Top meets bottom as all-conquering Sydney FC have the chance to ice their campaign when they meet the luckless Jets. Could the biggest upset of the season happen in this the final round of the regular season?
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 5:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEST))
Referee: Shaun Evans
Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher
Assistant Referee 2: Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official: Luke Withell
Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEST) and Sky Sport 4 (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 #SYDvNEW
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
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, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Joshua BRILLANTE (return from suspension), 10.Milos NINKOVIC (return from illness), 13.Brandon O’NEILL (return from suspension)
Outs: 28.Nicola KULESKI (return to NPL)
Newcastle Jets squad: 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Aleksandr KOKKO, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Labinot HALITI, 12.Harrison SAWYER, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nicholas COWBURN, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 28.John KOUTROUMBIS, 50.Tomislav ARCABA (gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 9.Aleksandr KOKKO (promoted), 10.Wayne BROWN (returns from suspension), 28.John KOUTROUMBIS (returns from injury)
Outs: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (Achilles – season), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee – season)
You could hardly pick a bigger mismatch.
It’s the runaway Sky Blue juggernaut against a team which has imploded in the last month of the season.
Sydney have lost just once all season and will break the Hyundai A-League’s regular season points record with victory at Allianz.
By contrast, the Jets have lost their last five matches and are winless in their last nine.
They’ve also conceded 17 unanswered goals to equal an unwanted Hyundai A-League record, held by the defunct New Zealand Knights.
To make matters worse for Mark Jones, he’s without his skipper and defensive lynchpin Nigel Boogaard who picked up an eighth booking of the season in last weekend’s F3 derby.
By contrast, Graham Arnold welcomes back three regulars who missed last weekend’s 1-1 draw in Wellington.
Brandon O’Neill and Josh Brillante have served their one-game bans for yellow card accrual and Johnny Warren Medal favourite Milos Ninkovic is over the illness which saw him sit out his first game of the season.
Following the final whistle, Sydney FC will be parade the Premier’s Plate in front of their home fans before quickly shifting their attention to the Finals Series.
For the Jets, it’ll be an off-season of soul searching.
– Sydney FC are undefeated in their last 12 games against Newcastle, including wins in their last seven meetings, and have kept 10 clean sheets in that span.
– In fact, Sydney FC have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five home games against the Jets, scoring seven goals of their own in reply.
– Newcastle are the only team yet to keep a clean sheet while playing away this season, while the Sky Blues’ eight home clean sheets are the most of any team.
– Sydney FC custodian Danny Vukovic boasts a save percentage of 85.4% this campaign, the best of any goalkeeper who has played at least five games.
– Jets attacker (and former Sky Blue) Andrew Hoole has created the most chances of any player so far this season with 61.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Brazilian Bobo continued his rich vein of form last weekend, scoring his 15th goal of the season and an eighth in as many games.
His support cast isn’t too bad, either.
Alex Brosque and Filip Holosko complement their number nine perfectly and with the return of Milos Ninkovic, the Sky Blues will be keen to add to their 53 goals before a week off the park.
For the Jets, it’s a case of anyone will do.
Their last goal from open play was seven weeks ago.
While Andrew Hoole, Andrew Nabbout and Morten Nordstrand are all capable of finding the net, their inability to do so on a consistent basis has been a big hindrance to their season.
Aleksandr Kokko has been left out in the last two games, but may earn a recall as Newcastle search for the elusive goal which would at least give their travelling fans something to cheer about at the end of a wretched ten weeks.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Sydney FC’s sensational summer will see them lift the season’s first piece of silverware in front of their home fans after the game.
It would be a brave man who would bet against the Sky Blues adding the Hyundai A-League Championship in three weeks’ time.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Sydney FC: WWWWD
Newcastle Jets: LLLLL
Sydney FC 3 Newcastle Jets 0