Hosts the Wanderers are absolutely desperate to get off the foot of the ladder and will take a giant step towards that if they can give their home fans something to finally cheer about. But City is keen to get back in the top six and will want to put pressure on Roar in the race for a finals berth. Have the wilting Wanderers got a win in them?
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) 7.30pm AEDT)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 3. Yusuke TANAKA, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6.Antony GOLEC, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Yojiro TAKAHAGI, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 13. Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14. Kerem BULUT, 15.Yianni PERKATIS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 25.Sam GALLAWAY
***Two to be omitted***
Ins 15.Yianni PERKATIS (promoted), 3.Jason TRIFIRO (promoted)
Outs 19.Mark BRIDGE (injured)
Unavailable 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite), 5.Brendan HAMILL (thigh), 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder), 2.Shannon COLE (collar bone)
Melbourne City 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 4. Connor CHAPMAN, 5. Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Harry NOVILLO, 10. Robert KOREN, 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 14. James BROWN, 15. David WILLIAMS, 18. Paulo RETRE, 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 22. Jack CLISBY, 23. Mate DUGANDZIC, 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 27. Kew JALIENS, 29. Safuwan BAHARUDIN
***Two to be omitted***
Ins 13. Jonatan GERMANO, 14. James BROWN (returns from injury), 22. Jack CLISBY (selected), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (returns from injury)
Outs 16. Josh KENNEDY, 17. Jason HOFFMAN
Unavailable 3. Robbie WIELAERT (ankle 3-4 weeks), 11. Damien DUFF (ankle/calf – indefinite), 19. Ben GARUCCIO (ankle – 8-9 weeks), 25. Jacob MELLING (knee – 1-2 weeks)
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7:30pm (AEDT)
Radio – Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1 Allyson Flynn
Assistant Referee 2 Andrej Giev
Fourth Official Stephen Lucas
The Wanderers will need to call on all their resolves of energy and character for this one, which will be the club’s sixth match in the last 18 days in both the Hyundai A-League and ACL. They showed signs of tiredness in the loss to Brisbane Roar on Sunday and the focus for coach Tony Popovic over the last couple of days will undoubtedly have been about recovery.
The lure of being able to get off the bottom of the ladder with a victory should ensure they can get up for yet another midweek game.
Melbourne City’s season-defining week against the competition’s bottom three clubs didn’t start well in losing to Central Coast on Sunday. Another defeat – or even a draw – simply won’t cut it for John van‘t Schip’s side if they are serious about playing in the finals.
Wanderers boss Tony Popovic will be forced into at least one change with Mark Bridge out for a number of weeks with an abductor/groin problem. With this being the first of two matches in just three days for the Wanderers [they play Melbourne Victory on Friday night], Popovic may totally change his side from the weekend with that fixture in mind.
van ‘t Schip has decided to rest star striker Josh Kennedy for this one, recalling attackers James Brown and Mate Dugandzic to the line-up following injury lay-offs. David Williams is the front-runner to lead the attack, although Robi Koren has played in a ‘false nine’ position in the past.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Western Sydney has lost their last three Hyundai A-League games. They last lost four on the spin in November 2014.
-Melbourne City’s win over Wanderers in February was their first in seven previous Hyundai A-League matches against them (D1 L5).
-The three previous games between the two at the Pirtek Stadium have seen just six goals scored (four for Wanderers, two for City).
-Only Newcastle Jets (21) have conceded more away goals this season than Melbourne City (20).
-Labinot Haliti’s only Hyundai A-League brace came against Melbourne City [Heart] in March 2013.
ROUTE TO GOAL
It’s been the same old story for a while now for the Wanderers. They continued to create some promising chances in the loss to Brisbane on Sunday but are lacking the composure – or a bit of luck – in front of goal. Tomi Juric’s powerful volley which thumped the crossbar, bounced down on the line and out probably would have gone in last season. The loss of Mark Bridge through injury is only going to make things harder for Tony Popovic’s troops but Romeo Castelen looks to be close to his best again after a long injury lay-off which could help their cause. City was wasteful in front of goal against the Mariners, with the likes of Josh Kennedy and David Williams seeming to lack belief in and around the box. If they are to make the finals, that must change and quickly.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Aaron Mooy. The classy midfielder makes his first return to Wanderland since leaving the club at the end of last season. While he was a great servant for the Wanderers in their success of the first two seasons, there’s no doubt Mooy’s game has gone to a new level since joining City. It’s why he’s a strong chance to make the Socceroo squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Macedonia which is named earlier in the day. A perfect way to celebrate would be by helping City sink his former club, like he did in their previous meeting at AAMI Park, where Mooy scored a stunning winner.
The Wanderers finished a poor week with a 1-0 loss to Brisbane Roar on Sunday. It came after two more defeats against Sydney FC the previous weekend followed by a 3-2 ACL loss against Guangzhou Evergrande last Wednesday night. Melbourne City also endured a sorry Sunday, beaten 1-0 in Gosford by their bogey side Central Coast Mariners. City won the only previous encounter between these two sides this season 2-1 at AAMI Park last month.
DID YOU KNOW?
No Wanderers player has scored more than two goals this Hyundai A-League season.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1-2 Melbourne City FC
City handed the initiative back to Brisbane Roar in the race for the top six with their loss to Central Coast and you feel unless they take maximum points from this one might struggle to play finals football this season. They have often followed up a poor performance with a good one this season so on that thinking – plus the Wanderers’ tough recent schedule – the visitors might just prevail in a tight affair.