The Wanderers have everything in their favour heading into Sunday’s game with the Phoenix. They were three points in front of the Roar heading into the round and four points behind fifth-placed Melbourne Victory and with those two teams battling each other on Friday, this is a huge game for the Red and Black in the race to secure a top six berth. Western Sydney knocked off the Mariners 2-1 last week but struggled to put them away in the second half after going up 2-nil early. They need to be able to produce strong second half performances if they are any chance of making a finals run and against a Phoenix side that has been largely disappointing this season, this is three points for the taking. One of the big positives for Josep Gombau’s side is the fact that Wellington has just one away win all season – but that did come against Newcastle.
Key stat: Wellington has not beaten Western Sydney in their past six encounters. The Wanderers have won four of those matches with two draws thrown into the mix.
There may be a bit of value to be found in this market if we play around the favourite, Oriol Riera. While the Spaniard is a logical choice to open the scoring for the home side, Brendon Santalab has a fantastic record against the Phoenix while newcomer and Socceroo Chris Ikonomidis, on loan from Lazio for the remainder of the season, will be all the better for his first outing last week.
Key stat: Brendon Santalab has great record against the kiwis with six goals the past six times these teams have played including two doubles.