This looks like a cracking fixture to round off Saturday's night triple-header. A Sydney FC side reinforced and refreshed by the Asian Cup break cross the Nullarbor to lock horns with the competition pacesetters.
It's top quality primetime entertainment in WA and you can bet there'll be no-one going to bed early back in the Eastern states.
Saturday, 7 February 2015
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 6:30 PM (Local) (9:30 PM AEDT)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 3.Brandon O'NEILL, 4.Riley WOODCOCK, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebojsa MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 16.Sidnei SCIOLA, 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 22.Cameron EDWARDS, 23.Michael THWAITE (c), 24.Matthew DAVIES, 27.Dragan PALJIC
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 16.Sidnei SCIOLA (promoted), 18.Jack DUNCAN (gk) (promoted), 22.Cameron EDWARDS (promoted), 24.Matthew DAVIES (promoted)
Outs: 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (suspended -1 week), 14.Chris HAROLD (ankle – 2 weeks), 30.Jordan THURTELL (gk) (not selected)
Unavailable: 7.Youssouf HERSI (hamstring – season), 17.Mitch NICHOLS (hamstring – 2 weeks), 13.Diogo FEREIRA (hip – 5 weeks)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25.Aaron CALVER, 26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Seb RYALL (return from injury), 17.Terry ANTONIS (return from international duty), 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV (new signing)
Outs: 18.Peter TRIANTIS (not selected)
Unavailable: 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite)
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 9.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 720 ABC Perth, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio WA & NSW, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Tim Mihevc
Assistant Referee 2: Josh Mannella
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
Graham Arnold's Sky Blues face the first major test of their reinforced line-up when they make the long journey to tackle A-League leaders Perth Glory on Saturday.
Sydney had Jacques Faty and Mickael Tavares in their starting XI when they thumped Central Coast 5-1 away from home last time out.
But facing the competition's front-runners at nib Stadium is likely to be a far sterner challenge.
Glory demonstrated some impressive resilience in their previous fixture, fighting back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 at home to title rivals Melbourne Victory.
Kenny Lowe's Western Australian outfit got the better of the Sky Blues in their last meeting in Sydney in December. Can they repeat the feat in front of their own fans this weekend?
Opta Data stats
- Glory have scored in all but one of their 15 games so far this season, and have netted in their last 12.
- Sydney are the only side still unbeaten away from home in A-League this season (W3 D4).
- Sydney have won none of their last three visits to Perth (D1 L2), after winning three in a row there in 2010 and 2011.
Route to goal
Both of these teams have plenty of firepower at their disposal. There are two traditional centre-forwards involved in Perth's Andy Keogh and Marc Janko of Sydney. The Sky Blues will look to Bernie Ibini and Alex Brosque to support their Austrian marksman, while Richard Garcia, Jamie Maclaren and newcomer Dragan Paljic are set to supply for ammunition for Keogh.
Who's been in the spotlight this week?
Defender Denis Kramar doubled the A-League's current Slovenian contingent this week when he joined Perth Glory on a short-term deal, although Lowe is open to extending the stay if the 23-year-old impresses.
"He'll provide cover at the back for us and he's played at a good level," Lowe said.
"He's here for a limited time as an injury replacement but, who knows? That could all change."
Prior to thrashing the Mariners in Gosford, things hadn't been looking so rosy for Sydney. Short on bodies and confidence, they recorded successive 0-0 draws at home to Newcastle and away to Brisbane. And before that it was even worse, suffering successive home defeats, 3-0 and 2-0 against Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix respectively. Graham Arnold will want a positive result in Western Australia to ensure his team don't slip back into that rut.
Perth have also been somewhat inconsistent in their recent outings. Although they fought back well to draw with Victory, they did lose 2-1 at home to Adelaide before the Asian Cup break and, despite beating Victory by the same scoreline in Geelong, were held to a 1-1 draw away to Melbourne City on Boxing Day, making it five points from a possible 12 since Christmas Day.
Did you know?
- No player has been involved in more of his team's goals than Perth's Andy Keogh (13; 9 goals, 4 assists).
- Sydney have kept a joint-league-high six clean sheets this season (level with Adelaide United).
Perth Glory 3-1 Sydney FC
Arnold's troops looked the business against the Mariners but we think the title favourites - surely keen to reassert their dominance at the top of the standings - will have too much for them in this one.