Sydney Derby: A-League blockbuster's 3 key match ups

It’s Sky Blue vs Red and Black, East v West, Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers in the Saturday night confrontation to determine who rules the Harbour City.

Here are the three pivotal match-ups likely to decide the outcome at what will be an Allianz Stadium bursting at the seams.

Sky Blues playmaker Milos Ninkovic v Wanderers midfielder Andreu

Two of the competition’s new imports go head-to-head in a battle which has the potential to ignite Allianz.

Ninkovic is settling into his new surrounds more every week and you get the feeling he’s about to explode.

The Serbian exudes quality and the keys to unlock any defence with a killer pass.

If he hasn’t fully convinced the Sky Blues fans of his qualities yet, a piece of magic – or even a goal – would ensure instant hero status at Moore Park. 

But the Wanderers have their own new overseas star who could be a match-winner on Saturday night.

Andreu is the midfield player every successful side needs. He’s composed in possession, keeps it simple and brings his team-mates into the game.

Not just good and keeping possession and protecting his back four, the Spaniard showed with his goal against Adelaide last week, he can be just as devastating getting forward.

Don’t take your eyes off this clash because it will go a long way to deciding which midfield comes out on top – and as a result which side could get all three points.

Sydney striker Shane Smeltz v Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley

Sydney striker Shane Smeltz v Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley

It’s been a tough week for Sky Blues attacker Smeltz. The 34-year-old has had to deal with the fallout from the incident with Mark Birighitti, which left the Jets ‘keeper suffering serious facial injuries.

How well he performs could boil down to what frame of mind the Kiwi international is in.

But with 85 Hyundai A-League goals to his name, the Wanderers would be foolish to assume Smeltz will be off his game.

Kept relatively quiet over the first fortnight, he might just explode on Saturday night. And what better place to do it than the derby. 

The man who will be charged to stop the Smeltz threat will be “Topor”, the player typifies everything that Wanderers stand for.

A true leader and hard-nosed defender, Topor-Stanley is the rock in which coach Tony Popovic builds his side around and his leadership will be vital in this one. He's been a Wanderland from day one and epitomises the old and new of the club. 

Whenever Smeltz gets on the ball in and around the box, you can bet Topor-Stanley will be right on his tail trying to snuff out the danger.

Sydney defender Rhyan Grant v Wanderers winger Romeo Castelen

Sydney defender Rhyan Grant v Wanderers winger Romeo Castelen

If the Wanderers are to cause the Sky Blues problems on Saturday night, Castelen looms as the man most likely to make it happen.

The Dutch winger has been sensational over the first two rounds, the only thing missing from his game has been a goal.

He has created a host of chances down the right wing for the Wanderers but has been unable to deliver that killer final touch.

Surely he can’t be far away from cashing in. Sky Blues, you have been warned.

A powerful runner, with a good touch and electric pace, Castelen could cause the home side a plethora of problems.

But when Sydney coach Graham Arnold has a problem, he knows he’ll never be let down by Grant.

The versatile Grant has started the season at left-back, keeping exceptional youngster Alex Gersbach on the bench.

And he hasn’t put a foot wrong. Quiet and unassuming, Grant just goes about his business and gets the job done for the team.

If he can have another strong game against Castelen, the Sky Blues will go a long way to shutting down the Wanderers’ threats.