A-League Round 2 – Preview
Sydney FC vs Western Sydney
Saturday 16 January 2021
Kick off: 5:05pm
It’s derby week and while the active support won’t be able to make this the spectacle it usually is, the importance of this game will still add some real spice to this fixture. Bragging rights are on the line and that’s particularly the case because we didn’t manage to win one last season. There’s been some low-quality banter from the Wanderers fans and it’ll be good to just shut them up. Most of our squad is the same as we had last season and I’m sure they’ll be keen to make amends.
The Wanderers squad we’re up against is much-changed from last season. Carl Robinson has come in as their manager and has brought some talent with him from his favourite agency. The familiar name of Bernie Ibini is the one that stands out, following Robinson to Western Sydney. While he obviously isn’t as good as his sister, we all know that he can still pull something out of the hat on a good day. Similarly, James Troisi has joined Western Sydney and he always has half a dozen good games in him each season. We just have to hope we catch him on a bad day. The biggest threat in the Wanderers squad does remain striker Simon Cox, who may soon be returning to England.
Wanderers will line up with three at the back, though it must be said there’s no real stand out among the centre backs. With someone slow like Ziggy Gordon at the back, it’s very possible that Trent Buhagiar will be able to get in behind and cause some difficulty. At the very least it might force the Wanderers to sit deeper to create space for our midfield. One consideration that might also give Robinson some pause is that the Wanderers have a game on Tuesday night, which means that he may not want some of his key players to play the full 90 minutes.
It has been two weeks since our win against the Nix, and it seems like we’re going to have a full squad available. It’s very likely that Calem Nieuwenhof has cemented that midfield slot for the short term at least, right off the back of his SFCU Man of the Match winning performance. The big question mark will be how he will fare in a game like this one with more pressure and far more to play for. As a Sydney FC fan, he knows what this game means to us.
Anthony Caceres played well on the right wing and the question we will have answered on Saturday is if Corica wants to rotate between him and Alexander Baumjohann or if he will have them continue to compete for that position. Baumjohann was decent off the bench last game and he has played in enough Sydney derbies to demonstrate that he is up for the pressure. I could see an argument for having his experienced head out there and then having Caceres as an impact player. That said, Corica does like consistency in his line-ups so I suspect he will stay with Caceres.
We might see some shuffling around at the back. Joel King and Ben Warland both started the game last time, with Michael Zullo coming on late and Ryan McGowan on the bench. It’s unclear why Corica made this decision, but my gut feeling is that he will want Zullo at least out there as a calm head who is more experienced in these high-pressure systems. The speed of Warland at the back makes him a useful partner to Wilkinson and I can see Corica wanting to test that partnership out a little longer.
One player who really needs to perform over these next few games is Kosta Barbarouses. With Bobo making his return to the club, we may have genuine competition in the striker position. While the Brazilian won’t be available for this game, Corica will no doubt be keeping Barbarouses on notice.
I think we will line up as follows:
Wins: 12 (48%)
Draws: 7 (28%)
Losses: 6 (24%)
Sydney FC record at Stadium Australia
Wins: 5 (50%)
Draws: 3 (30%)
Losses: 2 (20%)
Last 5 Matches
21/03/20 – Western Sydney 1 – 1 Sydney FC
28/02/20 – Sydney FC 0 – 1 Western Sydney
26/10/19 – Western Sydney 1 – 0 Sydney FC
13/04/19 – Western Sydney 1 – 1 Sydney FC
15/12/18 – Western Sydney 1 – 3 Sydney FC
Biggest Win – 5 goals:
9/12/17 – Western Sydney 0 – 5 Sydney FC
Biggest Loss – 2 goals (2 games):
15/12/12 – Sydney FC 0 – 2 Western Sydney
26/10/13 – Sydney FC 0 – 2 Western Sydney
Most Goals in a Game – 7 goals:
28/02/15 – Western Sydney 3 – 4 Sydney FC
Most Appearances vs Western Sydney – Rhyan Grant (19)*
Most Goals vs Western Sydney –Alex Brosque (6)
- Sydney FC have only played against a team coached by Carl Robinson This was a 2-1 loss against Newcastle Jets on 21/07/20.
- Sydney FC have a good record in derbies at Stadium Australia. Of the 5 derbies there, Sydney FC have won 3 and drawn 1 game. The most recent derby at this venue was a 1-1 draw on 13/04/19.
- Steve Corica has a derby record of 3 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.
Note: Appearances and goals only include league games, finals, FFA Cup, OFC and AFC Champions League and Club World Cup.