Preview: Sydney FC vs Melbourne City

A blockbuster opener featuring one of the biggest clubs in the Hyundai A-League in Sydney FC against a club that has designs on being the biggest. A fascinating clash made even more attractive by mega-wealthy City naming David Villa in their travelling party.


Where: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

When: Saturday, October 11, Kick-off: 7.30pm local (7.30pm AEDT)

Referee: Peter Green

Assistant Referee 1: Allyson Flynn

Assistant Referee 2: Ryan Gallagher 

Fourth Official: Chris Young 

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX SPORTS 1HD & 1 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand) 

Radio Broadcast: 702 ABC Sydney, Local Radio NSW, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local radio Victoria Grandstand Digital, Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app  

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

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Sydney FC squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (GK), 2.Sebastian RYALL, 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 5.Matthew JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 7.Corey GAMEIRO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 19.Nick CARLE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK), 25.Aaron CALVER, 28.Max BURGESS, 29.George BLACKWOOD. 

***two to be omitted*** 

Ins: Not Applicable 

Outs: Not Applicable 

Unavailable: 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 21.Mark JANKO, 22.Ali ABBAS (all international duty), 23.Rhyan GRANT (knee – indefinite) 

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3.Robbie WIELAERT, 5.Erik PAARTALU, 6.Aaron MOOY, 7.Iain RAMSAY, 8.Massimo MURDOCCA, 9.David VILLA, 10.Robert KOREN, 11.Damien DUFF, 14.James BROWN, 15.David WILLIAMS, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Tando VELAPHI (GK), 22.Nick KALMAR, 23.Mate DUGANDZIC, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 26.Marco MARINO, 27.Ross ARCHIBALD 

***two to be omitted*** 

Ins: 27.Ross ARCHIBALD (promoted – National Youth League)

Outs: Not Applicable 

Unavailable: 4.Connor CHAPMAN (glandular fever – ongoing), 13.Jonatan GERMANO (calf – 3-6 weeks), 17.Jason HOFFMAN (suspended – 1 week), 19.Benjamin GARUCCIO (ankles – 3-6 weeks), 21.Stefan MAUK (international duty)


There is a real sense of excitement surrounding these two clubs this season but also an element of the unknown due to the huge amount of change to both sides. 

Under experienced new boss Graham Arnold and with a plethora of new attacking options, there is huge expectation on Sydney to perform. Their depth will be tested with a host of key players through international duty and injury, including Marc Janko, Ali Abbas, Bernie Ibini, Sasa Ognenovski and Hagi Gligor. 

Most of the focus surrounding City has centred on Spanish superstar David Villa and just how quickly he settles into the team after arriving in Melbourne less than a week ago. Villa is undoubted the superstar in John van ‘t Schip’s side but they have so much talent with ex-EPL playmaker’s Damien Duff and Robbie Koren also in the line-up.


Sydney FC’s five goals in the three A-League games against Melbourne City (Heart) last season all came in the first half of the match, while all three of Melbourne’s came after the half-time break.


While there are some fascinating match-ups all over the park, this contest is all about which of the teams’ new strikeforces will come out on top. In one corner is Sydney FC with the likes of Alex Brosque, Shane Smeltz and Corey Gameiro - City have Villa, Duff, David Williams and Mate Dugandzic. 

Whichever of those game-breakers can have the biggest impact may just sway the advantage in their side’s favour.


Have we mentioned David Villa is playing? 

The Spanish World Cup winner has arrived in Australia to much fanfare and expectation for his 10-game guest stint. City are hoping he can have a huge impact for them both on and off the field in his short stay. An opening night goal against the Sky Blues would certainly be an ideal start. 


It’s always hard to gauge how a side is travelling based on pre-season results but Sydney FC couldn’t head into the new season in better shape. Graham Arnold’s side have lost just once (against EPL club Newcastle United) in 12 games and have looked impressive in both defence and attack. 

After an inconsistent start to their pre-season campaign, City has improved with every game and their star-studded squad appears to be peaking at the right time. The two sides met in the Westfield FFA Cup, with Sydney winning 3-1 thanks to two extra-time penalties by Abbas.


Melbourne City (Heart) were unbeaten in their first seven games against the Sky Blues and recorded one of the most impressive wins in their history at Allianz Stadium, a 4-0 drubbing of Sydney FC in December 2011.


Sydney FC 1-1 Melbourne City

The Sky Blues have been the more impressive in the pre-season but the loss of half a dozen key players is a blow to their fluency and combinations. One thing in their favour is the squad certainly has the depth to cover this season.

It will be interesting to see if Van ‘t Schip opts to use Villa from the start despite his limited time with the squad. Both these sides look destined for strong seasons and are destined to play in the big end-of-season matches. They might just cancel each other out in this one though.