A-League preview: Sydney FC v Perth Glory

Two sides destined for finals football and both coming off 1-1 draws last weekend. A high quality Thursday night of football awaits at Allianz Stadium with an intriguing subtext featuring former players of both clubs.

FIXTURE DETAIL

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (7.30pm AEDST)

SQUADS

Sydney FC 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23. Rhyan GRANT  **two to be omitted**

Ins 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (returns from injury), 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC (return from suspension) 18. Peter TRIANTIS (promoted) 

Outs   22. Ali ABBAS (knee - indefinite), Sebastian Ryall (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite)

Perth Glory 1.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2.Jack CLISBY, 3.Brandon O’NEILL, 5.Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebosja MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Diogo Alves FERREIRA, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Jamie MACLAREN, 17.Mitch NICHOLS, 18.Jack DUNCAN.19.Joshua RISDON, 20.Daniel DE SILVA, 21.Scott JAMIESON, 23.Michael THWAITE (c)  **two to be omitted**

Ins 2.Jack CLISBY (promoted), 3.Brandon O’NEILL (promoted), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (returns from suspension)

Outs 7.Youssouf HERSI (hamstring – 2-3 weeks)

Unavailable Nil

Hashtag #SYDvPER

BROADCAST COVERAGE

TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)

Radio - ABC Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app 

Referee Alan Milliner

Assistant Referee 1 Allyson Flynn

Assistant Referee 2 Owen Goldrick

Fourth Official Matthew Cropper

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Kenny Lowe has done a superb job getting Glory to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder but this looms as a major test of their title credentials.

While Perth are worthy leaders after eight rounds, they have met only one other member of the current top four so far (Adelaide) and were beaten. A win over the Sky Blues on their home turf would prove they are the real deal.

Sydney’s depth is sure to be tested in coming weeks, with Ali Abbas joining Corey Gameiro on the sidelines for the rest of the season both due to knee injuries.

Sydney FC welcomes back midfielder Milos Dimitrijevic for this one, the Serbian likely to come straight into midfield to replace Abbas.

Defender Sasa Ognenovski has been included in the squad but it’s understood he might miss another week due to a hip problem.

It means Matt Jurman could come into the heart of defence to cover for the suspended Seb Ryall.

Glory are without Youssouf Hersi to a hamstring problem with the likes of Mitch Nichols, Jamie Maclaren and Chris Harold all options to come into the starting side.

Ruben Zadkovich is also available again after serving a one-game ban.

OPTA DATA STATS

-Sydney’s unbeaten run at the start of the season has stretched to eight matches (W4 D4), their previous longest unbeaten run at the start of a campaign was five games in 2008/09.

-Sydney have not gone undefeated in nine games since October 2006 to New Year’s Day 2007.

-Last week’s game at Brisbane marked Perth’s first draw since a trip to Wellington on 9th March.

-Glory have taken 19 points from eight matches this term, their best ever start to a season.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Sky Blue Bernie Ibini finally added some end product to his eye-catching attacking play with a stunning goal in the derby.

Sydney FC will be hoping that’s going to be the catalyst for more of the same from the pacy winger for the rest of the season.

He will not only have a key role going forward for the Sky Blues, but also working back to stop the good Glory link-up play between Scott Jamieson and Daniel De Silva down the left-wing.

Glory defender Dino Djulbic scored a cracker on the weekend – his second of the season – and is a target for Perth from set pieces.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Shane Smeltz. The Kiwi international was a Perth Glory favourite, spending three years at the club before switching to Sydney FC at the start of this season. 

The prolific striker has yet to get off the mark for his new club but would love nothing more than to do it against his former employers.

With Corey Gameiro and Ali Abbas now sidelined for the season, there will be some extra responsibility on Smeltz’s shoulders to help Sydney FC fill the hole when it comes to goals and creating chances.

FORM LINES

Sydney continued their best ever start to a Hyundai A-League season with their 1-1 derby draw with the Wanderers making it eight games unbeaten. Glory was held to their first draw of the campaign, conceding late to also finish 1-1 against Brisbane Roar, but they remain on top of the ladder after eight rounds.

DID YOU KNOW?

The last four meetings between the sides have seen two wins apiece, with each of these games being settled by a one goal margin.

PREDICTIONSydney FC 1-0 Perth Glory

Glory has spent the week in Sydney to prepare for a match that has a finals feel to it even this early in the season. 

Perth have improved their away record enormously this campaign so confidence won’t be a problem for them.

But the Sky Blues’ squad has been impressive on their home patch under Arnold and despite a couple of key absences should be just a little bit too strong in what should be a gripping contest.