After talks of an impending points deduction against Western Sydney simmered down midweek, the Wanderers return home this weekend to face a Wellington Phoenix side in desperate need of a win.
It was billed to be a battle of the league’s two best-supported clubs. But while the quality of football and fanfare lived up to the hype, the fixture itself will forever be remembered for the flares. Indeed, it took Wanderers fans just 10 minutes to impose their pyrotechnic will. But as the Fox Sports coverage did their best to hyperbolise the away side’s stupidity, the Victory fans’ flare-featured goal celebration fell on deaf ears.
In truth, flares are a blemish to the modern game and a cancer to the growth of football in Australia. The flares at the weekend led the FFA to fine the Wanderers $50,000 and a suspended 3 point sentence. But as for the other flare-guilty clubs: nothing. Consistency? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Nevertheless, the Western Sydney Wanderers enter Round 19 joint-top of the league with Brisbane Roar and ahead on goal difference. Their opponents at the weekend however are in all sorts of trouble. Winless since the 5th of December last year, Ernie Merrick’s men sit second from bottom in the league standings. And should the league’s lone New Zealand representative push for a finals berth, they have an 11 point deficit to erase. Fortunately for the Nix, Albert Riera returns to the lineup this weekend after serving suspension last week.
The Wanderers meanwhile will be without Spanish trio Andreu, Dimas and Alberto. While Andreu suffered a hamstring injury in last weekend’s 1-1 draw with the Victory, his two teammates will face one and two match suspensions respectively. This Spanish absence means that Jonathan Aspropotamitis, Matt Sim and Gol Gol Mebrahtu will all slide into the lineup.
This weekend at Wanderland is all about moving forward and with Brisbane breathing down the neck of Popovic and co., the next three points are crucial. Wellington have never been an easy fixture and will no doubt be aiming for that elusive win. It’s sure to be a highly entertaining afternoon of football. One that surely ends in all three points for the Wanderers.Google+