A-League preview: Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets

Both sides have to go for a win. After all, who wants to finish bottom? So while it’s all about pride and avoiding the wooden spoon, expect an open clash on Saturday afternoon in this bottom two dogfight in Parramatta.

When: Saturday, 21 March 2015

Where: Pirtek Stadium, Sydney

Kick-Off: 5pm (AEDT)

Squads

Western Sydney Wanderers: 1.Ante COVIC (gk), 3.Yusuke TANAKA, 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 7.Labinot HALITI, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Yojiro TAKAHAGI, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 13. Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 14.Kerem BULUT, 15.Yianni PERKATIS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 23.Jason TRIFIRO, 25.Sam GALLAWAY, 38.Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 32. Daniel ALESSI

Newcastle Jets: 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTAÑO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 21. Daniel MULLEN (C), 22. Ki-je LEE, 25. Brandon LUNDY, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 30. John SOLARI (Gk)

Hashtag #WSWvNEW

Broadcast coverage:

TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT)

Radio – Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app. 89.3 FM 2GLF (Western Sydney)

Referee - Strebre Delovski

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

The Wanderers are heading into their ninth game in just 28 days following another long trip – this time to Korea – for ACL duty this week.

While they came away with a gritty 0-0 draw against FC Seoul, they did pick up injuries to Socceroo duo Matthew Spiranovic and Tomi Juric.

Given the likes of Mark Bridge, Shannon Cole, Brendon Santalab and Brendan Hamill are also still sidelined, their squad is going to be fully stretched for this clash which has huge ramifications for who will finish with the wooden spoon.

The Jets saw their recent modest improvement in results come to an abrupt halt at the hands of Melbourne City FC last weekend.

After showing signs of life over the last month, it was five steps backwards for the side and embattled coach Phil Stubbins.

They are yet to pick up a win on the road all season but this would be the perfect time to start.

Spiranovic and Juric have both been named in the Wanderers squad but must be long odds to play after a long trip back from Korea. 

Youngster Daniel Alessi could be in line for a rare start in defence, while Juric’s injury means Kerem Bulut should again lead the attack.

Defender Taylor Regan should return from injury to stiffen up a Jets defence which was so porous at AAMI Park.

OPTA DATA STATS

-The Jets have never failed to score in four previous away Hyundai A-League games against Western Sydney Wanderers (W2 D1 L1).

-The Wanderers have alternated between defeat and victory in their last five Hyundai home games, losing their most recent match.

-The Wanderers have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last six outings. However, the Jets have failed to score in any of their last three.

-Newcastle Jets have scored fewer (16) and conceded more (45) goals than any other Hyundai A-League side this season.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Both sides have struggled for goals this season and are the two lowest scorers in the Hyundai A-League, with just 34 goals in 41 matches between them.

Wanderers have at least started scoring a few more goals in recent matches, bagging three against Sydney FC and City over the last month.

It’s coincided with Yojiro Takahagi moving into a deeper midfield role and being able to start attacks further back. Romeo Castelen’s return to fitness has also been important.

The Jets tried winger Andrew Hoole in a ‘False 9’ position last time out and it didn’t work, so expect him to move back to the flank.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

The Jets. Their horror season reached another low last weekend when they were dismantled 4-0 by City. 

It wasn’t just the score-line that was a concern but their performance – especially in defence - was poor and they seemed to lack the fight they have displayed in recent weeks.

There must be some sort of response from the playing group this week. 

Especially as a defeat would all-but consign the club too finishing with the dreaded wooden spoon.

FORM LINES

Melbourne proved the undoing for both of these sides last weekend. The Wanderers slumped to a 3-0 loss to Victory on Friday night, while just 24 hours later it was City who took apart the Jets 4-0. 

The Wanderers did regroup during the week, coming away with a valuable point following a 0-0 draw with FC Seoul in the ACL. 

Both previous games this season between the two clubs has ended in a 1-1 draw.

DID YOU KNOW?

No side has won fewer games this Hyundai A-League season than Newcastle Jets (1), while no side has lost more than the Wanderers (13).

PREDICTION

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3-1 Newcastle Jets

It’s been yet another long week of travel for the Wanderers, who only arrived back in Australia on Friday.

While the heavy schedule caught up with them last week against Victory, Jets don’t possess the same attacking weapons by any stretch.

Expect the red and black to get over the line and take a huge step towards avoiding the wooden spoon.