Western Sydney Wanderers will be taking on Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night – kick-off is at 7:50 pm AEST.
The derby is always a tight game and will be made tighter by the fact that this is Sydney’s third game in a week. After beating Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue thanks to a Milos Ninkovic goal which deflected off the Melbourne Victory defence, they then tied 3-3 with Shanghai East Asia.
It was a thrilling game from the neutral’s point of view, yet Sydney fans will be disappointed that they didn’t manage to take three points and stay competitive in the Asian Champions League, because, unfortunately for them, they remain at the bottom of the group.
Although they are still only two points off a knockout round spot, it is unlikely unless they have a massive turn in form. But there were plenty of positives to take out of that game from an attacking perspective, as they were coming up one of the biggest spenders in Asia, and Steve Corica has come out with a daring statement stating that they will destroy A-League teams if they can bring that attacking prowess into the A-League and the finals.
Meanwhile, the Wanderers have been struggling. Their season is finished, as they have no chance of making it into the finals, and for them, this derby will be purely about pride.
Western Sydney Wanderers squad
Markus Babbel almost has a full squad to choose from going into this game, with only Jordan O’Doherty and Patrick Ziegler out, both with knee injuries.
Babbel will be looking to start his squad off fresh, and after what has been a poor few weeks will be looking to cement himself in the position of the Wanderers head coach, as if he is to lose this game and not perform for the rest of the season it is likely that the Western Sydney will be on the hunt for a new coach.
In my opinion, Bruce Kamau cannot start right-back, as he is not a defender and there is no way that he will be able to keep up with the Milos Ninkovic–Michael Zullo combinations down the left-hand side, so Tate Russel will most likely start instead.
Also, it is likely that Roly Bonevacia will come in for Kwame Yeboah. Apart from that, there won’t be any changes.
Western Sydney Wanderers predicted starting eleven
GK: Vedran Janjetović
LB: Raul Llorente
CB: Tarek Elrich
CB: Brendan Hamill
RB: Tate Russel
CDM: Rashid Mahazi
CDM: Keanu Baccus
LAM: Roly Bonevacia
CAM: Alexander Baumjohann
RAM: Mitchell Duke
ST: Oriel Riera
Formation: 4-2-3-1 narrow
Sydney FC squad
Sydney FC also has a full squad except for Ben Warland, Chris Zuvela and Trent Buhagiar who are all out with anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
Milos Ninkovic will most likely come in for Daniel De Silva and Siem De Jong will be moved to the right side of attacking midfield. If Reza Ghoochannejhad has a good recovery and is fit and ready to go then he will most likely be started and Alex Brosque will resume his role as an effective super-sub with De Silva.
The defence and defensive midfield will not have any changes except for Michael Zullo who was said to pull his hamstring, and with the finals coming up Steve Corica won’t want to risk playing him; Paulo Retre did a fine job at left back and will probably be given the role again, except this time from the start.
Sydney FC predicted starting eleven
GK: Andrew Redmayne
LB: Paulo Retre
CB: Aaron Calver
CB: Alex Wilkinson
RB: Rhyan Grant
CDM: Brandon O’Neill
CDM: Joshua Brillante
LAM: Milos Ninkovic
RAM: Siem De Jong
ST: Reza Ghoochannejhad
ST: Adam Le Fondre
Predicted match result
Although this is Sydney’s third game in one week, it is likely that they will recover well, as they played their past two in Sydney and will be playing this ‘away’ game in Sydney too. Milos Ninkovic’s rest will be wonderful for his performance, and he will pick up the man of the match award.
Adam Le Fondre’s good form will continue and he will most likely grab himself a goal, while Mitchell Duke will be the Wanderers’ biggest threat and will score their only goal of the game.
Final score: Western Sydney Wanderers 1-3 Sydney FC.