Can the resurgent Wanderers make it back-to-back wins or will Victory - without injured star winger Marco Rojas - find joy in the Harbour City? A pulsating night awaits at ANZ.
Saturday, 10 December 2016
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Melbourne Victory
ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Chris Beath
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham
Assistant Referee 2: Allyson Flynn
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from x.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 666 ABC Canberra, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio NSW/Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, 1116 SEN (Melbourne), EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com), Hawkesbury Radio
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 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, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 23.Lachlan SCOTT, 40.Nick SUMAN (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 9.Kerem BULUT (promoted), 40.Nick SUMAN (gk) (promoted)
Outs: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk) (suspended – 1 match)
Melbourne Victory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 4.Nick ANSELL, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Max BEISTER, 10.James TROISI, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Alan BARO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.James DONACHIE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI (c), 22.Stefan NIGRO, 23.Jai INGHAM, 40.Matt ACTON (gk)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Nick ANSELL (returns from injury), 22.Stefan NIGRO (promoted)
Outs: 7.Marco ROJAS (hamstring – 1-2 weeks)
Unavailable: 11.Mitch AUSTIN (ankle – 1 week), 27.Alastair BRAY (shoulder – 4-5 months)
Twenty four hours after Sydney and City meet at ANZ, and it'll be another belter when two of the best-supported clubs meet.
It was a 3-0 win for Victory when these two sides met in Melbourne just four weeks ago. But that result didn’t tell the whole story and Tony Popovic’s men look to be hitting their straps heading towards the festive period.
Wanderers have been building towards the 4-1 drubbing they handed to the Mariners last weekend with their finishing finally matching the quality of their approach play.
Could this be the start of another of those characteristic mid-season charges by the Red and Black?
Like the Wanderers, Victory hasn’t quite been at their devastating best but have quietly gone about their business to sit third on the ladder, with a game in hand. Kevin Muscat’s side are unbeaten in their last three and really should have taken all three points from last weekend’s draw with Perth Glory.
Victory had 22 shots at goal but only managed to find the net once. The positive is they are creating the chances and their front-four is as classy as any in the competition.
But they’ve been dealt a huge blow for this one with star attacker Marco Rojas [five goals and five assists this season] ruled out with a hamstring problem.
It’s always an entertaining spectacle when these two face up, with goals – and finals-like intensity – sure to be the order of the day at ANZ Stadium.
ROUTE TO GOAL
For the neutral, watching Nico Martinez terrorize opposition defences will be something special.
Expect the classy Argentine to be pivotal again and potentially add to the two goals and three assists to his name so far this season.
His combination with Mitch Nichols is almost telepathic.
Add the dribbling skill of Jumpei Kusukami, the vision and passing of Dimas Delgado, overlapping fullbacks Scott Neville and Jack Clisby and super-sub Brendon Santalab and the Wanderers have weapons.
But so do the visitors from Victoria.
While he hasn’t been at his clinical best, Besart Berisha still has five goals to his name for the season.
With James Troisi, Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Mitch Austin, Victory possesses plenty of pace, power and a real goal threat.
They have scored 17 goals – the second most in the competition, though six were scored against Phoenix on Melbourne Cup Eve – despite playing one less match than most of their rivals.
That said, Muscat will want to see a more ruthless streak in the final third to really punish teams with the chances they create.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Nico Martinez. The Argentine playmaker has been sensational over the last few weeks, earning a spot in the Hyundai A-League’s Team of the Month for November. If he fires, the Wanderers will be hard to stop.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-2 Melbourne Victory