WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS V CENTRAL COAST Saturday night, Spotless Stadium
The teams with the worst defensive records in the competition will square off in what shapes to be a highly entertaining affair.
Western Sydney Wanderers will no doubt have a bad taste in their mouth following their effort at this venue six days ago, letting a comfortable lead slip away to eventually share the points.
Central Coast tried their hearts out last week but although they had no trouble getting to the box, they couldn’t generate any clear cut chances and eventually went down 1-0 to Brisbane.
The Wanderers are in a state of flux at the moment with their spiritual home (Pirtek) under construction and the departure of iconic captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley overseas – how will they handle this week’s affair?
Tony Popovic’s men will fancy themselves in this match if recent history is anything to go by.
Western Sydney has had the better of Central Coast for three years, winning three straight and outscoring their opponents 8-2 during that run.
In fact, the Central Coast hasn’t beaten Western Sydney on the road since winning the 2013 Grand Final (2-0).
BETTER BUT IMPROVEMENT STILL NEEDED
Central Coast have now dropped back-to-back games since staging a dramatic comeback in Round 1 to snatch a Draw in Perth. In both of those they have been held scoreless by Sydney FC and Brisbane.
Although the side has responded well to new coach Paul Okon, their defence is still a big concern. Easily the worst defensive outfit last season, they are still leaking 2.6 goals per game this time around.
While they seemingly outplayed Brisbane last week it was their ineffectiveness in the final third which ultimately cost them. They didn’t generate a shot on goal the whole match.
Their struggles can be highlighted in one stat – they are now winless in 14 matches!
HOW IT PANS OUT
The Wanderers are definitely the more advanced team at this stage of the season.
Having travelled to Adelaide and beat the defending champions, they were set for back-to-back wins before falling asleep last week. Some may argue that the worst thing that happened to them was half-time because prior to that they were all over the Jets.
With one game now under their belt at Spotless Stadium, the team will be far more familiar with their surroundings this time around.
Okon is still moulding his side and while they will give the Wanderers something to think about, we don’t think they will have the firepower to compete here. All you have to do is look back at their record over the past 29 games where they have just two victories and those were both against Wellington.
THE TIP: Western Sydney Wanderers
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: Try the Overs. Both teams have plenty to work on when it comes to defence so expect both keepers to be busy