Can the Wanderers take advantage of a weary Central Coast to steal top spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder?
Date: Saturday 2 March, 2013 Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT Venue: Bluetongue Stadium
Head-to-head Played: 2 Wins: Central Coast 1 Draws: 1
Previous encounter Perth 0, Central Coast 2, 6 January 2013
Form: Past five matches:
Central Coast: WDWLW Wanderers: WWWWW
The Game The Mariners have a lot on their plate, with Hyundai A-League and ACL commitments overlapping. But coach Graham Arnold is a master at getting his side up for the big games, both mentally and physically. Arnie is old school and won't cop any fatigue excuses.
Life couldn't be brighter for the A-League's youngest club. The wins continue to flow - seven in a row at last count, the crowds are flocking to see them (the Mariners are bracing for the biggest contingent of visiting fans in history) and pole position on the table beckons if they win here. The Wanderers will take the game to the Mariners and won't die wondering. It will be an absorbing 90 minutes.
The Big Issue Central Coast: A lot will depend on how the Mariners pulled up following their midweek ACL commitments. Any leg weariness will be fully exploited by the Wanderers' quick ball movement and pace on the break. This will be a match played at full tilt.
Wanderers: We've been looking for signs of stage fright all year but there's none to be found. But will the prospect of moving into first place make the Wanderers go weak at the knees? All year they have thrived on the underdog tag but it's a luxury no longer afforded them. With expectation comes pressure.
Gamebreaker Aaron Mooy scored his first club goal in two years to sign off last week's win over Perth last start. It was just reward for the creative midfielder, who continues to impress with every outing. He is the sort of player who can carve out an opportunity against the tightest of defences and they don't come any meaner than the Coast's defensive unit.
Prediction: Mariners 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers History can be made with a Wanderers win assuring them of top spot on the ladder for the first time. They get the Mariners at a good time, three days after an ACL match. With a big horde of travelling fans behind them, look for the Wanderers to nick a late goal to steal the show.