Match Preview: Sydney Derby

The ladder leading Western Sydney Wanderers will be coming out of the international break and straight into the fire of a Sydney Derby, as they look to get another win at Allianz Stadium against their city rivals.

The Wanderers head into the match with the second best attack in the league and also the best defence, having only conceded two goals in their opening four matches, having kept three clean sheets in that time.

The side took their time to find their groove in their last match at home against the Perth Glory, but they eventually secured a 2-0 win thanks to goals from two unlikely sources – fullback’s Jack Clisby and Tate Russell.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 11: Tate Russell of the Wanderers scores a goal during the A-League Men round four match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth Glory at CommBank Stadium, on November 11, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Whilst much of the side was able to rest and recuperate during the week off, Brandon Borrello and Lachlan Brook were both in action for the Socceroos and Olyroos respectively, with both managing to get on the scoresheet.

Brook has enjoyed a strong start to life in Red and Black, having scored seven goals in all competitions, whilst Borrello has two assists to his name and will be hoping to register his first goal of the season in the Derby.

For the Wanderers’ opponents this weekend, the start to the season has not been so smooth; a run of three defeats without scoring a goal to begin their season saw the Sky Blues part ways with coach Steve Corica, and install former Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay in his place.

The appointment had an instant impact, as in his first game in charge just days after his appointment, his side secured an upset 5-1 win away from home against Adelaide United, lifting the side from the foot of the table.

Still, the Wanderers sit five points ahead of their rivals going into this fixture, and they also have the mental advantage of having won both fixtures at Allianz Stadium last season.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 12: Wanderers fans show support during the round six A-League Men’s match between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium, on November 12, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The first clash, which came in November, was one of the most highly anticipated Sydney Derby’s in recent memory, being the first Derby at the rebuilt Allianz Stadium as well as seeing

Milos Ninkovic facing his former club for the first time since his acrimonious departure.

After a slow first half, the game exploded into life in the second half as Ninkovic spurned a golden opportunity to score, before making amends minutes later when he fed the ball to Kusini Yengi, who beat multiple defenders and fired the ball into the roof of the net, sparking jubilant celebrations in the travelling Red & Black Bloc.

The Wanderers would hold on for a 1-0 victory, and despite their opponents narrowly defeating them at CommBank Stadium in February by the same scoreline, the Wanderers would get revenge in a big way just a month later.

The Wanderers were 2-0 ahead after just 21 minutes thanks to goals from Yengi and Amor Layouni; Calem Nieuwenhof fired a bullet of a long-range shot into the top corner against his old club midway through the second half, before Amor Layouni completed the rout in the 75th minute.

Milos Ninkovic once again tormented his former club, securing two assists as he pulled the strings in the middle of the park.

The 4-0 win was the largest Derby win for the Wanderers, and ensured they won the regular series between the clubs for the first time since the 2019/20 season.

It is set to be another explosive atmosphere as thousands of Wanderers fans make the trip east to support their side’s bid to claim bragging rights in the city and stay on the top of the table