The Sydney derby comes to the Wanderers’ new home, the Bankwest Stadium, for the first time in what is shaping up as the match of Round 3 in the A-League this weekend.
Melbourne fans can also look forward to the first Melbourne derby featuring the new A-League club Western United as it hosts Melbourne City. Central Coast Mariners have the bye this round, which kicked off on Friday evening at Suncorp Stadium where coach, Robbie Fowler’s Roar, hosted a Melbourne Victory team eager for its first win of the season.
Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United, 5pm Sat 26 Oct, McDonald Jones Stadium
The Jets kicked off its season in last week’s F 3 derby with a 1-1 draw away to the Mariners thanks to a Dimi Petratos penalty. This week it hosts the FFA Cup Final winners Adelaide United with both teams looking to score their first league win of the season. Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski returns from injury whilst the Reds coach Gertjan Verbeek has named a virtually unchanged squad which won the cup in midweek. The exception is new signing James Troisi who comes into the squad. The Reds should take a lot of confidence going into this game, and their fans will be hoping that this will counter any fatigue from the midweek final triumph.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC, 7.30pm, Sat 26 Oct, Bankwest Stadium
This top of the table derby pits the two teams with two wins apiece in the opening two rounds of the season. The Wanderers will take a lot of confidence from their win away to Melbourne Victory last round. Former Bundesliga Golden Boot winner, striker Alex Meier opened his A-League account in that match with an impressive lob from distance. Another new German signing, winger Nicolai Muller could make his debut against Sydney FC. Former Wanderer’s midfielder Alex Baumjohann, who swapped the red and black of the Wanderers for the Sky Blue of Sydney FC in the preseason, could be in for a torrid reception from his former club’s supporters.
Prediction: Wanderers for a narrow win
Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory, 4pm, Sunday 27 Oct, Westpac Stadium
Ufuk Talay’s Phoenix showed in last week’s narrow loss to reigning champions Sydney FC, that they can trouble the top teams. Mexican signing Davila scored his first goal of the new season and this week could see the debut for Phoenix of ex Premier League striker Gary Hooper. Their opponents on Sunday, Perth Glory, started well against Western United but came under a lot of pressure in the second half and had to rely on young sub Kristian Popovic to score and secure a point. Glory will be hoping Bruno Fornaroli can open his account this week.
Prediction: Glory’s experience to get it over the line.
Western United v Melbourne City 6pm, Sunday 27 Oct GMHBA Stadium
United hosts their first ever Melbourne derby against a City side smarting from its heavy midweek loss in the FFA Cup final. City striker Maclaren was kept quiet by the Reds defence in the midweek final and United coach Mark Rudan will be keen for his defenders to cut off supply to him. City’s midfield brigade Josh Brilliante, Adrian Luna and Connor Metcalfe were outpointed by their opponents in the cup final and coach Eric Mombaerts will be expecting more from them. Coach Rudan has started with a 3-4-2-1 formation in both matches this season and his team is blessed with a number of players who can threaten to score from outside the box as demonstrated last week by Panagiote Kone.
Prediction: Western United 2-0