Sydney FC will look to return to winning ways when they take on Newcastle Jets on Friday night at Allianz Stadium.
After a narrow 4-3 defeat to Adelaide United last weekend, the Sky Blues will come into this matchup two points ahead of the visitors on the table where a win could propel them into 5th place on the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder.
Sydney FC have relished life under Ufuk Talay’s more aggressive attacking strategy, scoring 20 goals across nine matches, the most out of any team in the past nine rounds.
That included seven for newly contracted Joe Lolley as he moved to fifth on the A-League top scorers list after the Englishmen scored two late goals against Adelaide.
But despite the high of Lolley, Ufuk Talay said he was “disappointed” with the team’s performance last week as he raised the issue of the squad being more clinical in front of their opponent’s net.
Ufuk Talay wants more out of his side and Newcastle will be a test for the Sky Blues who will want to continue their dominant home form having not lost at home to the Jets in over four years.
Sydney FC have won 65% of home games against Newcastle, including a 2-0 victory in their last outing thanks to goals from Adam le Fondre and Pat Wood.
It was a game Sydney FC dominated and Newcastle rarely tested Andrew Redmayne.
The Sky Blues injury list has also continued to mount, which has offered more game-time to younger players such as Zac De Jesus and Jordan Courtney-Perkins.
They will be without Jack Rodwell and Joel King following injuries that they picked up against Brisbane Roar, which won’t see them return for a few weeks.
Robert Mak will also be out of the squad after he picked up a low-level groin injury in the same game.
The Jets will continue to be without Lachlan Bayliss, Jason Berthomier and Jacob Dowse following injuries they sustained at the beginning of the season.
In Unite Round, Newcastle suffered a 3-2 loss to Brisbane Roar on Sunday after the Jets conceded two late goals, despite Newcastle’s dominance, which limited any Brisbane attack in the first half.
Ufuk Talay has relayed the need for his men to press high and get a goal in the opening minutes, which has happened in the Sky Blues’ past three fixtures and Rob Stanton seems to have a similar strategy as his side has clocked in four goals in three games in the opening 25 minutes.
At the opposite end, the Jets crumbled in the second half, conceding three and making less than half of the Roar’s attempts on goal, despite even possession.
This second-half weakness is part of a pattern as 15 of their 23 goals conceded this season, have occurred in the second half.
Key Matchup: Andrew Redmayne vs Apostolos Stamatelopoulos
Apostolos Stamatelopoulos has scored eight goals in ten matches for the Jets, becoming their highest goal scorer and the A-Leagues second top goal scorer.
The 24-year-old forward is a tidy finisher, and the Sky Blues continue to look for their first clean sheet of the season.
However, Redmayne has contributed significantly to the Sky Blues goal difference, blocking an average of six shots per game.
After recording a solid performance against Brisbane where he scored a goal, Stamatelopoulos was less than impressive against Western United, where he picked up a red card following a poor challenge while on a yellow card.
Redmayne must be aware of him, especially in the first half, as all but two of his goals have come in the opening 45.
The Sky Blues will need to shut down Stamatelopoulos if they are to come away with a win.
With two exciting sides, this promises to be an entertaining affair at Allianz Stadium.
Sydney FC vs Newcastle Jets
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 13
Friday 19th January 2024
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:45pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here