Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Australian A-League clash between Western United and Macarthur, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Western United will aim to get their season up and running when they welcome new boys Macarthur to the Mars Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts have struggled for results so far and are 10th in the A-League table, while Macarthur are on the back of a three-match unbeaten run and have surged up to second in recent weeks.
Due to several fixtures rescheduling, Western United have played only five games this season, three less than their visitors, who have played eight games already.
However, they faltered in those five matches and find themselves 10th in the league standings after picking up just five points with two draws and two defeats.
Their only victory came in a goal-riddled clash with Perth Glory in January, where Victor Sanchez, Steven Lustica, Tomoki Imai and Dylan Pierias found the back of the net in a 5-4 win at GMHBA Stadium
One particular low point of Western United’s floundering performances this season was the 3-2 defeat to Central Coast Mariners last time out.
Goals from Tomislav Uskok and Besart Berisha helped Mark Rudan‘s men hold the lead for most of the game, but a quickfire double from Mariners’ Alou Kuol saw the league leaders steal all three points.
Macarthur, meanwhile, have enjoyed a blistering start to their A-League debut campaign as they sit second in the league table with 14 points from eight games.
Ante Milicic‘s side, who are free-scoring at the moment, come unbeaten in their last three matches and have kept two clean sheets in that time.
A 2-2 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers was followed by an impressive 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium, before sealing an emphatic 4-0 victory over Adelaide United last time out.
Thirty-four-year-old striker Matt Derbyshire has been in excellent goalscoring form, finding the back of the net five times in his last five outings.
This will be the first-ever meeting between Western United and Macarthur after the first fixture slated for January was cancelled.
Western United Australian A-League form: DLWDL
Macarthur Australian A-League form: DWLDWW
Western United will be without the services of midfielder Joshua Risdon, who has been sidelined with a broken tibia.
Seb Pasquali is also a doubt for this tie as he recovers from a hip injury picked up late last year.
On the other hand, Milicic has the luxury of a fully fit squad, and we expect the 46-year-old to name his strongest starting XI.
Matt Derbyshire has been a star performer in the A-League as he tops the scoring chart with five goals, and we expect him to spearhead the visitors attack on Saturday.
Western United possible starting lineup:
Kurto; Calver, Durante, Vujica; Uskok, Sanchez, Lustica, Imai; Burgess, Diamanti, Berisha
Macarthur possible starting lineup:
Federici; Meredith, Milligan, Jovanovic, Franjic; Etxebarria, Genreau; Najjar, Puyo, Susaeta; Derbyshire
We say: Western United 2-2 Macarthur
Western United and Macarthur are evenly matched on paper, and although there is a hefty nine-point gulf between them, it should be noted that the hosts have played three games less than the visitors. Rudan’s men need to start picking up points after their sluggish start to the season, but they face an in-form Macarthur side who are unbeaten in three games.
— to www.sportsmole.co.uk