Match Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC


Read the match preview for the first ever Sydney Derby.

Read the match preview for the first ever Sydney Derby.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT
Venue: Parramatta Stadium, Sydney


Previous encounter:

Past five matches:
Western Sydney: DL
Sydney FC: LL

The Game:
It’s taken eight seasons but the A-League finally has a derby in Sydney and if it’s anything like what we’ve seen from the clashes between the two Melbourne clubs it will be one not to miss.

Parramatta Stadium is officially a sell-out, which will ensure a passionate and hostile atmosphere for the Sky Blues.

The Wanderers not only come into this match ahead of their more fancied rivals on the ladder but the main concern for coach Tony Popovic is a lack of goals from their first two games.

Dino Kresinger and Mark Bridge both had disappointing matches against Adelaide last weekend, which may tempt the Wanderers boss into a change, with Labinot Haliti and Tarek Elrich both pushing hard for starts.

The Sky Blues have a few more problems, with back-to-back defeats compounded by a hamstring injury to defender Adam Griffiths. Sebastian Ryall is the one most likely to slot into central defence to cover the former Newcastle Jets centre-back.

Sydney coach Ian Crook may also opt to switch Brett Emerton into a more advanced role after he impressed in the second-half against the Jets last weekend. Young midfielder Terry Antonis is available again after one game out with concussion.

The big issue:
Western Sydney – Finding the back of the net. The Wanderers have been ultra-competitive in their first two games but are still searching for their first A-League goal.

Some of their build-up play has been quite promising but their last pass and final strike at goal has been lacking conviction and composure. It’s an area Popovic knows will have to improve and no doubt he’s had his forward players working overtime in front of goal on the training ground.

Sydney – Plugging their defence. While the Wanderers have had trouble scoring goals, the Sky Blues just can’t seem to keep them out after shipping five in their opening two matches.

Making matters worse for Crook is injuries to his two most senior centre-backs with Pascal Bosschaart joined on the sidelines this week by Adam Griffiths (hamstring). Crook will be forced to use a makeshift backline for at least a couple of weeks which will put even more pressure on Del Piero to keep scoring goals at the other end.

The game breaker:
Shinji Ono – The Japanese international wasn’t quite in full flight against Adelaide last weekend; he showed some sublime touches and played a couple of delightful through-balls, which his teammates either failed to read or were slightly over hit. But after another week on the training pitch he should be starting to feel much more comfortable with his surrounds.

The Sky Blues have really struggled in the centre of midfield and defence and Ono will relish the chance to expose a brittle and low-on-confidence Sky Blues side.

Prediction: Western Sydney 2-1 Sydney FC
The Wanderers head into the inaugural Sydney derby still searching for their first-ever win but more importantly ahead of their local rivals.

Popovic has his side well-organised and well-structured and they will fancy their chances of early bragging rights in this fixture. The Heart have shown in the Melbourne derby how the “little brother” can often upstage their more fancied opponent and given Sydney’s problems and a sell-out crowd behind them, the Wanderers could well do the same.