Preview: Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets


Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets will meet in Round 8 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, November 30 at 7.45pm AEDT.

Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets will meet in Round 8 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, November 30 at 7.45pm AEDT.

Played: 27 – Wins: Sydney 14, Newcastle 6, Draws: 7

Previous encounter:
Sydney FC 2-0 Newcastle, October 11, 2013

Past five matches (including pre-season):
Sydney: WWWLL

The Game:
This clash brings together the A-League’s two form sides with both enjoying three-game winning streaks. Sydney left it late to beat Wellington last weekend, with new-boy Ranko Despotovic’s 94th-minute tap-in handing the Sky Blues a 2-1 win. Coach Frank Farina will be forced into at least one change with defender Pedj Bojic suspended following his red card against the Phoenix. Matthew Jurman is likely to come into the starting side in central defence, pushing Sebastian Ryall to right back. Newcastle’s unbeaten run has stretched to six games following their 3-1 win over the Melbourne Heart last Sunday, with young Socceroos striker Adam Taggart contributing a sublime hat-trick. Jets coach Gary van Egmond hinted following the clash with the Heart that marquee man Emile Heskey is now ready to play from the start, with Andrew Hoole likely to drop out if that’s the case. The Jets have a poor record against Sydney with just six wins from 27 clashes and their only loss this season was against the Sky Blues in round one.

The big issue:
Sydney – Discipline. While the Sky Blues have found some form over the last few weeks, two of the three straight wins have come with 10-men. Defenders Marc Warren and Bojic have seen red in the club’s last two home games while Brazilian centre-back Tiago Calvano is set for a lengthy ban following his man-handling of referee Peter Green against the Melbourne Victory in round five. While Farina can’t question his side’s passion and commitment, they may need to tone things done if they are to keep their good run going.

Newcastle – Stick with a successful formula or tempt fate and change winning team? That’s the question Jets boss Gary van Egmond needs to answer heading into this game. The Jets mentor is keen to get Heskey into his starting XI but his side have shown they can get results without the Englishman who has come off the bench the last few weeks. There’s no doubt Heskey is an important part of the Newcastle structure but it would be tough on any of the current starting side to lose their spot after such a dominant run in recent weeks.

The game breaker:
Adam Taggart – Can it be anyone else than the Jets’ in-form striker? Taggart has scored the Jets’ last six goals – including the season’s first hat-trick last weekend – playing a leading role in the club’s three-game winning streak. And his goals have been anything but simple tap-ins, with a number of the 20-year-old Socceroos attacker’s strikes coming from outside the area. Off-contract at the end of the season, the Jets should act fast to re-sign Taggart with a number of clubs from both the A-League and abroad sure to be taking note of his rich vein of form.