Saturday, 22 November 2014
Pirtek Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 5pm (Local) (5pm AEDST)
It’s been a forgettable start to the season for both these clubs, still searching for their first win of the campaign heading into round seven.The Wanderers should now be over their post-ACL hangover and with a first point and clean-sheet of the season under the belt following the stalemate with Central Coast on Wednesday night, probably have more reason for optimism than Phil Stubbins’ Jets.Newcastle was embarrassed on their home turf last weekend, going down 4-0 to Brisbane Roar FC. With these two sides both propping up the table, a win in this one is vital to kick-start their seasons.
The Wanderers welcome back skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley for this one after missing the last two games away in Japan with the Socceroos.
Following the long-flight back from Osaka, Popovic may opt to give Topor-Stanley the weekend off, especially as Matthew Spiranovic and Brendan Hamill performed so well against the Mariners.
Mark Bridge and Labinot Haliti, who came off the bench mid-week, could earn a start here if Popovic hopes to freshen up his side.
Defender Sam Gallagher and winger James Virgili are the two players that have felt the axe after last week’s shellacking at the hands of Brisbane, omitted from the squad altogether by Stubbins.
Scott Neville returns from injury and should slot straight in at right-back, while Andrew Hoole is also available after Olyroos duty. Given their poor display a week ago, it would be no surprise if Stubbins re-jigs his starting side, with the likes of Marcos Flores, Jeronimo Neumann and Jacob Pepper all options for the boss.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Newcastle Jets have won two of their previous three trips to Parramatta Stadium, losing the other.
-WSW have the worst passing accuracy in the Hyundai A-League this season (75.4 percent).
-The Jets have conceded a Hyundai A-League-high three errors leading to goals so far in 2014/15, with Mark Birighitti at fault for two of them.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The Jets struggled at the back against Roar, especially down their right-hand side. All four of Brisbane’s goals came down the Jets’ right-channel, hopelessly exposing Newcastle skipper Kew Jaliens to Henrique’s pace.
Expect the Wanderers to try and exploit that weakness, especially if Jaliens remains at right-back. The Jets’ defence has been a huge concern for Stubbins, yet to keep a clean sheet this season.
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WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
The entire Newcastle Jets side. Woeful, embarrassing, inept….they were just some of the words to describe the Jets’ performance against Brisbane. Coach Phil Stubbins has demanded a response from his troops and will expect a 90-minute display full of grit, determination and spirit. A similar effort will not only see the Jets slump to the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder but increase the pressure on the coach and his mis-firing squad.
The Wanderers are still winless but at least snapped their worst-ever losing streak with the 0-0 draw with the Mariners on Wednesday night. Newcastle are just one point better off than their hosts, having drawn two games in the opening six weeks but last Friday night’s 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brisbane was certainly three steps backwards. If the Jets fail to win on Saturday, it will be the first time in seven years they have failed to win any of their first seven matches to start a season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Former Jets championship winning attacker Mark Bridge has scored four goals in six league appearances against Newcastle.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 Newcastle Jets
Western Sydney Wanderers FC:
1.Ante COVIC (GK), 2.Shannon COLE, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Labinot HALITI, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Tomi JURIC, 10.Vitor SABA, 12.Nikita RUKAVYTSYA, 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Romeo CASTELEN, 18.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 19.Mark BRIDGE (c), 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Seyi ADELEKE, 23. Jason TRIFIRO, 33.Daniel ALESSI, 35. Kearyn BACCUS
***two to be omitted***
Ins 4.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (returns from international duty)
Unavailable 11.Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder – indefinite), 34.Golgol MUBRAHTU (knee – indefinite)
1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3.Taylor REGAN, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 13.Edson MONTANO, 14.Billy CELESKI, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 18.Allan WELSH, 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 23.David CARNEY.
***two to be omitted***
Ins 2.Scott NEVILLE (returns from injury), 11. Andrew HOOLE (returns from international duty), 16. Jacob PEPPER (promoted), 21.Sam GALLAWAY (promoted).
Outs 12.Sam GALLAGHER (omitted), 17. James VIRGILLI (omitted).
Unavailable 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season), 22.Jonny STEELE (leave of absence)