The Sydney Derby will highlight a huge opening weekend for the A-League with a record crowd expected at ANZ Stadium.
Over 60,000 tickets have already been sold which already ensures the largest crowd ever at an A-League fixture – including any Grand Final in the competition’s history!
Sydney FC will be hoping to begin the new campaign on a high after a very disappointing term in 2014/15. With more losses than wins, coach Graham Arnold acknowledged that it was unacceptable for Sydney not to feature in the finals and a good start here over their rivals would definitely be in the back of his mind.
Western Sydney have been one of the best teams in the A-League since their inception in 2012, making three Grand Finals and becoming the first Australian team to take out the Asian Champions League.
Coach Tony Popovic has again cleaned out many of his squad from last season and that’s been a practice he’s preached ever since being given the inaugural coaching job at Parramatta.
Although the Wanderers have outperformed their older, more established rivals in recent seasons when it comes to playing each other, the Sky Blues have it all over them.
WSW haven’t beaten Sydney FC in their last seven outings!
These sides have almost contrasting preseason form and it isn’t good reading for the Red and Blacks.
The Wanderers were knocked out of the FFA Cup by Melbourne City 4-1 in the quarter finals while their crosstown rivals had a 2-0 triumph over Perth before a 3-0 decision over Blacktown. They now face Canberra Olympic for a spot in the Final.
HOW IT PANS OUT
Statistics suggest that the Sky Blues will take this one out.
They haven’t lost to the Wanderers in their last seven Derbys while their opponents have been slow starters on a regular basis in the four years they have been in the competition. Western Sydney haven’t won their opening two games of the regular season EVER.
That can probably be put down to the fact that Popovic refreshes his team every year and with anything it would take some time before they gel.
Sydney have had a cleanout of their own with Arnold bringing in the likes of the exciting Josh Brilliante, Alex Wilkinson and Brazilian import, Bobo.
This is going to be a ripping contest especially with such a big crowd in attendance.
It is interesting to note that the Wanderers will be playing the majority of their games for the next few years at ANZ and Spotless Stadium while Pirtek is being redeveloped.
A different surface and different pitch will also bring about a different atmosphere as the spacious ANZ Stadium isn’t the boutique venue that is Pirtek. While it will still be noisy, the effect of the RBB won’t be as influential as normal.
We feel that Sydney FC will get the money here in a tight contest.
With their side having something to prove after a disappointing last term and a strong local derby record, we are tipping the Sky Blues to get away with this one.
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER:
Over – expect some freeflowing football and without established systems in place at this early stage of the season, we are thinking there will be plenty of chances for both sides.