After a week-long stay in Sydney, Western United will close its trip across the border with a big Isuzu UTE A-League Men clash against Western Sydney Wanderers, looking to consolidate top spot on the table.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Western United
Saturday, February 5
Kick-off: 5:05pm AEDT
CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Western Sydney Wanderers: LLDLW
Western United: WLLWD
Western United was pegged back late on its last match against Macarthur FC, with two late goals limiting the Green and Black to a 2-2 draw against the Bulls.
That was United’s first draw of the season after five wins and three losses through the previous eight matches. John Aloisi’s side has achieved each of its wins by a score line of 1-0, the last two of which have come against Melbourne City and Adelaide United.
The Wanderers have had a disappointing start to the campaign with just two wins through eight games thus far. A 3-0 defeat against Brisbane Roar last Saturday spelled the end of Carl Robinson’s tenure as head coach.
New coach Mark Rudan made a positive early impact with a 1-0 home win over Perth Glory on Wednesday night, and his side will be out to continue moving up the table.
The head-to-head record between the two sides is perfectly balanced, with two wins each and a draw over the five meetings so far.
Western United won the first meeting in November 2019 before a 1-1 draw later that season, but it was the third clash in the 2019/20 season.
United shot to a 3-0 lead just after half-time before a 13-minute spell brought Western Sydney level. But United would have the last say on that night with two more goals late on to win 5-3. Alessandro Diamanti scored two goals on the night, undoubtedly two of his best in Green and Black.
Western Sydney bounced back from that to win the next two fixtures, including a 5-0 win in the last meeting which will leave United seeking revenge.
After shuffling the pack for the Macarthur match, Aloisi is expected to make changes again and bring back most of the regular names to the starting XI.
Diamanti should return to the lineup in midfield, while the likes of Aleksandar Prijovic, Josh Risdon and Neil Kilkenny will all be in contention to start.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls impressed against Macarthur and will be hopeful of retaining a place, and Rene Krhin will also look to make his first appearance on a matchday team sheet.
What John Aloisi is saying
On how staying in Sydney has helped preparations
“It definitely has helped, also getting an extra day to recover from the game and not having to travel.
“It was a tough way to back up three days later (after Melbourne City game), then playing in humidity, it took a lot out of the boys. It’s great we could stay here, especially at Coogee.”
On what he will expect from Western Sydney under a new coach
“A little bit different to what we saw earlier in the season. I went to the game the other night, so we got to see a little bit what they might do against us.
Whenever a new coach comes in, there’s a bit of a lift from the playing group. They had that against Perth and we’re expecting the same. It won’t change too much from the Perth game.”