Venue – Spotless Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park, Australia
Date – Friday, 24 March 2017
Time – 19:50pm (Local) (19:50pm (AEDT))
Western Sydney Wanderers will aim to secure their first back-to-back wins of the Hyundai A-League season as they welcome in-form Melbourne City to Spotless Stadium for Harvey Norman Friday Night Football.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk), 2.Shannon COLE, 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Mitch NICHOLS, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 10.Nicolás MARTÍNEZ, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Bruno PIÑATARES, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Terry ANTONIS, 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS
**two to be omitted**
2.Shannon COLE (promoted), 7.Steven LUSTICA (promoted), 29.Ryan GRIFFITHS (promoted)
23.Lachlan SCOTT (omitted)
Jacob MELLING (back – indefinite)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 18.Paulo RETRE, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 34.Dennis GENREAU
**two to be omitted**
14.Daniel ARZANI (promoted), 20.Dean BOUZANIS (gk) (returns from suspension), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN (promoted), 34.Dennis GENREAU (promoted)
17.Tim CAHILL (international duty), 40.Yaren SOZER (gk) (omitted)
7.Corey GAMEIRO (ACL – season), 27.Fernando BRANDAN (ACL – season), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (ACL – season)
After respective mid-season slumps, both these teams come into this clash full of confidence after emphatic wins last week.
For Melbourne City they were at their attacking best to dispose of Newcastle Jets 4-0 at AAMI Park, while the Wanderers showed no sign of Asian Champions League fatigue as they ran circles around a limp Wellington Phoenix in a 3-1 triumph at Spotless.
The red and black will be desperate to secure their first consecutive wins this Hyundai A-League season and in turn, cement a spot in the finals.
Winless from their last three matches with Melbourne City, Western Sydney must end that unwanted streak but will be buoyed by the fact City have never won an away game in seven attempts against the red and black.
As two teams known more for attacking prowess than defiant defence, goals have always been one thing you can count on when Western Sydney and Melbourne City clash.
After 15 matches between them there is yet to be a goalless game with the ball finding the back of the net 49 times, for an average of 3.2 goals per match.
With both teams scoring seven goals between them last round and Western Sydney netting three goals in consecutive games, neither side should struggle finding their way to goal.
As for who will strike, each club has a very clear culprit.
For City, Uruguayan Bruno Fornaroli is an ever-present threat up front and sitting just one goal behind current Golden Boot leader Besart Berisha, will no doubt be desperate to add to his 17 goals this campaign.
In fact, Uruguayan striker’s 82 attempted shots this season is nine more than any other player in the league. In the red and black, their new all-time top scorer Brendon Santalab will be confident of adding to his tally after a composed double last week.
The 34-year-old, aptly, has 34 goals to his name for the club and is their highest scorer this season with 11.
Scoring a goal every 82 minutes this season, Santalab is the only player this season to average more than a goal per full game.
International duty has robbed this clash of one of the more iconic potential routes to goal, with Socceroo Tim Cahill unfortunately absent.
While Wanderers young gun Lachlan Scott will also be missing from the action with the 19-year-old omitted from the squad after a busy fortnight in which he scored his debut ACL goal.
Brendon Santalab. “Santa” etched his name into Wanderers history.
The veteran striker delivered yet again last week with a clinical double ensuring he became the club’s all-time leading goal scorer.
FORM LINES –
Western Sydney Wanderers: LWLDW
Melbourne City: DWLWW
PREDICTION – Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Melbourne City