The Wanderers take on the Newcastle Jets at 5.30pm on Saturday, November 10 at Parramatta Stadium. Read the full match preview here.
The Wanderers take on the Newcastle Jets at 5.30pm on Saturday, November 10 at Parramatta Stadium.
Date: Saturday, November 10, 2012
Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT
Venue: Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Past five matches:
The Wanderers should have plenty of inside knowledge on this weekend’s opponents with no fewer than six members of their squad former Jets players.
Western Sydney continue to surprise most experts with their strong start to their inaugural season. Last weekend’s 2-1 win over Melbourne Heart was their first in front of their home fans and their second in a row, meaning they are sitting pretty in fifth spot.
Coach Tony Popovic is likely to name the same squad that has done so well over the last fortnight, although Croatian striker Dino Kresinger is available again after a hip injury and could win a spot on the bench. In-form midfielder Aaron Mooy is nursing a hamstring injury but is expected to play.
Newcastle’s three-game winning streak came to an end in a 3-2 defeat away to Perth Glory last weekend. But Gary van Egmond’s side are still in fourth place, right on the tail of league-leaders Adelaide. The Jets will be without Ben Kantarovski, who has a meniscus tear in his right knee.
Defender Dominik Ritter, who missed the defeat to the Glory with a quad strain, is likely to return at left-back, which will allow the impressive Craig Goodwin to play further forward.
The big issue
Wanderers: They have defied the odds to far this season to make an impressive start to life in the A-League but Popovic’s side can no longer claim to be flying under the radar. The Wanderers side seem to enjoy playing as underdogs so it will be interesting to see how they respond going into games where they are at least at even-money to win.
Expectation on them is now high to keep their run going and how they handle that pressure will determine if they can continue to get results.
The Jets: Newcastle have had no trouble finding the back of the net so far this season but the number of defensive lapses is clearly one area of concern. The Jets have conceded nine goals in the opening five games and are yet to keep a clean sheet.
Van Egmond has been vocal this week about tightening things up at the back if they are to have a chance in this one and also when the big games come around at the end of the season.
The game breaker
Mark Bridge: It’s funny to think a couple of weeks ago some were calling for Bridge to be dropped to the bench given the Wanderers’ troubles in front of goal.
The former Sydney and Newcastle striker has since popped up with the winner against Brisbane Roar followed by another in the 2-1 success over the Heart last Friday night. But it hasn’t just been Bridge’s goals that have caught the eye, with his overall play and combination with Adam D’Apuzzo down the left proving invaluable for the Wanderers.
He would love nothing more than to get on the scoresheet three weeks in a row and against his former club.
Wanderers 1-1 Jets – This game brings together a real contrast of styles, with the league’s best defence – that of the Wanderers – up against the free-scoring Jets. Western Sydney’s confidence will be sky-high after two successive wins and their attacking game is getting better every week.
With the boisterous home crowd behind them they will fancy their chances of making it three in a row. The expected return of Ritter will be a big bonus for the Jets and the exciting James Brown should be more dangerous this week after his return from a long-term injury last weekend.
These two sides look very evenly-matched and they may just cancel each other out.