A-League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

The clash of Round 9 pits two of the early A-League pacesetters, and with a strong Spanish flavour to both sides Wanderers hosting Roar at Wanderland should be a ripper.

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Brisbane Roar FC

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta

Kick-Off: 7:30 PM (Local) (7:30 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones

Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher

Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick

Fourth Official: Katie Patterson

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.15pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, 612 ABC Brisbane, ABC LR NSW & Qld, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #WSWvBRI

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Romeo CASTELEN, 8.DIMAS, 9.Federico PIOVACCARI, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.ALBERTO, 18.ANDREU, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21.Jacob PEPPER, 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 34. Mario SHABOW

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 19.Mark BRIDGE (returns from injury), 9.Federico PIOVACCARI (promoted)

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

Brisbane Roar FC squad: 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 5.Corey BROWN, 6.Jerome POLENZ, 7.CORONA, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 9.Jamie MACLAREN, 10.HENRIQUE, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 15.James DONACHIE, 16.Devante CLUT, 17.Matt McKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 36.Andre JANNESE (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Corey BROWN (promoted), 6.Jerome POLENZ (promoted), 16.Devante CLUT (promoted)

Outs: 18.Javier HERVAS (muscle stiffness)

Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (gk) (quad strain – 1 week), 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO (hamstring strain – 1 week),  33.Luke DE VERE (quad – 2 weeks)

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

The red-hot Wanderers are on a five-match winning streak – half way towards the club’s record run of ten set in their inaugural season.

But on Saturday, Tony Popovic’s side will arguably get the sternest test of their evolving style when they welcome Roar on Saturday night.

Brisbane also happen to be unbeaten in their last five – and know a thing or two about setting records themselves – but surrendered top spot last weekend.

The two teams are now separated by just a point on the ladder.

Western Sydney’s Spanish midfield duo of Andrea and Dimas have orchestrated their revival alongside the tireless Mitch Nichols who must be nearing another Socceroos recall.

John Aloisi has also taken inspiration from the Spanish game, with Roar’s free-flowing passing and willingness to play through teams backed up by their league leading possession stats.

Both sides will be set up to retain the ball, while not leaving themselves open to being hit on the break.

Whoever is bravest in getting bodies forward will go a long way to deciding this one.

OPTA DATA

·         Western Sydney have recorded just one victory against Brisbane in the last eight A-League encounters inc. play-offs (D2 L5).

·         However, in the four occasions when taking the lead against the Roar, WSW have always gone to win the match.

·         Wanderers have won the last five consecutive A-League matches, their best run since March 2013 (a 10 game winning streak).

·         Corona has completed more passes than any other A-league player this season (426).

·         Romeo Castelen has completed 20 dribbles so far in this A-League campaign; three more than any other player.

ROUTE TO GOAL

It will be interesting to see who leads the line for Wanderers in front of their home fans.

Mark Bridge was selected up front against the Mariners only to be withdrawn at the last minute for Dario Vidosic, who was otherwise set to be rested.

Marquee man Federico Piovaccari was also said to have been rotated from the squad, but Brendon Santalab, who scored his first goal of the season off the bench, revealed post-match the Italian was carrying an injury.

Tony Popovic would love to see Romeo Castelen open his goal account on the weekend, the Dutchman has had no shortage of chances but his finishing has been left wanting in recent weeks.

The Roar scored three at Wanderland in the season opener so will hold no fear of repeating the dose.

Olyroo striker Jamie Maclaren is thriving on the responsibility of being the main man and has been well supported by Brandon Borrello and Dimi Petratos.

Both sides’ bench players have netted crucial goals in recent weeks so it wouldn’t surprise to see a super-sub grab the match winner.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Wanderers’ 17-year-old Mario Shabow. He’s gone from supporting the team in the RBB to playing for the red and black after the starlet’s first team debut in the Wanderers’ 2-0 win over the Mariners last Sunday.

FORM LINES (previous five games)

Western Sydney Wanderers: WWWWW

Brisbane Roar: WDWDD

PREDICTION

Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – Brisbane Roar 2