Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Australian A-League clash between Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Western Sydney Wanderers will themselves be looking to record consecutive victories after a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets last time out.
Graham Arnold‘s side defeated Melbourne City in the Grand Final last season to record their fifth A-League title and become the most successful team in the competition’s history.
The Sky Blues made minimal changes to their squad over the off-season, deciding instead to promote several youth-team stars to the senior playing squad.
One major departure, however, was former Reading and Cardiff City striker Adam Le Fondre. The Englishman was a talismanic figure for Sydney, and Arnold’s men will have to find a new source of goals if they are to retain their crown this time around.
The Sydney derby is one of the most highly anticipated fixtures in the Australian top flight and one that Sydney FC usually comes out on top in.
Having said that, Arnold’s men are winless in the last four encounters with their local rivals and will be keen to exact some revenge at the weekend.
The Wanderers bounced back from their opening day defeat at the hands of Macarthur to pick up their first three points of the season against Newcastle Jets in their previous fixture.
Head coach Carl Robinson left the Jets in the summer to take over at the Bankwest Stadium and oversaw a raft of changes with seven new faces arriving and 13 departing.
Graham Dorrans, the former Rangers and Norwich City midfielder, was the biggest name of those to arrive in Southern Australia, and the former Scotland international already has one goal from his first three appearances.
Western Sydney Wanderers finished a lowly ninth in 2019-20, missing out on the final series, however, the arrival of Robinson and the many new faces will have them hoping for a top-six finish, and a win away to their local rivals would be a huge statement of intent.
Sydney FC Australian A-League form: W
Sydney FC form (all competitions): LDLWDW
Western Sydney Wanderers Australian A-League form: LW
Goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic was involved in a heavy clash in the AFC Champions League in December and is unavailable for Saturday’s encounter.
Robinson has a fully-fit squad to choose from and will want to put out his strongest possible XI on Saturday.
His side put in a much-improved performance last time out and will be demanding much of the same against Sydney.
Sydney FC possible starting lineup:
Heward-Belle; King, Warland, Wilkinson, Grant; Brattan, Baumjohann, Ninkovic, Caceres; Barbarouses, Buhagiar
Western Sydney Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Margush; McGowan, Mourdoukoutas, Gordon; Georgievski, Dorrans, Baccus, Russell; Troisi, Ibini-Isei, Cox
We say: Sydney FC 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
The hosts have the superior squad and will be confident coming into this one, but in a derby, anything can happen. The Wanderers have a good recent record in this fixture and will fancy their chances of causing an upset, although Arnold’s men should have just too much for them on this occasion.
Top betting tip
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