Are we looking at a potential semi-final match when the Wanderers host City on Friday night?
The Wanderers are riding high after back-to-back wins and will go into this full of confidence taking on a Melbourne City outfit without one of their star goalscorers.
Western Sydney defeated the Wellington Phoenix 3-1 last week to give them some breathing space from the Kiwis who are chasing them for the sixth and final playoff spot.
Melbourne City secured a 1-0 win over a gutsy Newcastle Jets side courtesy of a header from Tim Cahill.
It’s unbelievable to think that the Wanderers haven’t been able to register consecutive wins in 2016-17 until now.
Granted, one of those wins was in the Asian Champions League just over a week ago in Korea but then to come out and beat the Phoenix who are fighting for their playoff lives was a big statement.
Is this the moment that the Wanderers finally click?
Melbourne City will also go into this match with some confidence.
Remarkably last week’s win over Newcastle saw City notch back-to-back wins for just the third time in the league after they recorded consecutive wins to start the 2016-17 campaign.
It’s no secret that they have struggled since winning the FFA Cup. They lost their coach John van’t Schip and then had a stack of players missing through either suspension or injury.
Whatever was the problem they now seem to have sorted it with 13 goals in their past five games a sign of intent heading into the finals.
It’s not good reading for Wanderers fans with City having the wood on their rivals.
The Melbournians have won twice and drawn in four games against the Wanderers which includes a 1-0 victory on January 5 at AAMI Park.
On that occasion an Ivan Franjic goal was enough to give City the win after the Wanderers battled hard with 10 men for the majority of the game.
Western Sydney has struggled to play at ‘home’ this season because their spiritual ground (Pirtek) is being rebuilt.
Their alternative home grounds have been ANZ Stadium, Campbelltown and Spotless with their win over the Phoenix last week at the latter. It was their first win at the ground.
City hit the road with one of the better ‘away’ records and are actually the second best attacking team in that regard (20 goals) with only Sydney FC scoring more (26).
The big blow for them is Cahill who will be missing the game due to Socceroos commitments over the next week or so. Still, they have Bruno Fornaroli to fall back on so it won’t be too bad but a player of Cahill’s influence is very hard to replace.
THE MATCH TIP:
WSW – we think they have finally found the winning formula
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 3.5:
UNDER 2.5 – just three goals have been scored in their past two games
BRENDON SANTALAB – the record goalscorer for the Wanderers bagged a double last week and is fine touch