Hyundai A-League preview: Wellington v Sydney FC

A rampant Sydney FC are in the Kiwi capital Sunday, buoyed by a barnstorming start to the season including sealing their spot midweek in the Westfield FFA Cup final.  Can Ernie's Phoenix put a crimp in Arnie's Sky Blue plans for A-League domination? 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 7:00PM (Local) (5:00PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kurt Ams

Assistant Referee 1: James Tesoriero

Assistant Referee 2: Sarah Jones

Fourth Official: Jonathan Barreiro

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

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

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Ryan LOWRY (promoted), 16.Louis FENTON (promoted), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (promoted)

Phoenix utility Louis Fenton celebrates after making it 1-0 in Wellington.

Outs: 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ (omitted)

Unavailable: Nil

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: 3.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 11.Bernie IBINI (promoted)

Bernie Ibini and Alex Brosque will look to reignite their lethal partnership in 2016/17.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 16.George TIMOTHEOU, 19.George BLACKWOOD (international duty)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

A clash between top and bottom sides (albeit after just two games) who both love to attack. 

The Sky Blues have been the standout side over the opening fortnight.

Eight goals, zero conceded and some sublime football. They are through to the Westfield FFA Cup final as well.

Sydney FC were impressive in their 4-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.

The big question will be how they back up for a third game in eight days, with a plane trip across the Tasman to end their week. This appears the first major test for Graham Arnold in 2016/17.

It’s been an underwhelming start for Wellington, with two defeats meaning they are the only club without a point so far.

There were some encouraging signs in the ‘Distance Derby’ defeat to Perth Glory last Sunday but ultimately Ernie Merrick’s side came away with nothing.

Phoenix must add some polish to go with their enterprising play in the front third if they want to halt the Sydney FC juggernaut.

Kosta Barbarouses on the ball during Phoenix's 2-0 loss to Perth Glory.

It’s been six straight defeats in the Hyundai A-League for Wellington – a new and unwanted club record. Can they stop the rot?

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League stats: is possession king?

ROUTE TO GOAL

Wellington has been anything but clinical in the first fortnight of the season, squandering plenty of excellent opportunities in defeats to City and Glory.

They have no goals in 180 minutes of action despite the plethora of attacking stars on their roster.

Surely it’s only a matter of time before the likes of Krishna, Barbarouses, McGlinchey, Finkler and Bonevacia start to fire?

Roy Krishna says Wellington Pheonix can finish in the top two of the Hyundai A-League in season 2016/17.

It’s a completely different story for the Sky Blues, who can’t seem to stop scoring right now.

Holosko (three goals) and new marquee man Bobo (two) have grabbed the headlines over the first two weeks but it was Ninkovic who caught the eye in the demolition of the Mariners.

The Serbian’s clever passing starts a lot of Sydney’s attack, contributing two assists at Allianz last weekend.

Sydney FC midfielder Milos Ninkovic is superb value at $170,000.

With flyer Bernie Ibini back and scoring again, Arnold has so many options at his disposal.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Bernie Ibini. How good is it to see Bernie back! Scored in his first competitive game in over a year in the Westfield FFA Cup on Wednesday night in a brilliant return.

FORM LINES

Wellington: LL

Sydney FC: WW

PREDICTION

Wellington Phoenix 2-2 Sydney FC