Hyundai A-League preview: Wanderers v Sydney FC

It’s the first Sydney Derby of the season and with a Hyundai A-League crowd record set to be smashed and a war of words in the lead up, a sensational Saturday night awaits.

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Saturday 8 October 2016

Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Sydney FC

ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

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

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Assistant Referee 1: Allyson Flynn

Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick

Fourth Official: Kurt Ams

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.50pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney & ABC Local Radio NSW, 666 ABC Canberra, Grandstand Digital & Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, EON Sports Radio ( eonsportsradio.com ), Coast FM 96.3, Hawkesbury Radio

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steve LUSTICA, 8.Dimas, 9.Kerem BULUT, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 17.Aritz BORDA, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Jacob MELLING, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS

**two to be omitted**

Topor-Stanley

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (suspended – 1 week), 21.Mario SHABOW (international duty – 4 weeks), 23.Lachlan SCOTT (international duty – 4 weeks), 25.Liam YOULLEY (international duty – 4 weeks), 26.Jackson BANDIERA (international duty – 4 weeks)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 3.Riley WOODCOCK, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Bobô, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Sebastian RYALL, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 12.Aaron CALVER (returning from knee injury), 16.George TIMOTHEOU (international duty), 19.George BLACKWOOD (international duty)

Graham Arnold gives instructions to Sky Blues striker Alex Brosque.

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Huge. That’s the only word to describe this.

It’s become arguably the biggest fixture on the Hyundai A-League calendar, yet Saturday’s Derby in the Harbour City is set to go to a whole new, breathtakingly and passionate level on and off the park.

At one of Wanderers' new, temporary home grounds ANZ Stadium (capacity 82,000), an estimated 65,000 will greet the two sides who have both strengthened considerably since last season and will be desperate to start the season with three points

Tony Popovic’s Wanderers have carried their Adelaide grand final heartache with them all pre-season, although there is also a very new-look to their squad.

The recruits look to have potential – little wonder there is an air of optimism in the West.

That said, the Red and Black will be without skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley through suspension after he was sent off in their Westfield FFA Cup quarter-final.

After missing the Finals Series in 2015/16, the Sky Blues are aiming for more than just a return to the six. 

With top-quality recruits, including Bobo, Alex Wilkinson, Bernie Ibini, Michael Zullo and Josh Brillante joining a core of quality (Carney, Ninkovic, Holosko, Vukovic to name but four) coach Graham Arnold has assembled a top-notch squad. 

Bobo in action for Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup.

Sydney FC has also dominated this fixture in recent seasons, unbeaten in the last seven.

Can they continue that incredible run? Or will the change of venue bring a change of fortunes to last season’s beaten grand finalists?

This will take what is a marquee fixture to a whole new level. 

Hyundai A-League Rd 1 Opta Stats preview

ROUTE TO GOAL

Much will be expected of Argentine playmaker Nicolas Martinez while Mitch Nichols will hope to carry on his excellent form from last season.

With Japanese winger Jumpei Kusukami also likely to start, can they provide the ammunition for striker Kerem Bulut to cash-in, in front?

With Topor-Stanley missing, there is a spot open to partner Aritz Borda in central defence, with Brendan Hamill, Robbie Cornthwaite and Jonathan Aspropotamitis all options, though Cornthwaite's experience and ability to score from set pieces gives him the edge. 

Nicolas Martinez - Wanderers

The Sky Blues look to have strength and depth all over the park. 

While this clash has likely come too soon for Bernie Ibini, the likes of David Carney, Alex Brosque, Milos Ninkovic and Filip Holosko all look ready to rock.

And you can’t forget Bobo.

He seems to have settled quickly in Sydney’s line-up and if he can carry the form we saw in the Westfield FFA Cup into this one, then he’ll be hard to stop. 

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Alex Brosque: He hates Wanderers. Apparently. 

Brosque's fiery Sydney Derby comments

Alex Brosque in action for Sydney FC in one of last season's Sydney Derbies.

FORM LINES

Judging on pre-season form, the Sky Blues probably hold the edge. Arnold’s side has improved with each match and also has plenty of competitive games under their belt on their march to the Westfield FFA Cup semi-finals.

It’s been a little less consistent for the Wanderers but that’s understandable given the amount of new faces in the squad and the amount of experimenting Popovic has been keen to do. Their last competitive outing was a 4-1 FFA Cup quarter-final loss to Melbourne City.

PREDICTION

Western Sydney Wanderers 3-3 Sydney FC

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