For the third time in a year the A-League Sydney derby has sold out Allianz Stadium. Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers fans have again shown that this rivalry is gearing up to be the hottest in any code in the city.
Although both sides are looking for a first win of the new season, it is local bragging rights that is of most importance in this fixture, especially for the fans. The immediate success of the Wanderers in the first two years of existence has stoked the flames underneath Sydney FC supporters, during which time they have also had to witness their own club in regular turmoil.
Under new coach Graham Arnold there is greater expectation among Sky Blues fans. The 1-1 draw in the opening round was not a bad result, given the number of attacking players who were unavailable and that Melbourne City’s only goal was scored by a world class striker.
Marc Janko will be available for Sydney FC after he was sent off on international duty for Austria. It is also worth noting that in the same game he was fouled for a penalty and then scored the winner with a trademark powerful header.
Janko may not carry the name of other marquee men to have played for the Sky Blues, but it looks as though he has arrived at a stage of his career where he can provide a big impact. His goal scoring record is impressive, including a 39 goal season with Salzburg helping to secure an Austrian Bundesliga.
The Wanderers looked unusually suspect at the back in round one against Melbourne Victory. This was largely a result of being without their two first choice centre backs, and while Matthew Spiranovic is still injured, Nikolai Topor-Stanley is available after international duty. The absence of Tomi Juric was also felt at the other end of the pitch.
Tony Popovic must keep his side fully focussed on the derby, despite the game coming just seven days before the first leg of the Asian Champions League final. The Wanderers have the edge in the overall head to head in derbies so far, but will need to cut out the type of careless defensive errors that handed them a 3-1 loss the last time the two sides met at Moore Park.
Saturday 18th October, Allianz Stadium Moore Park
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Click here for ticket details