Marcelo: It’s more than just a normal game

Derbies require the big players and leaders in a side to stand up and take control of the game.

Wanderers captain Marcelo certainly did that in the opening Sydney Derby of the season, where Western Sydney secured yet another win at the home of their eternal rivals thanks to a brilliant Zac Sapsford strike in the second half.

The groundwork for the win was laid at the back, with Marcelo putting in a man of the match performance at centre back.

As well as having numerous goalscoring chances from attacking corners, he also recorded six clearances, won nine duels as well as an important block as the Wanderers were able to keep a clean sheet.

Now ahead of the only home Sydney Derby of the regular season on Saturday, Marcelo is hoping for more of the same.

“The Derby, for me, is always a special game. I have won more than I have lost, so that’s really good – especially at their home,” said Marcelo.

“But this time we’re playing at our home, and we need to make sure we play for ourselves and for our fans, for the members and everyone that is supporting us, for our families.

“That’s why it’s so special, because everyone in Australia is watching, and it’s more than the normal game.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 25: Marcelo of the Wanderers clashes with Gabriel Lacerda of Sydney FC during the A-League Men round five match between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium, on November 25, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

After a strong debut season in Western Sydney, which saw him sign a contract extension, Marcelo has continued his imperious form at the back despite difficult circumstances in recent weeks.

Having had four different goalkeepers behind him and five different centre back partners alongside him, Marcelo’s stats for the season are still highly impressive, winning 81 duels, recording 18 interceptions, 95 recoveries and having a passing accuracy of 89{819c2379e1bc88268fde798c7aa32b743f8d32f67923d1a9052292ac476d8479}

He also has an assist and two goals to his name, including a crucial stoppage time equaliser against the Newcastle Jets to salvage a valuable point with the team down to nine men.
Marcelo will look to lead by example in the 36th edition of the Sydney Derby.

“It’s important also to lead by example, and I always try to show my energy, my emotions in this kind of game. I’m sure that when the people and the players around me see that, they follow that as well, and that’s important.

“It’s not just in the game, it’s during the week before the game, it’s also really important in how you plan your recovery (and) everything that’s involved in the game must be really important.”

All derby matches carry huge significance, but this match is also important in the race for finals places and a cherished top four finish; the Wanderers sit a point and a place in the table ahead of their rivals heading into the match, and have a game in hand on the teams above them, meaning the top four is within striking distance.

With just eight matches after the derby in the regular season to come, every point is becoming increasingly more valuable, and Marcelo has called for the people of Western Sydney to back the Red and Black this weekend and beyond.

“I would say that derbies we don’t play, we win. So that will be my main message, and I just want everyone to join us, help us and support us at this game,” said Marcelo.

“Your support will be very important for us to keep going on the right track.”