Less than a month after they played out a dour 0-0 draw, the Phoenix and Sydney FC meet again, this time in Wellington. Will goals be at a premium once more, or are we in for a pre-Christmas cracker at the Cake Tin?
Saturday, 19 December 2015
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-Off: 7:15 PM (Local) (5:15 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: Mark Rule
Assistant Referee 2: Glen Lochrie
Fourth Official: Alex King
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WELvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Troy Danaskos, 7.Jeffrey SARPONG, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 13.Albert RIERA, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Troy DANASKOS (promoted), 11.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted), 17.Vince LIA (returns from injury)
Outs: 3.Justin GULLEY (muscle injury – 1 week)
Unavailable: 18.Ben SIGMUND (hip injury)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6. Robert STAMBOLZIEV, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Christopher NAUMOFF, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 18.Matt SIMON, 19. Jacques FATY, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.George BLACKWOOD, 25.Aaron CALVER, 27.Mickael TAVARES
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Robert STAMBOLZIEV (promoted), 7.Andrew HOOLE (returns from injury), 25.Aaron CALVER (promoted)
Outs: 3.Alex GERSBACH (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable: 14.Alex BROSQUE (hamstring – 1 week), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite)
An intriguing battle looms between two sides searching for some sort of mid-season consistency as they look to consolidate their places in the Hyundai A-League's top six. The Sky Blues have managed just one win in their last six matches, while the Phoenix have been slightly better, winning two of their last five.
After a month on the road, including a "home" game in Auckland, the Phoenix will relish a return to the familiar surroundings (and pristine playing surface) of Westpac Stadium. The arena holds no fears for Graham Arnold's men though, having won both matches in Wellington last season.
The key to the contest may well be the battle between the Phoenix's eye-catching attackers Roy Krishna and Roly Bonevacia and the visitors' miserly defence, which has conceded a league-low eight goals this campaign.
This will be the 28th A-League meeting between these two sides, making Sydney FC the opponent the Phoenix have met most often.
There have been 81 goals in the 27 games between the two sides at an average of exactly three goals per game.
The Phoenix are undefeated against Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium when scoring the first goal (five wins, one draw).
Sydney FC have won 10 of their last 13 away fixtures in the A-League despite losing their most recent away match. They haven’t lost consecutive away matches since March 2014.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Roy Krishna is currently one of the hottest strikers in the A-League, having scored in each of the last three home games, all of which the Wellington Phoenix have won. The Fijian flier is proving to be a real handful for opposition defenders as his reputation as a genuine A-League goalscorer continues to grow.
Goals have been hard to come by for Sydney FC, with just ten scored in their first ten games, easily the lowest of any side in the top six. Nobody apart from Alex Brosque and Filip Holosko has scored for the Sky Blues in the past six games, and with Brosque ruled out through injury, Shane Smeltz seems the most obvious source of goals against the side he scored 21 for during two seasons in Wellington.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Young Sydney FC fullback Alex Gersbach will miss this game after being shown a straight red card in last weekend’s loss to Adelaide United.
Wellington's stalwart defender Ben Sigmund announced he will retire at seasons end after being with the Phoenix since 2008.
Wellington Phoenix: WLDWL
Sydney FC: LDDWL
Wellington Phoenix 2 Sydney FC 0