Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Australian A-League clash between Macarthur and Sydney FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Surprisingly, though, it is the rookies who have started the new season the better, picking up seven points from their opening four outings, while Steve Corica‘s side have just four points to their name after three games.
Macarthur have assembled an exciting squad for their maiden campaign in the A-League, and former Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest striker Matt Derbyshire bagged his first goal for the club last time out.
The 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Sunday lifted Ante Milicic‘s men to fourth in the top-flight standings, just two points behind table-toppers Central Coast Mariners.
Despite this being their first campaign in the division, the Campbelltown Stadium outfit have already shown that they are more than capable of competing with the league’s best sides.
If Milicic can mastermind a victory over the 2019-20 champions, then they will surely start to believe that a title tilt is not beyond them.
Sydney FC won their fifth A-League crown last season after defeating Melbourne City in the Grand Final, thanks to a Rhyan Grant strike in extra time.
That made them the most successful club in the country, and Corica will be keen for his men to assert their dominance over the division this time around after he was able to keep hold of the majority of his squad in the summer.
The Sky Blues will be desperate to bounce back from a shock 2-0 defeat on home soil last time out to the early pace-setters Central Coast Mariners, and a defeat would be a heavy blow to their aspirations this season.
Their success in 2019-20 was built on solid foundations as Sydney had the best defence in the division, but five goals conceded in three games will be concerning to Corica, and the head coach will be looking to address those defensive issues as soon as possible, starting at the weekend.
Macarthur Australian A-League form: WLDW
Sydney FC Australian A-League form: WDL
Sydney FC form (all competitions): LWDWDL
Macarthur have no injury concerns coming into this one and are likely to keep faith in the starting XI that saw off the Jets in their previous fixture.
Sydney are still unable to call upon the services of 18-year-old goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic after the teenager was involved in a heavy collision in the AFC Champions League.
Pavlesic is the only absentee, but Corica may want to shake things up after such a disappointing display last time out.
Macarthur possible starting lineup:
Federici; Meredith, Susnjar, Jovanovic, Franjic; Milligan, Genreau; Najjar, Etxebarria, Susaeta; Derbyshire
Sydney FC possible starting lineup:
Heward-Belle; King, Warland, Wilkinson, Grant; Brattan, Baumjohann, Ninkovic, Caceres; Barbarouses, Buhagiar
We say: Macarthur 1-1 Sydney FC
Although Macarthur are the new boys and they are coming up against one of the best sides in the league, we fancy Milicic’s men to come away with a draw on Saturday. Sydney have made an unconvincing start to the new season, and Macarthur could capitalise on that.
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk