The last time these two met in Sydney, it was a nine-goal extravaganza of epic proportions. What can we expect from this Harvey Norman Friday night blockbuster?
Friday, 25 November 2016
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Brisbane Roar FC
Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Adam Fielding
Assistant Referee 1: Owen Goldrick
Assistant Referee 2: Greg Taylor
Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvBRI
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, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 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
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Steve LUSTICA (promoted), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (returns from injury), 8.Robbie CORNTHWAITE (promoted)
Outs: 23.Lachlan SCOTT (not selected)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Michael THEO (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.Brett HOLMAN, 11.Tommy OAR, 13.Jade NORTH, 15.ARANA, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 33.Joey KATEBIAN
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS (promoted), 33.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)
Unavailable: 28.Brandon BORRELLO (hamstring – 1 week)
Wanderers record might not be that crash hot with just one win this season, but they certainly haven’t been lacking in entertainment value.
Some of their intricate lead-up play in the middle of the park has been exceptional and easy on the eye but, for the moment, they seem a work in progress.
The problem for the Wanderers is that this Brisbane team appears a little further down the track in their development.
While their football hasn’t hit the heights we know it can, Roar are grinding out the results and sit third on the ladder.
That was never more evident than against the rampaging Sydney FC, where John Aloisi’s side eked out a 1-1 draw despite being on the back-foot for large periods.
Western Sydney also drew 1-1 last week, scoring in stoppage-time to steal a point against Melbourne City.
Entertainment will be the order of the day at Spotless on Friday night. Can it rival the epic 5-4 semi-final we saw at Wanderland the last time these two met?
ROUTE TO GOAL
Wanderers will be boosted by the return of striker Brendon Santalab from a calf injury.
He immediately gives their attack a more menacing look and his battle with the likes of DeVere and North should be fiery and pulsating.
Popovic will instruct his side to press high and fast to stop Roar’s playing out from the back.
Brisbane put themselves under pressure several times against the Sky Blues last week by giving the ball away deep in their half as they struggled to deal with the press.
But if Roar is able to play through it, keep possession and get their playmakers on the ball, they could find some joy.
The Wanderers’ new-look back four has struggled for continuity and consistency and will be asked plenty of questions by the likes of Maclaren, Holman, Broich, Oar and Borrello.
Maclaren in particular will be a danger man for the hosts, scoring in all four clashes against the Wanderers last season and he should be flying after his recent experience with the Caltex Socceroos.
For the home side, Nico Martinez could be the man to help kick-start their season.
The Argentine has been superb for a number of weeks now and has the quality to unlock any defence – even the well-organised Roar rear-guard.
But goals remain the issue for the red and black. It took an own goal to snatch a draw against City despite creating a host of gilt-edged opportunities.
At least leading scorer (four goals) Santalab is back. He has shown an ability to finish of those chances the likes of Martinez, Jumpei and Nichols have created, which is something Bulut hasn’t been able to do.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
FORM LINES (last five games)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-2 Brisbane Roar