Hyundai A-League preview: Wanderers v City

Fresh from his record-breaking exploits last weekend, Bruno Fornaroli brings his Melbourne City outfit - including Timmy Cahill - to Sydney Olympic Park to face a Wanderers side looking to rediscover their mojo at both ends of the pitch on Friday night.

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Friday, 18 November 2016

Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Melbourne City FC

Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))

Referee: Chris Beath

Assistant Referee 1: James Tesoriero

Assistant Referee 2: Andrej Giev

Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 774 ABC Melbourne & ABC Local Radio Victoria, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW, 666Canberra, Grandstand Digital, Online and via the app, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Hawkesbury Radio

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvMCY

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas (c), 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Artiz BORDA, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 7.Steve LUSTICA (promoted), 12.Scott NEVILLE (promoted), 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE (promoted), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (promoted)

Defender Robbie Cornthwaite in his Wanderers debut against Sydney FC.

Outs: 2.Shannon COLE (not selected), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (leg – 1 week)

Unavailable: Nil

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 4.Connor CHAPMAN, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Josh ROSE (promoted), 14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted), 26.Luke BRATTAN (returns from international duty)

Luke Brattan controls the ball in City's 2-1 win over Adelaide United.

Outs: 21.Ruon TONGYIK (omitted)

Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 9.Nicholas COLAZO (ear – 1 week), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Two of the competition’s most fluent footballing sides do battle in what promises to be a Harvey Norman Friday night goal-fest.

With Wanderers' oddly leaky defence coupled with City's rampaging strikeforce, the close to sellout crowd surely will see goals at Spotless. 

The Wanderers are in desperate need of a win after their crushing disappointment of their 3-0 loss against Victory last weekend. It’s now four games without a win for Tony Popovic’s men.

The FFA has announced two updates to the draw for Hyundai A-League season 2016/17 involving Western Sydney Wanderers.

While Wanderers are notoriously slow starters, the fact they have just one win from the opening six rounds – and even that came in stoppage time – will be a concern even this early in the season. 

Their main issue has come in the front third. While their build-up play from the back and through midfield has caught the eye, Western Sydney have been lacking when it comes to the final ball and finish - it’s hurting them big time.

While they are boosted by the return of Scott Neville, Steven Lustica and Robbie Cornthwaite, leading scorer Brendon Santalab misses out through injury.

City will look to exploit the home side’s lack of confidence and get at a defence which has looked shaky at times in the 2016/17 Season. 

And in Bruno Fornaroli they have the perfect man to do just that. "El Tuna" bagged a brace in the win over the Jets a week ago and has been untouchable at times this season.

City striker Bruno Fornaroli celebrates one his two goals against the Jets.

City has been win, loss, win, loss, win over the last five weeks so coach John van ‘t Schip will be looking for a bit more consistency to go with their eye-catching football.

In team news, there’s still no Nicolas Colazo but Luke Brattan is back from Caltex Socceroos duty while defender Josh Rose returns as well.

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League Round 7 stats

ROUTE TO GOAL

Some of the Wanderers play between the two boxes has been scintillating so far this season but they have had issues at both ends.

Not only have they been conceding soft goals – totally uncharacteristic for a Popovic-coached side – but they have also been wasteful in attack. It’s been a case of either fluffing the chance when it arrives or taking the wrong option with the last pass.

And their cause won’t be helped in this one through the absence of Santalab.

The veteran attacker, who has scored four of their seven goals this season, has a calf problem meaning the unpredictable Kerem Bulut is likely to lead the attack.

Kerem Bulut

Bulut does work hard for the side but so far hasn’t made the most of the opportunities presented from the excellent build-up play from Nichols, Martinez, Jumpei and Co.

How they look to exploit City's sometimes three at the back will be key. 

City has been simply devastating when in full flight, especially skipper Fornaroli. The Uruguayan became the fastest player to 30 Hyundai A-League goals (from 35 games) last weekend and he’ll be the main threat again.

It helps having service from exceptional wide players Fernando Brandan and Bruce Kamau, while the return of Brattan from international duty gives City even more ammunition, especially his set pieces.

Adelaide United youngster Jordan O'Doherty challenges for the ball with City winger Bruce Kamau.

And don’t forget Cahill. A western Sydney boy, he’ll want to produce in front of family and friends and is due a goal after a quiet few weeks.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Tim Cahill. Born and raised in Sydney’s west, the Caltex Socceroos legend returns to his home town looking to add to the Wanderers’ misery. Timmy always delivers on the big occasion, can he do it at Spotless?

FORM LINES (last five games)

Wanderers: WDDDL

City: WLWLW

PREDICTION

Western Sydney Wanderers 2-3 Melbourne City