An early grand final preview? It might be a tad premature but the competition’s top two have been exceptional in Season 11 and a Saturday night of "sexy football" is assured at what'll be a packed Wanderland.
Saturday, 12 December 2015
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM (AEDT))
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 666 ABC Canberra, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio NSW, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 9.Federico PIOVACCARI, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 14.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 9.Federico PIOVACCARI (promoted), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (GK), 2.Jason GERIA, 5.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Oliver BOZANIC, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 19.George HOWARD, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 24.Thomas DENG
***two to be omitted***
Ins: 15.Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO (promoted), 19.George HOWARD (promoted)
Unavailable: 4.Nick ANSELL (injured), 10.Archie THOMPSON (injured), 21.Carl VALERI (ill)
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Allyson Flynn
Assistant Referee 2: James Tesoriero
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
It’s official. The Wanderers are a force again in the Hyundai A-League.
It’s the only conclusion you can draw with Tony Popovic’s side on top of the league on the back of six wins on the bounce.
But it’s the way they are playing which is drawing plenty of admirers. While their success in the first two seasons was built on the bedrock of a water-tight defence and counter-attacking style, now it’s all about crisp passing and exciting, attacking, "sexy" football.
The Wanderers have simply been a joy to watch in 2015/16.
Those traits are something we’ve been accustomed to with Victory for a while now, which should ensure a highly entertaining clash between these two title contenders.
Kevin Muscat’s troops were well below of their usual high standards last weekend and were subsequently beaten by Wellington.
The last time Victory lost this season they came out the following week and won handsomely. They don’t play poorly two weeks in a row.
There will be a finals-like intensity at Pirtek Stadium with plenty of passion on a Super Saturday of A-League action.
- Melbourne Victory is undefeated in their last four Hyundai A-League encounters with the Wanderers, outscoring them 12-3 in that span.
- The Wanderers are now enjoying their second longest winning streak in Hyundai A-League history and a win against Melbourne Victory would bring them three shy (7) of their longest ever streak.
- Victory will be out to avoid consecutive losses, a feat they haven’t achieved since Australia Day (26/1) 2014.
- Wanderers right-back Scott Neville has won 18 aerial duels this season, the equal most of any player in the A-League (Daniel Georgevski, Tom Doyle).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Victory will look to press the home side high and stop the supply from the back into chief midfielder Andreu, who has been superb this season and an unsung hero of the Wanderers' success.
When he’s on the ball and given time, he can not only make key passes into the feet or into space for his attackers but also can feed fullbacks Neville and Jamieson when bombing forward.
It’s been a feature of the Wanderers play this season that when they do get forward, there’s always plenty of numbers in the front third.
Victory couldn’t get their attack going on the bumpy, sandy Auckland pitch last weekend but won’t have the same issue on the pristine Pirtek surface.
The battle of the ‘front-four’ of both of these sides will go a long way to deciding the outcome.
Victory’s quartet of Berisha, Ben Khalfallah, Barbarouses and Finkler is regarded as the best in the league but the Wanderers have their own weapons.
Nichols is in career-best form, Mark Bridge has scored in three straight matches while Romeo Castelen is all pace and power.
The ingredients are all there for a Hyundai A-League classic.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Mitch Nichols. The playmaker has been reborn this season under Popovic and is one of the form players around the league. Was named as a potential Socceroo bolter in 2016.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-2 Melbourne Victory