A-League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Date: Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Where: Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (7.30pm AEDST)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Vitor SABA, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 35.Kearyn BACCUS
**two to be omitted**
Ins 23.Jason TRIFIRO (promoted), 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO (promoted)
Unavailable 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder – indefinite), 34.Golgol MEBRAHTU (knee – indefinite)
Brisbane Roar FC 2.Matthew SMITH (c), 4.Adam SAROTA, 5.Corey BROWN, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 17.Matt McKAY, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 20.Kofi DANNING, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matthew ACTON (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins 4.Adam SAROTA (possible return from injury), 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (possible return from injury)
Unavailable 1.Michael THEO (wrist – 3 weeks), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO (groin – 6 weeks) 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – 1 week), 19.Jack HINGERT (knee – 4 weeks)
Broadcast coverage: TV -Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio - ABC Grandstand Digital, Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee: Kris Griffiths- Jones
Incredibly, the winner of this match will jump up into the top six - so even though there's just three points at stake this is a massive game for the respective clubs' confidence.
Given their struggles in this campaign, it’s hard to believe that just seven months ago these two sides contested last season’s Hyundai A-League Grand Final.
The Wanderers are still searching for their first victory while Roar have just one win and have already seen coach Mike Mulvey sacked as a result of their poor start.
While the Wanderers beat Brisbane on all four occasions they met in season 2012/13, Roar reversed their fortunes last campaign by going undefeated against Tony Popovic’s side.
The Wanderers boss has added Jason Trifiro and youngster Jaushua Sotirio to his squad from Saturday night and may look to freshen things up, especially with a tough trip to Adelaide to follow just three days later.
Vitor Saba, who started on the bench in last Saturday’s Sydney Derby, Labinot Haliti and Shannon Cole could all be due for starts if Popovic decides to tinker.
The possible first appearance of the season of Socceroos midfielder Adam Sarota is the big news in the Roar line-up, with the classy playmaker included in an extended squad.
Sarota would certainly add a bit more punch to a midfield that has been uncharacteristically subdued so far this season.
OPTA DATA STATS
-The Wanderers remain winless after seven outings this term, extending what was already their worst ever run of form in the Hyundai A-League. Brisbane have endured their worst ever start to an A-League season having taken four points from seven games.
-Brisbane is unbeaten in their last four meetings with WSW (W2 D2), this after going winless in their first four meetings (L4).
-Roar’s Henrique has scored five goals from 10 shots (exc blocked) this season. His conversion rate (50 percent) is better than anybody else to net five or more goals.
-Brisbane are winless in four home games (D1 L3), their worst run at Suncorp since going five without victory (D1 L4) and losing four on the bounce at the start of the 2009/10 season.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The Wanderers has enough chances to win a couple of games last Saturday night but were again guilty of some wasteful finishing. Nikita Rukavytsya and Mark Bridge were the main culprits.
Surely it won’t be long until the start finding the net regularly, especially if they keep getting into good areas in and around the box. Roar’s main-man this season has been Henrique, popping up all over the park, which will make him hard to contain for the Wanderers defence.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Iacopo La Rocca. The Italian hardman has come under some scrutiny for his involvement in the tackle that saw Sydney FC midfielder Ali Abbas suffer a serious knee injury in the derby on Saturday night.
Regardless of what you think about that incident, there’s no doubt La Rocca is a key player for the Wanderers and his battle in the middle of the park with the likes of Luke Brattan and Matt McKay will go a long way to deciding the outcome.
These two have just one win between them from 14 matches this season, meaning all three points is going to be crucial to help resurrect their campaign.
Both sides head into the match on the back of 1-1 draws. The Wanderers were held at home by local rivals Sydney FC on Saturday night, their third straight draw at home, while Brisbane scored late to get a point against league-leaders Perth Glory. Roar have lost just once in their last three games.
DID YOU KNOW?
Brisbane has averaged 60 percent possession this season, almost 5 percent more than the next highest side. Western Sydney’s average possession figure sits at 46 percent, the third lowest figure in the league.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 2-1 Brisbane Roar
This looms as a real season-defining clash for both sides. Win and it might just spark a resurgence but a defeat will make things especially hard for the remainder of the season.
The Wanderers have performed better and better with every game over the last couple of weeks and you get the feeling they are on the cusp of a win judging by their first half display in the derby.