Sydney FC travel West as the newly-crowned Premiers while Perth Glory continue their quest to host an Elimination Final in this top-six blockbuster.
Sunday, 26 March 2017
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 4:00PM (Local) (7:00PM AEDT)
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Josh Mannella
Assistant Referee 2: Matthew Southern
Fourth Official: Adam Fielding
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Grandstand Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #PERvSYD
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Perth Glory squad: 3.Marc WARREN, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (c), 9.Andy KEOGH, 10.Nebo MARINKOVIC, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 26.Lucian GOIAN, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 15.Brandon WILSON (promoted), 16.Joe MILLS (promoted), 26.Lucian GOIAN (new signing)
Outs: 5.Rhys WILLLIAMS (international duty)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – season), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – season), 18.Mitch OXBORROW (foot – 1 week)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12.Aaron CALVER, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 19.George BLACKWOOD, 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 24. Charles LOKOLINGOY, 40.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 19.George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 24.Charles LOKOLINGOY (promoted), 40.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk) (promoted)
Outs: 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk) (international duty), 23.Rhyan GRANT (international duty)
Unavailable: 22.Seb RYALL (hamstring – 2 weeks)
Sydney FC may have wrapped up the Premiership but won’t have it all their own way against a powerful Glory outfit still hurting after a mauling against Victory last time out.
Graham Arnold’s Sky Blues have built their success this season on stability but that will be tested this week with keeper Danny Vukovic and marauding fullback Rhyan Grant away on Caltex Socceroos duty.
Former Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne will deputise between the posts while youngster Aaron Calver is likely to shift into the right-back position.
The Sky Blues have enjoyed a fortnight off since defeating Central Coast Mariners in the split round but Arnold insisted he would “hurt’ his players to ensure they remained sharp heading into the final four rounds.
Following last month’s first loss of the campaign, Sydney have won three straight and appear to be hitting top gear as the right end of the season.
Meanwhile, the Glory also enjoyed the weekend off and will be keen to rebound following a disappointing 4-1 last-start loss to Melbourne Victory in Round 23.
While Kenny Lowe’s side have booked a finals spot, they remain locked in a three-way battle with City and Roar for a top four spot and an all-important home final.
With third-placed City (36 points) and fourth-placed Roar (34 points) facing tough clashes against Wanderers and Victory respectively, Glory (33 points) could well jump into the top four with a win against Sydney.
But judging on their previous clashes this season, it doesn’t bode well for Glory.
Sydney FC thumped Glory 4-1 at Allianz Stadium in Round 6 before dismantling Perth by the same score-line at nib Stadium in December.
And the home side wlll be without key defender Rhys Williams, on international duty with the Caltex Socceroos.
*Sydney FC have won each of their last three games against the Glory, scoring exactly four goals in each of those wins.
*Perth Glory are undefeated in their last five games at home (W4, D1), with their last home loss coming in Round 11 this season against Sydney FC.
*Sydney FC are the only team in the competition to have won more games away than at home; their nine road wins are four more than any other team this season (Victory, 5).
ROUTE TO GOAL
While Sydney have fired eight past Glory in their two meetings this season, Glory have since turned their fortunes around and have been free-scoring at home throughout the entire campaign.
In fact, Glory have netted a whopping 23 goals in 11 games at home this season, with only Melbourne Victory (33) registering more goals on their home patch.
While there’s no doubting Glory’s attacking credentials, it’s at the other end of the field where the problems have existed.
Having scored and conceded exactly 44 goals in 23 matches.
Adam Taggart (11 goals) and Andy Keogh (10 goals) will be prominent up front for Perth but it’s Spaniard Diego Castro who holds the key for the WA outfit.
The reigning Johnny Warren medalist has been in sizzling touch over the past six weeks with his dribbling, touch and eye for goal causing havoc for opposition defenders.
For Sydney, Serbian playmaker Milos Ninkovic has pulled the strings all season and will again be crucial for the visitors in attack.
Bobo (11 goals), Alex Brosque (9 goals) and Filip Holosko (7 goals) continue to share the goal-scoring burden up front and provide the Sky Blues with a well-balanced attack.
The two marquee imports come into the clash in fine touch with the duo combining beautifully for Sydney’s winners against Victory and Mariners over the past fortnight.
And with the likes of David Carney, Bernie Ibini and Matt Simon waiting in the wings, there’s no shortage of ammunition for Graham Arnold in the front third.
Sydney lose some impetus down the flank with the absence of Socceroo Rhyan Grant but will back the class of Ninkovic, Brosque and co to unlock a leaky Glory defence.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Lucian Goian. The Romanian defender has signed a short-term player contract with Perth Glory for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season.
Perth Glory: WDWDL
Sydney FC: WLWWW
Perth Glory 2-3 Sydney FC