Match Preview: Wanderers v Macarthur

The Western Sydney Wanderers are gearing up for their annual New Year’s Day clash as they prepare to face off against local foes Macarthur FC.

Tickets start from $15 and include integrated rail.

The Wanderers are looking to begin their 2024 in a brighter way than they ended their 2023 after an unfortunate loss to the Wellington Phoenix just before Christmas.

Western Sydney largely had the better of the play and were denied by a great performance from Phoenix keeper Alex Paulsen, and were then punished dramatically by two counter-attacking goals from the home side in stoppage time that gifted them a 2-0 win.

It was a frustrating result to round out what has been a strong year for the side, though they still sit in a strong spot on the table in third, still within striking distance of Wellington who sit in first.

With a long break between games, coach Marko Rudan will be hoping the Wanderers will have a strong response in front of their local fans to build momentum before an important run of fixtures that includes both of last year’s grand finalists.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 23: Jorrit Hendrix of the Wanderers defends during the A-League Men round nine match between Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers at Sky Stadium, on December 23, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Wanderers will take confidence from their recent record against Macarthur, where they are unbeaten in their last four games and enjoyed two strong victories against them at Commbank Stadium last season.

The first match in the exact same fixture saw the Red and Black race out to a quick 2-0 lead as Yeni N’gbakoto and Oli Bozanic scored two goals in two first half minutes.

The Wanderers continued the onslaught in the second half as Brandon Borrello and Ramy Najjarine got on the scoresheet to round off a resounding 4-0 win to begin the year.

It was the same story just over a month later, where an early Borrello goal and a red card to Macarthur’s Craig Noone set the scene for the evening as Western Sydney once again ran out 4-0 winners.

On this occasion, Romain Amalfitano, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Calem Nieuwenhof also got on the scoresheet in one of the most comprehensive wins of the Wanderers’ season.

The final fixture between the sides at Campbelltown Stadium was much closer, as a Borrello opener was cancelled out midway through the second half by a Lachie Rose strike.

The Wanderers failed to convert multiple chances at the end of the game, and were fearing the worst when Al-Hassan Toure scored in stoppage time to give the Bulls a 2-1 lead, but Borrello stepped up once again to score a wonderful diving header to give the Wanderers a share of the points right at the death.

The Wanderers ended up finishing in the top four, whilst Macarthur finished bottom, though the teams are much closer this season, as Macarthur sit in fourth, only behind the Wanderers on goal difference.
Macarthur had a strong start to the season, being unbeaten in their opening seven league games with four wins and two draws.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 15: Wanderers players huddle during the A-League Men round eight match between Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United at CommBank Stadium, on December 15, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

French import striker Valerie Germain has adapted well to life Down Under with four goals, whilst captain Ulises Davila has three assists to his name.

The Bulls have stumbled in recent games though, with a poor 3-0 defeat at home to Wellington, before letting a two goal lead slip against Perth to lose 3-2 thanks to a stoppage time winner; they will be desperate to return to the winner’s circle especially with winnable games on the horizon.

The Wanderers will be buoyed by their two big wins against their opponents at home last season, and have had some great victories on New Year’s Eve in previous years.

The head-to-head record between the sides is very even, with Macarthur edging it with three victories compared to the Wanderers’ two; it’s a record the boys from Western Sydney would love to change on Monday evening.