Allianz Stadium is a sell out on Saturday night as Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers go head to head in the A-League Sydney derby. When you think of great cities around the world, you are immediately reminded of the football rivalries that they have produced. Manchester United and City. AC and Inter Milan. Liverpool and Everton. Atletico and Real in Madrid. Arsenal and Tottenham in North London. In 2010 the A-League got its first taste of the derby phenomenon with Melbourne Heart joining the competition and going head to head with Victory.
With the addition of Western Sydney Wanderers to the league last year we now have our very own derby here in Sydney. Although in its infancy, the huge crowd heading to Allianz Stadium on Saturday demonstrates the appetite that football fans in this city already have for this rivalry.
No matter what else is happening to your club at any given time, the whole outlook can change on the back of a derby result. With one win for each side follwed by a draw late in the season, the record in the Sydney derby after one season is all square. Significant bragging rights are up for grabs in this clash.
Alessandro Del Piero has surprisingly not yet been officially ruled out after the calf injury he picked up last week against Brisbane Roar, although Sydney FC coach Frank Farina has said that he has only a 50-50 chance of making the bench. Yairo Yau returns from international duty to provide an extra attacking option, and Thiago has also been called into the squad with Pedj Bojic in some doubt due to injury.
After a comfortable win over Newcastle in round one Sydney FC came crashing back to earth with a 4-0 defeat in Brisbane last week. A lot of talk in the media this week has painted the club as already being in crisis. It should be pointed out that the Sky Blues sit in third place going into the weekend – some crisis. What was a concern was how they shipped three goals in quick succession at Suncorp Stadium. Conceding goals in batches was a feature of their horror start to last season.
The Wanderers have no major injury concerns but have added some fresh faces to their matchday squad. Tony Popovic may choose to rotate his side as they look for their first win of the season. Aaron Mooy did suffer a concussion in the match against Wellington Phoenix and will be tested prior to kick off. Shinji Ono is not yet at full fitness and not able to complete 90 minutes, and without him in peak form the Wanderers are certainly missing the creativity required to turn tight games into a win.
Saturday 26th October, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 19:45
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers