The A-League Sydney derby between the Wanderers and Sky Blues this weekend is shaping up as the biggest domestic football match of the season. The Saturday night fixture sold out weeks ago and will go a long way to deciding this season’s fate for both sides.
Sydney FC desperately need a win to maintain their hopes of playing in this year’s finals series, while the Wanderers can seal the minor premiership if they can continue their remarkable winning streak. A draw is really not much good to either side, thus ensuring we are sure to see some attacking football!
The Sky Blues have showed some indifferent form all season but led by their enigmatic marquee signing Alessandro Del Piero still have a chance to revive their season’s fortunes. The performances of ADP have been the redeeming feature of Sydney’s season. The Italian is surely a shoe-in for the Player of the Year Award but even he will be keen to atone for his penalty miss last weekend.
Nevertheless a point against the Mariners was a promising performance and a far-cry from the 7-2 drubbing they received earlier in the season. As such Socceroos captain Lucas Neil and Club captain Terry McFlynn may find themselves on the bench coming back from injury. Coach Frank Farina will want a fully fit side and will be reluctant to change a defensive formation that has conceded just one goal in their last two games.
A look across town to Western Sydney and it’s hard to describe the enormity of what the Wanderers have achieved in their inaugural season. Thrown together a year ahead of schedule by the FFA to account for the collapsed Gold Coast side, they have superseded everyone’s expectations, except perhaps their own. They have now won ten games in a row, which is a domestic football record and look set to win the Premier’s Plate for finishing the season on top of the table. This will provide them with automatic entry into the Asian Champions League next season and make them favourites to do the double by taking out the title.
Coach Tony Popovic must surely take a lot of the credit for what will be the most outstanding team performance across any code in the country this year. He has taken a group of players that were either young or unwanted by their former clubs and moulded them into a cohesive team unit. While they struggled to score at the start of the season, they are now clinical in how they deconstruct their opposition.
Western Sydney will have their own selection headaches this weekend with the key trio of Youssouf Hersi, Jerome Polenz and Aaron Mooy all set to miss the match through a combination of suspension and injury. They will be hoping their own marquee player Shinji Ono will be able to make his return from injury in order to bring his creativity to the midfield.
As mentioned the match at Parramatta Park sold out weeks ago , so if you’re not fortunate enough to be going make sure you get down to Strathfield Sports Club where we’ll have the game on the big screen and create a match atmosphere with our surround sound. The A-League has been hugely popular amongst all our patrons, especially our Golden Goal enthusiasts, so make sure we see you down at the Club wearing your colours this Saturday night!