With just one win after three matches, Sydney FC head into their match against Perth Glory on the back of two straight losses, and are in desperate need of revitalising their crumbling campaign.
Perth Glory undoubtedly come into this match as favourites seeing as though they are coming off the back of a much-needed 1-0 against Melbourne Heart. The departure of Ljubo Milicevic coupled with a loss and a draw against Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets respectively seemingly saw the club in a dire state.
However, a goal five minutes into the second-half last week by Jamie Maclaren proved to be enough as Perth held on for much-needed victory, placing their season back on track. Added to that, Shane Smeltz’s return from injury may prove to be a timely boost for Western Australian team.
Perth’s latest win leaves them in sixth place, one point and one place ahead of their upcoming opponents.
Similarly, Sydney FC find themselves in the same boat as their arrivals as they too have suffered an indifferent start to the season and this fixture may be crucial for either team’s finals chances.
After a bright start to the new campaign with a 2-0 win over a lacklustre Newcastle outfit, the Sky Blue’s fortunes have turned upside down as they suffered a humiliating 4-0 thrashing at the hands of leagues leaders Brisbane Roar, before losing out in the Sydney Derby in front of a packed Allianz Stadium.
Strikers from La Rocca and Shinji Ono proved enough as Western Sydney cruised to a comfortable win. However, an anterior cruciate ligament injury to Rhyan Grant – which will see him miss the majority of the season – added to the Sky Blue’s woes.
Having said that, Sydney FC may be in for a morale booster. Having been described as a ‘one-man team’, reports suggest that marquee man Alessandro Del Piero may set for an early return after suffering a calf injury which ruled him out of last week’s derby. And despite there being a “60 percent or 70 percent” chance of him playing, the former Juventus striker is set to feature on the bench for the majority of Saturday’s proceedings.
Form Guide: Perth Glory: (D L L D W) Sydney FC: (D L W L L)
Previous encounter: Perth Glory 2-1 Sydney FC (02/03/13)
Played: 24 Perth Glory: 5 Draw 8 Sydney FC 11
Absentee list: Perth Glory: Nil
Sydney FC: Mitchell Mallia (Not Selected), Rhyan Grant (knee – long-term), Peter Triantis (groin – long-term), Terry Antonis (thigh – long-term), Corey Gameiro (knee – 2 weeks), Predrag Bojic (calf – 1 week)
Perth Glory (4-2-3-1): Vukovic; Davies, Pantelidis, Thwaite, Jamieson; Burns, McGarry; Nagai, Edwards, Sciola; Maclaren
Sydney FC (4-3-3): Janjetovic; Ryall, Calvano, Petkovic, Warren; Emerton, Carle, Abbas; Chianese, Garcia, Malia
Eyes On… Sidnei Sciola (Perth) – The Brazilian has been in top form early on in the season. With most of Glory’s attacking opportunities arriving from his flank, his key strengths are dribbling and pace and has brought some Brazilian flare into the line-up. He evidently links very well with the other pacy winger Ryo Nagai and youngster Jamie Maclaren. Expect Sydney FC Right-back Seb Ryall to be bombarded with attack after attack on Saturday.
Tiago (Sydney) – Although he is not a “key” player in the Sydney line-up, his contribution to the side this time around may be a telling tale. Sydney FC have unfortunately lost one of it’s best in that defensive line and it’s crucial that he has a good game if the Sky Blues are to have any chance against a solid Perth side.
It’s a difficult one to predict this one; both teams have had very shaky starts to their respective campaigns and could use this game as a catalyst to fix up their season. Perth Glory have the home crowd to use to their advantage and Shane Smeltz’s return could be an added boost.
Sydney FC have to find a way to come back after the consecutive defeats and try to restore some respect and pride back into the club. If the team can stay compact and not make too many individual errors, Sydney have a chance of salvaging something here. Having said that, Perth also have their problems as they rely too heavily on their left side of the field.So if Sydney can break well on the counter and can subsequently exploit key areas, they may be in for a real chance.
Final Score: Perth Glory to win 2-1
FTSAL Fact Sheet:
Sydney FC: Sydney has had 2 attempts on goal in the last 2 games (180 minutes).
Perth Glory: Young Striker Jamie Maclaren scored his first goal ever for Perth Glory last week, but has the 2nd highest number of shots attempted in the league with 10. Brisbane Roar’s Ivan Franjic 1st with 13 shots attempted.Google+