Western United will return home in the Isuzu UTE A-League Men with a clash against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 8
Western United vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, 18 December
Kick-off: 3pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+ and on 10Bold
John Aloisi will be able to welcome back three key players for the meeting with Western Sydney this weekend.
Ben Garuccio, Alessandro Diamanti and Tomoki Imai are all back in contention for selection, the latter in line for his first appearance since Round 1.
Leo Lacroix and Josh Risdon will miss the fixture through suspension, while Tongo Doumbia will hope to increase his workload after returning from injury last week.
Western United squad: 1. Jamie YOUNG (gk), 5. Dylan PIERIAS, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Tongo DOUMBIA, 8. Lachlan WALES, 9. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 11. Connor PAIN, 14. James TROISI, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 23. Alessandro DIAMANTI (c), 26. Nicolas MILANOVIC, 27. Jacob TRATT, 33. Ben COLLINS, 37. Ryan SCOTT (gk), 38. Noah BOTIC, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 44. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 88. Neil KILKENNY, 99. Aleksandar PRIJOVIC
Last time out
United returned to Isuzu UTE A-League action last weekend and fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat away from home against Perth Glory.
Neil Kilkenny’s first Western United goal wasn’t enough to take anything away from the match as Noah Botic struck the woodwork in injury time.
Western United has the better of the overall head-to-head record with four wins to Western Sydney’s two, going along with one draw in the seven total meetings between the two sides.
The Green and Black scored two wins over the Wanderers last year and will be out to make it three in a row on Sunday.
Key Matchup: Neil Kilkenny vs Calem Nieuwenhof
Kilkenny has been a consistent performer for Western United this season and on the back of opening his goalscoring account for the Club, his performance will be vital this weekend.
The game could be won and lost in midfield on Sunday with United coming up against one of the league’s form midfielders in Calem Nieuwenhof.
After crossing sides from Sydney FC, Nieuwenhof has impressed for the Wanderers but will meet a stern test in the form of Kilkenny, who will be out to lead his side to an important result.
Player to Watch: Aleksandar Prijovic
After completing 90 minutes last weekend, Aleksandar Prijovic will continue to increase his fitness and sharpness, adding an imposing threat to United’s attack.
The Serbian star was ruthless against Western Sydney, having a hand in all four goals scored across the two matches with two goals and two assists.
After opening his account for the season against Wellington Phoenix before the FIFA World Cup break, Prijovic will be eager to find the net again and could help propel United to victory.
Words from John Aloisi
On returning home for the first time in over a month
“It’s great to be back home playing because we’ve had two big away trips in our last two games. Great result in Wellington, disappointed not to get the result in Perth.”
On the challenges that Western Sydney pose
“We need to work hard as a group, be organised defensively and do, really, what we’ve been doing attacking wise. We’ve been creating a lot of chances, scoring goals, we just need to make sure that little mistakes we’re making, we don’t get punished with.
“The Wanderers have got very good individual players, they’ve signed really well this year and it’s going to be a tough game.”