It’s another matchday for Sydney FC as they lock horns with Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium this Saturday.
Sydney FC put on one of their best performances of the season when they travelled up to Newcastle on New Year’s Day and kept their first clean sheet of the season with a 2-0 victory.
Goals to Adam Le Fondre and Robert Mak were enough to overthrow the Novocastrians but what was most pleasing for Sky Blue supporters was the defensive solidity along with the return of Jack Rodwell to the starting eleven.
Their aim will be to replicate this form at home, something that they have struggled to do this season having had an injury plagued squad. Saturday provides the perfect spring board to turn those fortunes around at Allianz Stadium.
Wellington Phoenix with former Sydney FC player Ufuk Talay at the helm feature Kosta Barbarouses in their ranks, departing the Sky Blues just last year, and they will be looking to bounce back following a 3-1 loss to Melbourne City in New Zealand where many believed they deserved something out of the contest.
Wellington have enjoyed a mix of form at the beginning of the season, adapting to long distance travel for away games once more, with the yellow and black based in New Zealand again. They have only won two matches, courtesy of Adelaide United and Macarthur, both at home, lost three, drawing the other five leaving them sitting in 9th position, two points from the top six.
The Phoenix are the only other team to take points off leaders Melbourne City, with Sydney FC the only ones to beat the Victorians so far. For the New Zealand outfit, of concern to them is the rate that they are conceding, currently boasting a goal difference of 0, having scored and conceded 18 goals, the tied 2nd worst in the league. For Ufuk Talay, he will be hoping his side can remain defensively solid in NSW.
In the previous meetings between these two sides, Sydney FC hold the ascendancy having one won of the clashes last season, and drawing the other, however both of which were played in NSW due to the COVID restrictions at the time.
This Saturday, as two former Sydney FC players do battle in the dug-out, the contest on the pitch will be even more tantalising. All eyes will be on Allianz Stadium from 5pm as the Sky Blues host their only home game of January!
Ones to Watch
Jack Rodwell – Sydney FC
After an impressive debut against Melbourne City, Jack Rodwell has been hampered by injury. With those problems now behind him, he was instrumental on Sunday afternoon in Newcastle. Praised by manager Steve Corica, Rodwell showed all of his Premier League experience in sapping conditions, positioning himself brilliantly, and involving himself in build-up play too.
Expect another huge performance from Rodwell as he looks to build a strong partnership with James Donachie at the back, as they attempt to hamper the striking efforts of Wellington’s international imports. A leader on the park, he will be one to watch this Saturday.
Kosta Barbarouses – Wellington Phoenix
Kosta Barbarouses called Sydney FC home only last season and after three season in Sky Blue, migrated back to his home country signing a deal with the Wellington Phoenix and since his arrival has regained his tag as a fan favourite. Originally coming through the ranks as a junior, Barbarouses made his Phoenix debut in 2007 and has had over 250 Isuzu UTE A-League appearances since, moving between Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. Now back at the Phoenix, the winger has made 10 appearances this season, scoring one goal, coming in the 2-2 draw with Melbourne City.
A constant threat down the wing, Kosta Barbarouses isn’t going to be taking it easy against his former club as he looks to get on the scoresheet for the second time this campaign.
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Isuzu UTE A-League RND 11
Saturday 7th January 2022
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick Off: 5pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here