The Lowdown: Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC

Saturday 7:50pm at ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Live on Fox Sports 501 and One #SydneyDerby Western Sydney Wanderers

Likely team (4-3-3): Janjetovic; Risdon, Cornthwaite, Thwaite, Llorente; Herd, Baccus, Bonevacia; Kusukami, Santalab, Cejudo

Player to watch: Brendon Santalab

The Wanderers’ fan favourite will likely make his first start of the season on Saturday night in place of marquee Oriol Riera who is struggling with a hamstring strain. It’s an occasion the veteran the striker relishes and the last two wins for Western Sydney in the derby – last year and in 2014 – have been delivered by his right foot. He is a man who relishes the big occasion, wears his heart on his sleeve and stokes passion into contests. He will be looking to personally provide the bragging rights to his fans once more. Sydney FC

Likely team: (4-2-3-1): Redmayne; Wilkshire, Buijs, Wilkinson, Zullo; Brillante, O’Neill; Carney, Brosque, Mierzejewski; Bobo

Player to watch: Alex Wilkinson

With the highlight reels dominated by the likes of Bobo, Adrian Mierzejewski and Milos Ninkovic, there are plenty of unsung heroes in this Sydney FC team but none more important than their defensive stalwart. Alex Wilkinson was stoic in the Sky Blues’ gritty yet defensively impressive 1-0 win over Adelaide last week and nothing short of a repeat will see them reclaim honours in the derby. The former Socceroo centre back marshalls the near watertight defence for the Sky Blues and his reading of the game breaks up attacks before they form. His tussle with the likes of the fiery Santalab will make this job all the more difficult.

Key battle: Kearyn Baccus v Adrian Mierzejewski Alongside the dual between Santalab and Wilkinson that could decide the match will be the crucial battle in the middle of the park. In the last three derbies, the ever improving Wanderers midfielder Baccus has shone brightly and his performance in nullifying the threat of Milos Ninkovic in last season’s 1-0 win over Sydney led the Wanderers to Victory. Ninkovic won’t likely start, but taking his place will be the talented playmaker Mierzejewski, who is set to start in his first derby in Australia. Under the new formation of Josep Gombau, Baccus is the sole defensive linchpin for the Wanderers and the responsibility of silencing Mierzejewski will almost entirely rest upon his shoulders. In the dugout

Wanderers: Josep Gombau

The club’s playing philosophy has been turned on its head since the arrival of the Spanish coach a month ago. Gone is the compact, narrow defence of Tony Popovic’s reign as the club embarks on a long-term transition towards an attacking philosophy. So far, it’s proven fruitless but Gombau has called for patience. He may find that will wear thin if the Wanderers lose to their fiercest rivals.

Sydney FC: Graham Arnold

The Sky Blues coach is flying high at the top of the table, so much so that he suggested he wasn’t aware the Wanderers enter the match sitting in ninth place, whether you believe that or not. He will likely resist making many changes from the team that narrowly beat Adelaide last week and the only gamble forced upon him is whether to select Ninkovic, who is not 100 per cent fit.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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