Tony Popovic‘s Western Sydney Wanderers host Scott Miller‘s Newcastle Jets on Thursday, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve at Parramatta Stadium in Parramatta, Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Wanderers currently sit atop the ladder with a record of 7-2-2 (23 points), while Newcastle are seventh with a record of 3-4-4 (13 points). Western Sydney drew 2-2 with Perth Glory on the road, while Newcastle were held to a scoreless draw at home to Adelaide United.
John Greco wrote about the Western Sydney Wanderers’ unbeaten run and how it compared to a similar run back in 2013.
Perhaps the biggest difference comes in the squad Popovic has assembled this time and the style the Wanderers are playing now. Back in the club’s maiden season, their success was built on a bedrock of solid defence and counter-attacking football. Often they would lose the possession stats but win games by punishing sides and maintaining incredible defensive discipline.
Central defenders Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp, with hard-working and relentless midfielders Mateo Poljak and Iacopo La Rocca just in front, provided a brick wall opposition teams found hard to penetrate. Topor-Stanley is the only one of that quartet that remains, replaced by a Spanish triumvirate which has helped change the way the Wanderers play.
Defender Alberto Aguilar and midfield duo Andreu and Dimas Delgado have brought a real flair to the Wanderers play and it’s help contribute to some sublime football this season. Croatian Dino Kresinger led the attack two years ago and while his goal-return was minimal, he worked ever-so-hard for the cause.
Federico Piovaccari is the main striker this season and while he took a while to settle, the goals are starting to flow for the Italian. The Wanderers seem to have more goal threats this season as well, with Mark Bridge, Mitch Nichols, Romeo Castelen and Dario Vidosic all in strong form.
Kickoff is schedule for midnight PT/3 a.m. ET/7 p.m. AEDT. Here’s what we boldly predict will happen between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets. Rudolph, send help.
- At least four goals will be scored.
- Newcastle Jets will not score in this game.
- Andrew Redmayne will make under five saves.
- Mark Birighetti will make at least four saves.
- Mark Bridge will score for Western Sydney.
- Federico Piovaccari will score for Western Sydney.
- Romeo Castelen will score for Western Sydney.
- Mitch Nichols will score for Western Sydney.
- At least 40 fouls will be whistled.
- At least five cards will be issued.
Chalk this up as a rock-solid win for the Western Sydney Wanderers, whose home cooking has put them in solid form this December. Newcastle will have it tough getting a result in one of the toughest environments in the competition.
Western Sydney Wanderers 4, Newcastle Jets 0