A-League Round 16 – Preview
Central Coast vs Sydney FC
Central Coast Stadium
Sunday 23 February 2020
Kick off: 6:00pm
Well I think it’s fair to say most of us would rather forget that the Yokohama game ever happened. It was one of our worst performances in years. We were truly outclassed by a side with better technical and physical ability compared to us, who played a style unlike anything played in the A-League. Their high line completely choked us of any space in the middle of the park and our attacking players didn’t make the runs required to make that space.
This time around, we are up against Central Coast Mariners, and it’s probably a good game to get us back into some form. The Mariners looked promising at the start of the season and it looked like they might even be an outside chance of making the six. Almost inevitably, however, they have dropped to the bottom of the table after a string of bad performances: Mariners have lost their last 5 games.
Mariners looked much improved last week, however. McGlinchey came back into the line-up and added some much-needed creativity and Harold has come into the starting eleven as well and adds a real goal threat. At the back, Tongyik has been starting a couple of games and he has provided some more solidity to the defensive unit. Despite these improvements, on paper this is probably the weakest squad in the competition.
On our side, there’s a couple of changes to make from mid week. Ninkovic returns out left, adding his usually creativity and ability to create something out of nothing. However, it may take him some time to get up to game speed as he hasn’t played for over three weeks now. This is unfortunate because this game also sees Baumjohann serving the final game of his suspension, meaning that our creativity falls on the Serbian. This also means we have to replace Baumjohann with someone on the right. Caceres is the obvious candidate for this, but I could also see Corica starting Buhagiar or Ivanovic depending on how Caceres pulls up after the mid-week game.
On that note, it’s never easy to tell how we will pull up after playing mid-week. Hopefully it should be somewhat easier for us this weekend because Central Coast aren’t going to be applying the amount of pressure that Yokohama did. They are likely to sit much deeper and if they do decide to sit high then we are going to have a much easier time hitting on the counter. Either way, we are going to be in for a lower intensity game.
One of the really unusual things about the Yokohama game is how poorly our central defensive pair played. They both made mistakes leading to goals and this is really uncharacteristic to them. Corica has put this down to the lack of games played in the lead-up to the Champions’ League game, so hopefully with the Yokohama game out of the way, Wilkinson and McGowan both have their eye in a bit more.
I anticipate we will line up like this:
Wins: 22 (50%)
Draws: 10 (22.7%)
Losses: 12 (27.3%)
Sydney FC record at Central Coast Stadium
Wins: 8 (40%)
Draws: 5 (25%)
Losses: 7 (35%)
Last 5 Matches
14/12/19 – Sydney FC 1 – 0 CCM
17/2/19 – Sydney FC 1 – 1 CCM
4/1/19 – Sydney FC 5 – 2 CCM
1/12/18 – CCM 1 – 2 Sydney FC
24/3/18 – CCM 1 – 2 Sydney FC
Biggest Win – 4 goals (3 games):
5/11/05 – CCM 1 – 5 Sydney FC
24/01/14 – CCM 1 – 5 Sydney FC
15/10/16 – Sydney FC 4 – 0 CCM
Biggest Loss – 5 goals:
3/11/12 – Sydney FC 2 – 7 CCM
Most Goals in a Game – 9 goals:
22/12/07 – CCM 4 – 5 Sydney FC
3/11/12 – Sydney FC 2 – 7 CCM
Most Appearances vs CCM – Alex Brosque (25)
Most Goals vs CCM –Alex Brosque (10)
- This will be Alex Wilkinson’s 100th A-League game for Sydney FC. Wilkinson will be only the 10th player to do that in Sydney FC’s history. He has played 118 games for the club overall.
- Since Steve Corica took over as head coach, there have been only 2 games where Sydney lost by more than 2 goals – both of them were 4-0 defeats against Japanese sides.
- Adam Le Fondre has scored in 3 of his 4 games against Central Coast.
Note: Appearances and goals only include league games, finals, FFA Cup, OFC and AFC Champions League and Club World Cup.