Sydney's Allianz Stadium is set to be a full house again this Saturday evening as they welcome their fierce rival, the Western Sydney Wanderers for the final Sydney derby of the regular season.
The battle for the city will be witnessed by approximately over 40,000 fans for what promises to be another thrilling instalment of the Sydney Derby.
In what is billed to be another fiery encounter, much of the attention is swirling around the drama in recent weeks regarding the illegal use of flares at football matches.
The Wanderers were sanctioned with a $50,000 fine along with the suspended loss of three points last Thursday while the Melbourne Victory were handed down the same penalty by the FFA on Wednesday the 17th. The Sydney Derby is arguably where flares have appeared most frequently between both sides' fans and Western Sydney are sweating on the possibility of their reappearance this weekend.
The Wanderers haven't had bragging rights over Sydney since 11 January 2014. Two years, one month and nine days on, Western Sydney Wanderers will be desperate to reverse this trend. Former Sydney FC striker Brendon Santalab was the hero in this match, scoring a late winner in the 87th minute, allowing Parramatta's Pirtek Stadium to burst into raptures. However since then, the two teams have played out six more derbies with Sydney securing victory in a staggering five of those matches. A 3-1 win late in the 2013-14 season began a period of dominance by Sydney over the Wanderers which still continues, with a stunning 3-2 come from behind win and a thrilling 4-3 outcome occurring on either side of a 1-1 draw in Parramatta.
This season, Sydney have won both games, 1-0 in Round 3, courtesy of a late strike from Serbian midfielder Milos Ninkovic and 2-1 with Shane Smeltz this time stealing the three points with just added time remaining.
Both sides suffered disappointing losses last weekend. Sydney FC dropped to sixth place following last Saturday's 2-1 loss to the in-form Perth Glory with a mistake by goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic gifting Andy Keogh's opener before Chris Harold's second was enough to prevent Sydney from snatching a point despite a late goal from Shane Smeltz. Meanwhile, the Wanderers embarrassingly succumbed to the second last Wellington Phoenix, inspired by a blistering Blake Powell who chimed in with four goals in a 5-2 romp. The Wanderers look forward to the return of their Spanish midfield duo, Dimas and Andreu who return back from suspension and injury, respectively.
Key Match-Up- Milos Ninkovic (Sydney FC) vs. Mitch Nichols (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Both players joined their respective clubs for the beginning of this campaign and have proven to be key players in their important roles within the team. The former Serbian international Ninkovic, was the match-winner in Sydney's round 3 triumph over Western Sydney, however has also scored two other goals along with four assists this season after joining from former French Ligue 1 side, Evian. Nichols has returned to sparkling form this season after bitterly disappointing spells at Japanese club, Cerezo Osaka, and Perth Glory. Nichols has been influential in restoring the Wanderers to title contenders this season, especially with his input of nine goals and three assists. This will be an interesting encounter as Ninkovic and Nichols look to lead the teams to victory through their leadership of the game's attacking play.
Pass Accuracy %
Touches per match
18 man squads (two to be omitted)
Sydney FC: 1. Vedran Janjetovic, 2. Sebastian Ryall, 5. Matt Jurman, 6. Robert Stambolziev, 8. Milos Dimitrijevic, 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Milos Ninkovic, 13. Brandon O'Neill, 14. Alex Brosque, 17. David Carney, 18. Matt Simon, 19. Jacques Faty, 20. Ivan Necevski (gk), 21. Filip Holosko, 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant, 24. George Blackwood, 27. Mickael Tavares
In: Matt Simon (returns from suspension) Filip Holosko (returns from injury)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 2. Shannon Cole, 3. Scott Jamieson, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Brendan Hamill, 6. Mitch Nichols, 7. Romeo Castelen, 8. Dimas, 10. Dario Vidosic, 11. Brendon Santalab, 12. Scott Neville, 14. Golgol Mebrahtu, 15. Kearyn Baccus, 16. Jaushua Sotirio, 18. Andreu, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 21. Jacob Pepper, 30. Liam Reddy (gk)
In: Brendan Hamill (promoted), Golgol Mebrahtu (promoted), Dimas (returns from suspension), Andreu (returns from injury)
Out: Jonathan Aspropotamitis (suspended one match), Liam Youlley (not selected)
WSW 0-1 Sydney (Del Piero 54')
Sydney 0-2 WSW (Hersi 24', Beauchamp 77')
WSW 1-1 Sydney (Cole 70'), (Del Piero 34')
Sydney 0-2 WSW (La Rocca 11', Ono 26')
WSW 1-0 Sydney (Santalab 87')
Sydney 3-1 WSW (Jurman 59', Garcia 75', Abbas pen' 90+3), (Ono 49')
Sydney 3-2 WSW (Bridge 19', Janjetovic og' 24'), (Gameiro 45+1, Ognenovski 49', Brosque 79')
WSW 1-1 Sydney (Juric 30') (Ibini-Isei 34')
WSW 3-4 Sydney (La Rocca 32', Bulut 42', 52'), (Covic og 9', Janko 18', 23', Antonis 74')
Sydney 1-0 WSW (Ninkovic 88')
WSW 1-2 Sydney (Vidosic 58'), (Faty 22', Smeltz 90')
Head to Head: Sydney 6 wins, WSW 3 wins, 2 draws. Sydney 16 goals - WSW 14 goals
Top Goal-scorers; Alessandro Del Piero, Shinji Ono, Marc Janko, Iacopo La Rocca, Kerem Bulut-2
February 20, Saturday 7:30pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers on Fox sports 4 505