DERBY DOMINANCEThe Sky Blues have completely dominated their counterparts in the past three years, winning six of the eight Derbys with the other two results being draws. If that wasn’t enough of a dampener for Western Sydney fans, throw in the fact they’ve lost three of the past four clashes with Sydney FC at Allianz (with one draw) and it doesn’t make for good reading heading into Saturday’s contest.
HOME AWAY FROM HOMETony Popovic’s side has actually performed far better on the road than they have at home this season, which gives them a real sporting chance heading into this. The Wanderers are ranked fourth in the ‘away team’ stats with two wins, three draws and two losses from their seven games so far. Interestingly, they have 11 goals on the road which puts them equal second in the league alongside the Victory and only behind Sydney FC. Their temporary homes of ANZ Stadium and Spotless Stadium is where they have dropped some serious points, with the Wanderers the only side yet to register a win in front of their own fans. Maybe a trip to Allianz is just what they need?.
HOW IT PANS OUTWhen these teams met in Round 1 it was Sydney that ran away with it in the second half, trouncing the Wanderers 4-0 in the process. It’s interesting to note that each time Sydney has registered four or more goals in a match this season (five times) it has been a tremendous second half that has seen them put their rivals away. This will be a big test for Sydney FC as their premiership credentials get a real test here as the team is down on defensive troops with Sebastian Ryall and Josh Brillante ruled out. On the plus side, skipper Alex Brosque returns to the team after serving a one-game suspension. The Wanderers will be without Aritz Borda after his sending off last week, however, former Sydney FC and Socceroos playmaker Terry Antonis could make his first appearance back in the A-league in a few seasons.
THE VERDICTSydney FC’s character will be tested here as will their historic unbeaten 14-game run to start the season. You cannot underestimate how they’ve gone about their business so far in 2016/17 with Graham Arnold’s men boasting the best attack and defence in the competition. With the Sky Blues low on defensive troops, and the fact they conceded twice for the first time this season against Central Coast last week, there is definitely a little concern if you want to take the price about them. That said it is hard to see how the Wanderers are going to open them up. Although they have a creative midfield thanks to Martinez and Kusukami, their problem the whole season has been in the final third of the pitch. Barely averaging over a goal a game, Sydney FC skipper Danny Vukovic might not be all that tested with the defensive four in front of him unlikely to be under constant pressure if what we’ve seen so far this season is anything to go by.
THE TIP: Sydney FC
TOTAL GOALS OVER/UNDER 2.5: Overs
1ST GOALSCORER: Alex Brosque