FTS A-League Round 5 Preview: Wellington Phoenix vs Western Sydney Wanderers

Friday night football returns to Wellington for round five as the Phoenix play host to the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Wanderers arrive in Wellington as the newly crowned champions of Asia after their recent triumph in the Asian Champions League. It’s an incredible achievement given the short history of the club and they become the first Australian side to claim the title. However it’s a different story for the Wanderers when it comes to the A-League. The Western Sydney based team sit at the bottom of the table without a win or even a single point. They do however have games in hand over the other sides due to their Asian Champions League commitments.

The two match winning streak of the Phoenix came to an end last week at the hands of table toppers Melbourne Victory. Despite that, the club has still had their best ever start to an A-League season and sit in fifth spot on the ladder after four rounds with two wins and two losses. Coach Ernie Merrick changed the starting line-up for the first time last week in an attempt to control the midfield against the Victory. The experiment didn’t really pay off and you’d expect to see the more traditional starting eleven run back out on Friday night for the Nix.

Head to head:

Played 6. Wellington 2, Western Sydney 2, Draws 2.

Last meeting: New years day, 2014 (Pirtek Stadium). Wanderers 1-3 Wellington.

Wellington Phoenix (Probable):

Moss; Muscat, Durante, Sigmund, Doyle; Bonevacia, Riera, Rodriguez; Burns, Brockie, McGlinchey.

Western Sydney Wanderers (Probabale): 

Covic; Golec, NTS, Spiranovic, Mullen; Poljak, Trifiro; Haliti, Bridge, Castelen; Juric.


Wellington Phoenix: Nil

Western Sydney Wanderers: Gol Gol Mebrahtu (Knee), Brendon Santalab (Shoulder).

Eyes on: 

Nathan Burns.
The attacking minded Burns has been in exceptional form since joining linking up with the Phoenix at the beginning of the season. He was unlucky to miss out on Ange Postecoglou’s newly announced Socceroos squad to take on Japan in a couple of weeks after many had predicted a return to the national side after a three year absence. With the final squad for the Asian Cup not yet decided, look for Burns to continue to his good play and put pressure on Postecoglou for a spot in the team.


Wellington 2-1 Western Sydney

While the Nix picked up a loss last week, it was against the best team in the competition and you’d expect them to bounce back now that they are home. The Wanderers will be flying high after their recent success but despite all that they still remain winless and without a point in the A-League.

FTS fact: 

The six matches between these teams are split evenly with 2 wins, 2 losses and 2 draws each. And at Westpac Stadium the matches are also evenly split with each team picking up a win, a loss and a draw.

About Cam Gordon (77 Articles)
Cam Gordon is a New Zealand based educator with a degree in sports studies. A passionate Wellington Phoenix supporter who still plays competitive football, captaining Parklands United in the Canterbury senior men's grades.
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