Hyundai A-League preview: Wanderers v City

Friday night throws up a beauty as the league's top two meet at Wanderland. And with four of the five top scorers in the Hyundai A-League on the pitch, expect goals.

MATCH DETAILS

Friday, 29 January 2016

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-Off: 7:40 PM (Local) (7:40 PM (AEDT))

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS TWO from 7:30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live. Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio)

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 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)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (returns from suspension), 9.Federico PIOVACCARI (promoted)

Topor-Stanley

Outs: nil

Unavailable: nil

Melbourne City FC Squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 3.Aaron HUGHES, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Erik PAARTALU, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO, 17.Wade DEKKER, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (C), 25.Jacob MELLING, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 29.Anthony CACERES, 33.Osama MALIK

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 17.Wade DEKKER (promoted), 22.Jack CLISBY (returns from suspension)

Wellington forward Roy Krishna fights for the ball with Melbourne City defender Jack Clisby.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (6-7 weeks), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee - season)

Referee: Shaun Evans

Assistant Referee 1: Lance Greenshields

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Lindsay

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

#WSWvMCY

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

What a way to start Round 17 - the competition’s top two sides face-off. 

Four out of the top five goalscorers in the A-League this season come from either the Wanderers or City. And they will all be on the pitch on Friday night. 

If the first two meetings between these two clubs this season is anything to go by then get ready for a thriller.

The Wanderers won the first clash 3-0 at AAMI Park but City responded with a late 3-2 victory in an epic tussle at AAMI Park earlier this month.

Melbourne City players celebrate scoring against the Wanderers in Round 14.

It suggests this clash can go either way and with top spot on the line you would expect this one to go down to the wire.

City have been a joy to watch in attack this season, with Mooy - a former Wanderer - Fornaroli and Novillo at the peak of their powers.

But it’s at the other end where questions remain and the Wanderers will look to put pressure on City’s shaky defence as a way of blunting their impact at the other end.

The Wanderers also welcome back experienced skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley in a boost to their defensive structure, which is sure to be tested severely in this one.

Often a huge build-up to a contest can mean the match fails to live up to the hype but the way these two teams are playing there’s seems little chance of that happening on Friday night.

Wanderers players celebrate a goal in their 2-1 win over the Mariners.

Whatever you’re doing this weekend, make sure you put aside time to watch these two teams with genuine ambitions for the A-League crown.

OPTA DATA

-Western Sydney Wanderers are undefeated in five Hyundai A-League matches at home against Melbourne City (W3, D2).

-Melbourne City has lost only once in their last six Hyundai A-League matches away from home (W3, D2) and have scored 12 goals in their last four games.

-The Wanderers have kept three clean sheets in their last four Hyundai A-League matches at home.

-City’s Aaron Mooy has created 60 chances for his teammates this season; 22 more than any other Hyundai A-League player and nearly double as many as the highest WSW player (Mitch Nichols – 32).

ROUTE TO GOAL

You only have to scan through the two line-ups and with both sides in ominous form, an attacking shootout looks assured in this one.

On one side there’s Bridge, Nichols and Castelen going up against Fornaroli, Novillo and Mooy. How’s that for attacking talent?

Melbourne City's Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and Ivan Franjic celebrate scoring against Wellington.

City is far and away the A-League’s leading scorers, with 40 from their 16 games, 15 ahead of second best (Wanderers and Victory).

In fact, City’s attacking triumvirate (Fornaroli 12, Novillo 8, Mooy 7) have scored more goals themselves than the Wanderers combined.

Some of the trio’s combination play in recent weeks has been top drawer.

But the Wanderers certainly have plenty of devastating threats of their own. 

Under-performing marquee man Piovaccari has been added to an extended squad and it will be interesting to see if he makes the final 16. But expect Tony Popovic to try and exploit City on the flanks.

When the sides last met the Wanderers got plenty of joy out wide in the second-half, capitalising on the open space in those areas with City playing a 3-5-2.

Romeo Castelen on the ball against Melbourne Victory.

It forced City to change to four at the back and it will be interesting to see if van ‘t Schip sticks with three central defenders or goes for a tactical tweak on Friday night.

If he sticks with three, wide men Michael Zullo and Ivan Franjic will be key for the visitors, not only going forward but tracking back and helping out defensively. It’s an area where this match could well be decided.

Expect football of the very highest quality. 

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Harry Novillo. The Frenchman has been almost untouchable in recent weeks. He scored twice in City’s win over Phoenix on Monday night as well as in their 3-2 win over Wanderers earlier this month. Can the home side find a way to stop him in this one? 

He was also named in our team of the week

FORM LINES

Wanderers: WDLLW

City: LDWDW

PREDICTION 

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3-2 Melbourne City