Sunday, 2 March 2014
Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Kick-off: 5:00pm local (5:00pm AEDT)
Referee: Chris Beath
The Wanderers returned with all three points from their long road trip, away to Perth. A rare goal for Wanderers midfielder, Poljak in the opening 15 minutes set the visitors on their way. Second half substitute Juric put the game beyond doubt in the 70th minute, with his sixth goal of the season.
Newcastle conceded two second half goals to Sydney FC, at home. The loss leaves them four points, outside the top six. The Jets have continued their recent run of poor form, with the only bright spark being their win, against the Roar.
Western Sydney will be looking to bounce back from their mid-week loss in their inaugural Asia Champions League game, against Ulsan Hyundai. With the schedule intensifying for the Wanderers over the upcoming weeks, this game should see Popovic rotate his players, to avoid burnout. Popovic played his strongest possible side mid-week, with the exception of injured forward, Juric.
The Jets’ only hope of victory will come through their leading goal scorer, Taggart (9 goals), with Nathan Burns the only other player who has scored more than a goal for the season. The Jets will welcome back their Dutch defender, Kew Jaliens from suspension.
Kwabena Appiah played his best game for the Wanderers to date. He was dynamic down the right flank, causing plenty of headaches and supplying several key passes. He has developed his game over the past few weeks and in the game against Perth did a good job to find his teammates.
He should be a key contender for a starting role this week, another good performance could even see him get extended game time.
However it is extremely hard to predict what Popovic will do, his starting line-up is anyone’s guess.
Newcastle must win or risk missing finals football, a loss would put them two wins outside the top six, with six games to play. The Wanderers on the other hand need a win to keep them within touching distance of the Premiership.
This match will come down to which team wants it more, if the squad player’s deliver for the Wanderers, they should take all three points, at home.