Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers will meet in Round 3 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, October 26 at 7:45pm AEDT.
Bojic, Ryall, Petkovic, Warren
Carle, Abbas, Thompson
Chianese, Del Piero, Garcia
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Polenz, T-Stanley, Beauchamp, D'Apuzzo
Poljak, Ono, MooyHersi, Bridge, Juric
Played 3: Wins: Sydney 1, Wanderers 1, Draws: 1
Wanderers 1-1 Sydney FC, March 23, 2013
Past five matches:
Sydney FC: LLLWL
The first Sydney derby of the new season comes at a time when both sides are desperate to get the three points – and local bragging rights – but for differing reasons. The Sky Blues were taught a footballing lesson by a rampant Brisbane last weekend and they had no answer to the Roar's quick passing and movement. They will need an immediate response to the 4-0 drubbing to prove it was simply an aberration and not a sign of things to come this season. The Wanderers on the other hand have shown encouraging signs over the first fortnight of the campaign. But despite their good play Tony Popovic's side haven't been able to turn that promise into a victory, with only two 1-1 draws to show from the first two games.
Sydney are sweating on the fitness of skipper Alessandro Del Piero, who suffered a calf strain against the Roar. Sky Blues coach Frank Farina is unlikely to take any unnecessary risks with his marquee man given it's so early in the season. Pacy striker Yairo Yau is available again after international duty with Panama. Aaron Mooy (concussion) is the only injury worry for the Wanderers after his heavy head knock against the Phoenix last weekend. Socceroos defender Matthew Spiranovic is also nearing full fitness and could win a spot on the bench.
The big issue:
Sydney – While the Sky Blues players have been quick to play it down, there's no doubt they dropped their bundle when Del Piero went off injured early in the clash with the Roar. With the score 0-0 at the time, Sydney suddenly lost any attacking thrust and confidence, with the home side banging in three goals before the break to put the result beyond doubt. If Sydney are to be successful this season, Farina will need to find a way for his side to cope without the veteran striker, who turns 39 next month.
Wanderers – Western Sydney made a brilliant start to the game against Wellington last weekend and could have had the game out of sight inside the first 20 minutes. But there's no doubt they lost some of their spark when they lost Mooy to injury. The young midfielder's passing and work-rate is crucial alongside Mateo Poljak in the heart of midfield. While Iacopo La Rocca fills in admirably when called upon, he doesn't have the creativity that Mooy possesses which makes the Wanderers a lot more predictable.
The game breaker:
Shinji Ono – The Japanese star has yet to hit his straps this season, coming off the bench in the season-opener before getting through just over an hour last weekend. Ono is getting closer to full fitness and the Wanderers will need his creativity and experience if they are to notch their first win. The 34-year-old attacking midfielder puts the polish on most of the Wanderers' attacking thrusts and has a habit of delivering in the big games – which could spell trouble for the Sky Blues.
Prediction: Sydney 1-1 Wanderers
The three derbies last year were split evenly and despite Sydney's heavy loss last weekend expect another tight and tense encounter here in what should be a record regular season Sydney crowd. Much will depend on whether Del Piero's ageing legs will recover in time to lead out the Sky Blues. If he can somehow get on the field the Sky Blues may even start slight favourites. But they will need to be a lot stronger in defence especially with Ono, Juric, Mark Bridge and Youssouf Hersi threatening to hit top gear. The Wanderers certainly won't be overawed by the occasion and were victorious in their only clash at Allianz between the two sides last season.