How will the Jets respond after losing their marquee player for the season? Ernie Merrick has had a few headaches this week after watching Ronald Vargas go down with a terrible ankle injury in last week’s win against Brisbane, with the exciting playmaker more than likely out for the rest of the season. It is a huge blow to Newcastle who are the best attacking team in the competition. The Wanderers have made a bright start to their campaign but go into this off a draw in the Sydney Derby and then a loss to Adelaide in the FFA Cup semi midweek.
3 KEY POINTS
- NEWCASTLE is averaging a league best three goals per game through the opening three rounds
- ROY O’DONOVAN (5) leads the Golden Boot race
- ORIOL RIERA has continued his electric start in the Red and Black, scoring in each of his six games for the club so far (including FFA Cup)
- Western Sydney has won five of the past six matchups
- The Wanderers have outscored the Jets 12-4 during this span
- O’Donovan bagged a double against the Wanderers the last time he played against them but that was with the Central Coast Mariners
- With Newcastle losing Vargas and the Wanderers having a torrid week we think this has ‘Draw’ written all over it. Vargas’ link up with the likes of O’Donovan and Andrew Nabbout has seen them rack up nine goals already this season which is a roughly a third of their total throughout the entire 2016/17 campaign! Western Sydney were brilliant in the first half against Sydney FC last week but had to settle for the points in the end and if that didn’t drain them, a loss in the FFA Cup semi against Adelaide on Tuesday night certainly will have.
NEWCASTLE / DRAW
- The Jets will begin quickly but look for the Wanderers to strike back
- The Irishman has been the first goalscorer on two occasions already this season
TOTAL GOALS OVER OR UNDER
- We are expecting a tight contest