Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets

​Fresh from a stellar away win in Hyundai A-League Round 2, Merrick’s outfit have a golden opportunity to cement a top in the six when the win-less Jets fly in to the Kiwi capital for a Sunday afternoon stoush at the Cake Tin.

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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (3:00 PM AEDT)

Referee: Chris Beath

Assistant Referee 1: Jan Hendrick Hintz

Assistant Referee 2: Glen Lochrie

Fourth Official: Matthew Conger

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 1HD & 1 from 3.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app 

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

Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1.  Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 7, Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 13.Albert RIERA, 16 Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON.

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 21.Roy KRISHNA (promoted), 23.Matthew RIDENTON (promoted).

Outs: Nil.

Unavailable: Nil

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 3.Taylor REGAN, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 17.James VIRGILI, 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 22.Jonny STEELE, 23.David CARNEY

***two to be omitted***

Ins: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (promoted), 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK) (returns from illness), 21.Sam GALLAWAY (promoted).

Outs: 30.John SOLARI (GK).

Unavailable: 6.Adrian MADASCHI (calf– 1-2 weeks), 14.Billy CELESKI (groin – 4-6 weeks), 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season), 19.Mitch COOPER (knee – 4-6 weeks)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE 

After a frustrating loss at home to Perth to open the season, Phoenix got on the board last weekend with a 2-1 over the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford. The Kiwis scored all three goals in the match and came from behind when Tom Doyle turned one into his own net in the 12th minute.

The Jets were on course to record their first win of the 2014/15 campaign last weekend but a late strike by Melbourne City’s star import David Villa forced a disappointing draw. After a loss to start the season in the F3 derby, Newcastle are desperate to gain some momentum ahead of a long trip to face top of the table Perth next weekend.

OPTA DATA STATS

-          Wellington have won just one of their last five meetings with the Jets for a win, two draws and two losses.

-          Last weekend’s win over the Mariners saw the Phoenix break a five game losing streak and eight-game winless run dating back to last season.

-          Newcastle have committed a league-high 39 fouls coming into the third match of the season.

-          The Jets haven’t won any of their last four away matches, recording three losses and a draw.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Michael McGlinchey is the key man for the Phoenix. The 27-year-old has created eight goal-scoring chances already this season – more than any other player in the league. Crucially though, none of those opportunities have been turned into goals, an early indication of the Kiwi side’s long-standing struggle to put the ball in the back of the net could continue this season.

Nathan Burns, who already has a goal to his name this season, will also be a target on attack. He runs at opposition defences more than any of his teammates and has had seven attempts on goal. His willingness to run the ball means he’s more than capable of drawing the odd foul in a tasty attacking position.

Ecuadorian striker Edson Montano is the only Jets player to score in two games this season while Joel Griffiths and Marcos Flores have had their fair share of shots on goal.

Newcastle were starved of possession for long stretches against Melbourne City last weekend and it’s clear David Carney is a key man in transitioning from defence to attack. The Socceroo has touched the ball 143 times in two games, second only to fellow defender Scott Neville who has 144 (and a cheeky nutmeg on Villa).

Carney isn’t afraid to dribble down the flank and has attempted 17 crosses from out wide. Look for his teammates to finally start converting some of them.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK

Michael McGlinchey. The Kiwi international was roundly heckled by Mariners fans last weekend in his first foray to Gosford since leaving the club at the end of last season. The affable midfielder had the last laugh though, scoring an equalizer and playing a part in the match winner, scored by Burns.

FORM LINES

Slim margins have been the theme for both these sides in their opening two matches. Whether a win, a loss or a draw, each side has been in the contest for the full 90 minutes.

The Phoenix went down 2-1 to Perth in week one but reversed the score last weekend while the Jets lost 1-0 to the Mariners before drawing with Melbourne City.

If playing the Central Coast is any form guide, the Phoenix should win by two, but we all know that’s not how it works.

DID YOU KNOW?

The last two league meetings between these sides have produced a combined total of ten goals. Newcastle won the last match 5-0 while the Phoenix took out a 3-2 win earlier last season.

But don’t be fooled. The five games prior to Wellington’s 3-2 win only saw nine goals scored.

PREDICTION

Wellington have lost three consecutive home games but have never lost four straight at the Cake Tin. They’ll break the losing run with a 2-0 win to compound the Jets’ poor start to the season. 

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