City have taken a huge step towards securing a top-six finish over the last month but can’t afford to take their foot off the gas against a Wanderers outfit which beat them at Pirtek Stadium just last month. Who will come out on top in this Good Friday showdown?
When: Friday, 3 April 2015
Where: Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7.40pm (Local), (7.40pm AEDST)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 3.Yusuke TANAKA, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Yojiro TAKAHAGI, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 14.Kerem BULUT, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 25.Sam GALLAWAY, 33.Nick KALMAR, 37.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 39.Shayne D’CUNHA, 42.Adrian MADASCHI
Melbourne City 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6. Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 10.Robert KOREN, 13.Jonatan GERMANO, 15.David WILLIAMS, 16. Josh KENNEDY, 17.Jason HOFFMAN, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO, 27.Kew JALIENS
Finals-chasing City will go a long way towards locking-up a top six berth if they can pick up a crucial three points at Wanderland.
For the Wanderers it's all about giving their fantastic home fans something to cheer about after a poor league season.
City head into round 24 with a healthy eight-point gap from seventh-placed Brisbane, although Roar do have a game in hand.
Win this one and it would appear only a serious meltdown would stop John van ‘t Schip’s side from playing finals.
While the Wanderers top-six hopes faded a while back, they are still a dangerous proposition, especially at home, and knocked off City 3-2 just last month.
Current form would suggest the visitors should be too strong but Wanderers have the added incentive of pulling away from the competition’s basement with a victory.
It will be interesting to see just what kind of team Tony Popovic puts out for the Wanderers, with the club facing a vital AFC Champions League clash against FC Seoul the following Tuesday night.
There is finally some reprieve on the injury front for the Wanderers with Mark Bridge and Mateo Poljak available again after a few weeks on the sidelines.
Striker Tomi Juric has also been named in the squad and appears to be over his groin problem after playing for the Socceroos.
You would imagine Aaron Mooy will come straight back into the starting side for City after returning back from Europe where he played in both matches for the Socceroos.
If Mooy does show no ill-effects from the long trip, he’s likely to take the place of last weekend’s match-winner Jonatan Germano.
OPTA DATA STATS
- City has never won away at Western Sydney Wanderers in four previous trips there, with each of their three defeats coming by a single goal margin (D1 L3).
-Kerem Bulut has scored five times in five Hyundai A-League games for Western Sydney Wanderers. Bulut has the best minutes per goal rate of any player with more than two goals this season, scoring every 78 minutes.
-City’s Aaron Mooy has created more chances than any other player in the Hyundai A-League this season (68).
-The Wanderers have used 34 different players this season – a Hyundai A-League high - while Melbourne City has used 30.
ROUTE TO GOAL
After struggling for goals early in the season, Wanderers have found their scoring boots in recent weeks.
They put four past Roar just over a week ago then backed it up with another two on the road in Perth.
It has coincided with Yojiro Takahagi’s switch to a deeper-lying midfield role, able to use his excellent passing game to create from deeper positions.
The form of Kerem Bulut has also been imperative, the young striker has five goals in the Hyundai A-League from just a handful of appearances.
City has got goals from all avenues in recent weeks but there’s no denying Josh Kennedy is key.
They need to keep the Socceroo striker fit for the remainder of the season to provide that real focal point and presence in attack if they are to go far in the finals.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Aaron Mooy. The City midfielder is back from international duty with the Socceroos and should be full of confidence after getting some game time against both Germany and FYR Macedonia.
Enjoying his best season in the Hyundai A-League, Mooy has saved his best for his former club, scoring in both previous clashes against Wanderers this season and is City’s leading scorer with five for the campaign.
No question which side comes into this clash in better form. Wanderers have won just one of their last four and went down in a five-goal thriller 3-2 to Perth Glory last weekend.
They have at least had the benefit of a full week to prepare for this one (and they don't need to jump on a plane to Asia, with the Seoul clash at home).
City put one foot into the finals with a 1-0 victory over Brisbane, their third win on the trot. They have split the two previous encounters this season, including a come-from-behind 3-2 win to the Wanderers in Parramatta.
DID YOU KNOW?
Melbourne City has had 19 different goal-scorers this Hyundai A-League campaign, at least five more than any other side.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1-2 Melbourne City
City are peaking at just the right time, playing some clinical, counter-attacking football.
They seem to have goals from various different avenues, with 19 different scorers for the season.
With uncertainty surrounding just what kind of team the Wanderers are likely to put out, it’s hard to go past the visitors in this one, especially with so much to play for.
But we're tipping Bulut to score again for the red and black.comments