Hyundai A-League preview: Sydney FC v Jets
The Sky Blues have the chance to complete a hat-trick of wins against the Jets this season in an always fiercely contested NSW derby, this time to be played at ANZ Stadium.
Saturday, 9 January 2016
ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Kick-Off: 5:15 PM (Local) (5:15 PM (AEDT))
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Local Radio NSW, ABC Grandstand Digital, online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #SYDvNEW
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Robert STAMBOLZIEV, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Christopher NAUMOFF, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Ali ABBAS, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.George BLACKWOOD, 25.Aaron CALVER, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 29.Alex MULLEN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Robert STAMBOLZIEV (promoted), 18.Matt SIMON (return from suspension), 22.Ali ABBAS (return from injury), 25.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 29.Alex MULLEN (promoted)
Outs: 3.Alex GERSBACH, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 13.Brandon O’NEILL (all Olyroos duty)
Unavailable: 14.Alex BROSQUE (hamstring – 3/4 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 20.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.David CARNEY, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 27.Braedyn CROWLEY, 28.Ryan KITTO
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.LEONARDO (returns from injury), 23.David CARNEY (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season), 13.Lee KI-JE (international transfer pending)
Referee: Jonathan Barreiro
Assistant Referee 1: Allyson Flynn
Assistant Referee 2: Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
A new home for the Sky Blues - with their regular base at Allianz being returfed - but they’ll hope it’s the same old story against the Jets.
Sydney FC hasn’t lost to Newcastle in their last nine meetings, including two 1-0 victories this season.
And there’s not much to suggest this will be any different given both sides' current form.
While Sydney have tasted defeat just once in their last five games, the Jets are without a win since round four – or to put it another way, nine straight matches.
It was around this stage of last season where the Sky Blues clicked into gear and made their charge all the way through to the grand final.
Can they produce a repeat this time around?
It won’t be easy with the depth of Graham Arnold’s side to be sorely tested for the next few weeks.
Youngsters Andrew Hoole, Alex Gersbach and Brandon O’Neill – who all started in the 2-2 draw with Melbourne City on Saturday night – are away with the Olyroos, while skipper Alex Brosque will also miss close to a month with a hamstring injury.
Newcastle will hope that leaves the Sky Blues a little vulnerable in this one.
Not much has gone right for the Jets over the last two months but incredibly they are still just two points out of the top six.
Coach Scott Miller will be hoping the possible addition of a couple of January reinforcements and they may be able to mount a challenge for a finals berth.
It’s been five seasons without finals for the club so they are desperate to end that drought in 2015/16.
A few new signings in coming weeks are on the cards but they’ll hope the return of David Carney and Leonardo will do the trick for this one.
Sydney FC are undefeated in their last nine Hyundai A-League matches against Newcastle (W7, D2) and have kept seven clean sheets in that time.
Another game without a goal for Newcastle Jets would be their sixth in a row, equaling the Hyundai A-League record for most games without a goal (6 – New Zealand Knights).
Matt Jurman has made 58 interceptions this Hyundai A-League season, the second most of any player in the competition and only three behind Mariner Nick Montgomery.
Jason Hoffman has made 44 tackles this Hyundai A-League season, the second most of any player and only one behind Wellington’s Albert Riera.
ROUTE TO GOAL
If the previous clashes between these two this season is anything to go by, goals are likely to be at a premium on Saturday night.
Both of those matches ended in 1-0 wins for the Sky Blues, with goal-scoring chances few and far between.
Sydney did show some encouraging signs, though, last weekend against City, carving out a host of excellent opportunities.
With six goals from their last two games, maybe Arnold’s troops are set for a goal avalanche in the second half of the season – much like they did last campaign.
Playmaker Milos Ninkovic stepped up last week, scoring a brace, and will hope the floodgates have opened in that department for the remainder of 2015/16.
For the Jets, they simply can’t buy a goal at the moment.
Their pop-gun attack broke an unwanted club record last weekend, now going 469 minutes – and five consecutive matches – without finding the back of the net.
Miller leapt to the defence of underfire striker Milos Trifunovic this week, stating the Serbian can’t be expected to score without the proper service.
The return of Carney from suspension and Brazilian Leonardo should help give the Jets more thrust in the front third.
But their delivery into the box must improve; too often the ball just lumped into the box with little real purpose. Set-pieces could be their best avenue to goal, with Boogaard, Mullen, Hoffman and Trifunovic all dangerous in the air.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
George Blackwood. The young Sydney striker performed well from the start against Melbourne City last weekend and is likely to be in the XI again with Brosque out. Arnold has big wraps on the teenager, so can he repay him with a goal or two against the struggling Jets.
Sydney FC 3-1 Newcastle Jets