Western United makes its return to Ballarat for the first time since May 2021 when it takes on Newcastle Jets on Saturday in search of a fourth straight Isuzu UTE A-League Men win.
Western United vs Newcastle Jets
Saturday, 5 March
Kick-off: 3:05pm AEDT
Mars Stadium, Ballarat
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+
Western United: WDWWW
Newcastle Jets: LWLWD
Western United currently boasts the best form in the entire league with three straight wins, four victories in the last five matches and a total of seven matches without defeat.
John Aloisi’s side has turned an excellent start to the season to an excellent season in general, sitting joint-top of the league with two games in hand on Melbourne City.
Aleksandar Prijovic has been in particularly outstanding form, with four goals and four assists across the last six games.
Newcastle have entertained A-League Men audiences this season with the propensity to both score and concede a large amount of goals.
Arthur Papas’ men currently have the fourth best attack in the league and the second worst defence, though they are still very much in the hunt to play finals.
Three wins in the last six matches have created some slight separation between Newcastle and the bottom, and the Jets will be looking to continue to rise further up the table.
There is something of a symmetry between the previous meetings between Western United and Newcastle Jets, with both sides enjoying dominant periods over each other.
United fail to do so much as score a goal in the first three meetings with the Jets, losing 1-0 twice and drawing the other 0-0.
But the Green and Black flipped that record on its head in season two, keeping Newcastle scoreless in two straight victories. United followed that up with a win in Aloisi’s first ever competitive match at the Club, defeating the Jets 2-1 in an FFA Cup Play Off match in November.
Western United is still likely to be without both Connor Pain and Alessandro Diamanti for the Jets clash, but Aloisi said he is hopeful both will return for the trip to Sydney FC next weekend.
Tomoki Imai could make his 50th appearance in the A-League Men if he is selected to play, while Jamie Young is in line to play in goal after the birth of his daughter during the week.
What John Aloisi is saying
On the mentality of the team to focus on one game at a time
“I know it sounds like a cliché that you take it one game at a time, but you have to really only focus on your next game because if you look too far ahead, it starts to get away from you what your main focus really is, which is first of all your training, preparation, processes that go into preaparing for a game, and then the game itself.
“We’re not looking at it too much, we know there’s plenty of football to be played. We’re happy with the way its going of course; we’re happy with the position we’re in, but we know that we want to keep on building, keep improving and keep on picking up results.”
On bringing his side to Ballarat for the first time
“I’m looking forward to going to Ballarat; the first time for me to coach the team down there. I’m looking forward to the football community getting behind us in Ballarat, and I’m sure there’ll be quite a few people at the stadium supporting us.
“The boys and the whole club is looking forward to playing in Ballarat. We’ve got a couple of games there, so hopefully we can put in a good performance and get the result that everyone wants.”