The biggest Sydney Derby in years. Plain and simple. | A-League Round 3 Preview
It’s the third derby in three weeks, but this one will be on another level. Western Sydney Wanderers host Sydney FC for the first time in Bankwest Stadium and both teams go into match with perfect records. There hasn’t been a Sydney derby this big in years.
Meanwhile another derby has it’s first ever installation when Western United host a Melbourne City side still hurting after their midweek FFA Cup smashing.
Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne Victory | Suncorp Stadium | Fri 7:30pm
Brisbane host Melbourne Victory for their first home game of the season as both teams search for their first win of the season.
Marco Kurz will be desperate for his team to get at Brisbane’s defence and create chances considering they’re yet to score from open play. Roy O’Donovan may have scored that last minute equaliser for the Roar against Perth in round 1, but the Irish striker is yet to score against Melbourne Victory in his A-League career.
Newcastle Jets vs Adelaide United | McDonald Jones Stadium | Sat 5pm
They’re FFA Cup champions for a record breaking third time and boy did they do it in style. Adelaide were incredibly impressive against Melbourne City midweek but they’re yet to show that kind of form in the A-League.
Gertjan Verbeek’s side were left to rue another poor first half last week and Jamie Maclaren punished them. The likes of Dimi Petratos will be looking to do the same tomorrow.
Petratos’ penalty secured the Jets a hard-earned point from the F3 derby last week but they’ll be pushing for their first win of the season against a potentially fatigued Adelaide.
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Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sydney FC | Bankwest Stadium | Sat 7:30pm
First Sydney derby of the season. First ever in Bankwest Stadium. Both teams with perfect records and top of the table. It doesn’t get much bigger than this.
Sydney FC have dominated this affair in recent years but talk is growing of a shift in power. The Wanderers have looked good in their first two games. Their win against Victory last week was particularly impressive. That combined with what is set to be a pumping sold-out home crowd will have the Wanderers going into the game with plenty of confidence.
On the other side of town, the Sky Blues got a scare from Wellington last week but ultimately prevailed courtesy of a stellar performance from Brandon O’Neill. The midfielder told Macquarie Sports Radio that it was good his side were getting results despite not playing their best but it made him excited to think about what they could do once they were. They’ll certainly need to be at their best tomorrow night.
This derby is particularly big for a number of individual players as well. Alexander Baumjohann took a shot at his former club this week calling Sydney FC the biggest club in the country and said he’s just happy to be at the right club. Meanwhile, Matt Jurman revealed earlier in the week he gave the Sky Blues a chance to re-sign him after his stint in Saudi Arabia but they turned him down and Wanderers snapped him up.
Then of course you have the McGowan brothers facing off against each other for the first time ever. Ryan for Sydney FC and younger brother Dylan for the Wanderers, both vying for family bragging rights.
Put it all together and you’ve got what is set to be one of the biggest games in A-League history.
Wellington Phoenix vs Perth Glory | Westpac Stadium | Sun 4pm
It’ll be an exciting game for Wellington fans as they unleash new marquee striker Garry Hooper. Tony Popovic will be justifiably concerned considering Wellington have actually created more chances (32) than any other club in the opening two rounds. Those chances have only garnered one goal so far but Garry Hooper could be the key to increasing that conversion rate.
Perth’s start to the season hasn’t been great, drawing with Western United last week after Brisbane equalised on them in the last minute of their round one clash. Most are just waiting for the Glory’s frightening front three to click and cause terror but Popovic has warned this will take time. The Phoenix will hope they haven’t quite clicked by Sunday afternoon.
Western United vs Melbourne City | GMHBA Stadium | Sun 6pm
Western United get their first taste of a derby hosting Melbourne City at Kardinia Park. The new side got a strong turnout for their first home game last week but they’ll be hoping the prospect of facing off against a fellow Melbourne club will draw more new fans out of western Melbourne.
It’s been a solid start to existence for Mark Rudan’s men but they’ll have to contain a Melbourne City side looking to make amends for their FFA Cup Final embarrassment. Erick Mombaerts won’t want his side to ponder the events of midweek too much and will send them out looking for an immediate bounce-back.