Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 9 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday December 7 at 5.30pm AEDT.
Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart will meet in Round 9 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday December 7 at 5.30pm AEDT. Past five matches: Wanderers: DLWWW Heart: DLLLL
Previous encounter: Heart 0 : Wanderers 1
The Game: After two weeks on the road the second-placed Wanderers return home to host bottom-placed Melbourne Heart. It has been a tough fortnight for Tony Popovic's side after a 3-1 defeat to Brisbane and a 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix last start. The Heart travel to Pirtek Stadium still searching for their maiden victory of the campaign having managed three draws from eight games this season. John Aloisi's men fought back from 2-0 down against Adelaide and looked on track for their first victory before settling for a 3-3 draw. Harry Kewell is a chance to return from neck and ankle injuries for the Round 9 clash in what would be a big boost for the visitors. The big issue: Wanderers – last year's premiers are sweating on the fitness of four key players including marquee man Shinji Ono. The Japanese star missed the Wellington clash but returned to training on Monday and will be given until Friday to prove his fitness. Brendon Santalab, Jerome Polenz and Tomi Juric also sat out last week's scoreless draw and are in the mix to return against the Heart.
Heart – it has been 14 months since John Aloisi's men collected three points on the road and it doesn't get much tougher than travelling to Pirtek Stadium to face the Wanderers in front of their fanatical fans. The Heart can take confidence out of their spirited effort against Adelaide United last start but desperately need a victory to breathe life back into their campaign.
The game breaker: Yousouff Hersi – the livewire winger will be better for his cameo appearance off the bench against Wellington after a five-week layoff with a foot injury. While the Wanderers possess quality players all over the pitch, Hersi is the x-factor and is capable of turning a game with one moment of brilliance. Whether he comes off the bench or returns to the starting side, don't be surprised if the 31-year-old produces the defining moment of the contest.