powerhouse Wanderers?
Saturday, 23 January 2016
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers FC
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Ben Williams
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
Fourth Official: Trent Nash
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Coast FM 96.3 (Central Coast)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #CCMvWSW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Central Coast Mariners squad: 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Mitch AUSTIN, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 10.Luis GARCIA,13.Alastair BRAY (GK), 15.Brad McDONALD, 16.Liam ROSE,17.Francesco STELLA, 19.Josh BINGHAM, 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 23.Tomislav USKOK, 28.Matthew FLETCHER, 40.Tom HEWARD-BELLE (GK)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (return from suspension), 10.Luis GARCIA (new signing), 15.Brad McDONALD (new signing), 28.Matthew FLETCHER (new signing)
Outs: 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (not selected), 25.Adam BERRY (not selected)
Unavailable: 1.Paul IZZO (gk) (knee – 1 week), 9.Roy O’DONAVON (suspended – 6 matches), 15.Matthew SIM (contract terminated)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 3.Scott JAMIESON, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 9.Federico PIOVACCARI, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 30.Liam REDDY (gk), 34.Mario SHABOW
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 11.Brendon SANTALAB (promoted), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS (promoted), 34.Mario SHABOW (promoted)
Outs: 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (Olyroos duty)
The build-up to this one has been all about Liverpool legend Luis Garcia’s addition to the Mariners and it’s hard not to get excited about watching the little Spaniard in action.
Just what role and how long he’ll play against the Wanderers depends on coach Tony Walmsley.
You would imagine Garcia’s presence will only benefit the impressive youngsters in the Mariners squad and might even make Ferreira and Austin more lethal on the flanks.
Central Coast fans will be hoping that’s the case with not much to get excited about so far in 2015/16.
Their loss to Adelaide last weekend was reversal number 10 from 15 games and they remain four points adrift at the bottom of the ladder and 11 points off sixth spot.
The performance was also a bit of a step backwards after strong showings against Wellington and Victory in the fortnight before.
Nothing but a 90-minute display will be good enough against the wounded Wanderers, desperate to make amends for last weekend’s derby defeat to the Sky Blues.
Tony Popovic’s side deserved more than they got in the 2-1 loss. It’s now two defeats on the spin for the Wanderers so the Mariners better beware.
The Sky Blues showed last weekend the Wanderers can be stopped with a well-organised defensive shape but it remains to be seen if the Mariners are capable of doing the same.
The visitors will bring a huge support with them to the Coast and will be keen to rain on Central Coast’s parade.
-Central Coast has scored six goals in their last two home Hyundai A-League games, the same amount of goals they scored in the six home games prior.
-After 12 encounters in the Hyundai A-League, these two sides can’t be split with four wins each and four draws between them.
-The Mariners have won two of their last three Hyundai A-League matches hosting the Wanderers, although lost at home earlier this season.
-Mitch Nichols has scored five goals away from home this Hyundai A-League season, the equal second most of any player and two shy of league-leader Bruno Fornaroli (Melbourne City).
ROUTE TO GOAL
It will be intriguing to see just how Walmsley utilises the talents of Garcia.
Comfortable anywhere in behind the main striker, you would imagine it’s in the 10 role where the Mariners are likely to get best value from him.
That would allow Fabio Ferreira and Mitch Austin to continue to operate on both flanks, sure to enjoy the expert service from a player of Garcia’s class, as will new central striker Matt Fletcher who joined the club this week.
But considering his age, and the fact he hasn’t played a competitive match for more than a year, it would perhaps be foolish to expect Garcia to slot straight in and dominate.
If Walmsley can get a solid hour out of his new marquee man the Mariners will be happy, although a cameo off the bench appears the more likely option.
The onus will be on the central midfielders and defenders to get the ball into Garcia’s feet early so he can face forward and get at the Wanderers back four.
The Red and Black will still be scratching their heads over last week’s derby defeat. But Popovic’s troops only have themselves to blame.
They carved out a number of superb chances to kill the game off but either fired wide or straight at Vedran Janjetovic.
Ominously though, at least they have the ability to open up opposition sides at will and surely it’s only a matter of time before they hand out a hiding to someone.
If ever Castelen, Nichols, Bridge and Piovaccari are “on” on the same day, the goals will be sure to flow.
Expect the Italian marquee man to come back into the starting side for this one.
With his imposing frame he’ll look to bully the Mariners young defenders and add to the disappointing tally of two goals he has for the campaign.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Luis Garcia. Who else? The veteran Spaniard is the Mariners marquee signing for the rest of the season and will be expected to help the club move away from the A-League basement.
Central Coast Mariners 1-3 Western Sydney Wanderers FC