Sydney Derby, Bring it on!

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Who would have dreamt 18 months ago, when the Western Sydney Wanderers were formed by the FFA, that the derby between the newest club in the league and Sydney FC would be able to sell every seat at Allianz Stadium in just its second season?

Well that dream is about to become reality on Saturday night when the clubs lock horns for the first time this season, in front of a capacity crowd at the stadium formerly known as the Sydney Football Stadium.

Both clubs have had interesting starts to their respective seasons, only creating increased hype around the match.

The home side, Sydney FC, won their opening match against the Newcastle Jets 2-0, in fairly convincing fashion and keeping a clean sheet in the process; something of a rare commodity last season for the two-time champions.

Things were looking bright after the opening match for the Sky Blues, with the Cove faithful enjoying what they witnessed on that opening night of the new A-League campaign.

How a week in football can be so long.

Last Saturday night they were humbled at Suncorp Stadium by another dual championship club in the Brisbane Roar, 4-0.

What appeared to be a resolute defence against the Jets in Round one, soon looked like a flimsy gate as they conceded three goals in a seven minute period during the first half to effectively kill of their chances.

To make matters worse for Sydney FC was the fact that they only registered one shot on target in comparison to their opposition who were able to notch up a dozen.

It is a ground they have not won on in over six years, and their performance on Saturday night suggested that that statistic does not look like changing in the near future.

Sydney FC Frank Farina said after the match that that kind of performance was simply not good enough at this level. He went on to say that they appeared lethargic and disinterested in being on the pitch, which in many eyes of both Sydney FC fans and the neutral would be an accurate reflection.

Against a Wanderers side this week, who claimed the Premiers’ Plate last campaign as well as being a grand finalist, this kind of attitude needs to go a complete 180 degrees.

If it doesn’t, they may suffer the same repercussions this Saturday night that they did last, and this would only add further embarrassment to one of the A-League’s inaugural clubs on their home turf.

As for the Wanderers, they have opened their campaign with two 1-1 draws, away to the Central Coast and at home to the Wellington Phoenix.

In their opening match, they looked to new recruit Tom Juric for the equaliser after falling behind earlier on in the encounter at Bluetongue Stadium.

Despite falling behind they did show the spirit that many football fans in the country became use to from the Western Sydney outfit which entails ‘never giving up’ until that final whistle is blown.

On that day, a point was a fair result for both sides.

Yet, the following week at home to the Phoenix was a contrasting performance.

Going ahead through an early Jerome Polenz strike, it looked as though the Wanderers were continuing from where they had left off with their home form from last season.

However, the second half painted a different picture and opened up some of the frailties that the Wanderers do possess.

The Tony Popovic lead side took their foot off the pedal, becoming complacent as if the 1-0 result was going to be enough and the win would be a given formality.

Nevertheless, this complacency from the Wanderers did come back to bite them on the proverbial as Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie finished off a nice move instigated by Paul Ifill down their right flank.

From that point onwards, the Wanderers were fighting for sheer life for the point, let alone for all three.

This is facet of their game that they must get out of their psyche heading into this weekend’s encounter with Sydney FC, despite the Sky Blues insipid performance last week.

Derbies, as many football fans are fully aware, are completely different encounters in comparison to regular league fixtures.

It is about bragging rights in the city.

Both sides change their willingness to win this match more than any other for this aspect of the game alone.

With the last derby locked at 1-1 in what was a heated encounter at Parramatta Stadium last season, both clubs will be looking to break the deadlock before that full time whistle is blown on Saturday night, to ensure that their fans leave Allianz Stadium with joy brimming from within.

The fact that this match is sold out is a credit to both clubs and more importantly both sets of fans who will show their allegiances and will be in full voice no doubt.

It shows how far this game has come in such a short period of time, and can only give confidence that this fixture has so much more promise in the future considering the infancy that it is currently in.

So we are 24 hours away from an epic encounter between two sides, both with a set of passionate fans to boot.

May the banter begin.

May the chanting begin.

Pull on your colours to show what this match means to you.

One set of fans will paint the town in their respective colours after 90 minutes.

Will it be Red and Black?

Will it be Sky Blue?

Bring it on!

Nicholas Anderson

Nick was the lead writer with Robbie Striker and now will continue his work on Football Central covering Sydney FC and continuing to interview players and other people around the game, telling their football stories.

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