Sydney Derby XXXIV awaits

The Sydney Derby is back in all it’s glory and the 34th meeting has so much riding on it.

Both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers sit inside the top six for the first time in almost ten years and both think they are equally deserving of the title of best side in Sydney.

The two times they have met this season, the matches have been filled with drama, intensity and the wins sit at one a piece.

Sydney FC players celebrate with fans at CommBank Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers came to Allianz Stadium in the last match before the FIFA World Cup break and upset the agenda with a second half winner from Kusini Yengi. In the reverse fixture at CommBank Stadium, Sydney FC picked up their first Derby win at the renovated venue with a early Max Burgess rocket.

This time around, with the aggregate scores at 1-1, the region of Sydney is for the taking.

The Sky Blues come into this clash having found form compared to the start of the season. Four wins in seven matches has seen them sit inside the top six after languishing in the depths of the table at the turn of the year. Last week they travelled to Auckland and despite dominating the ball and attempts at goal, couldn’t find a way past Wellington Phoenix and were un-done by an early Oskar Zawada header.

The last meeting at Allianz Stadium was filled with tension

In their last few matches at Allianz Stadium, a venue they struggled to gather points in prior, they made it seven points from a possible nine with a 1-0 victory in the Big Blue. If the Sky Blues claim all three points in this one, they will be well on track to securing finals football once again, sitting one point behind their opponents.

Steve Corica can welcome back Adrian Segecic and Jake Girdwood-Reich for this weekend after their time with the Australian U20’s came to a heart-breaking end, losing out on penalties to hosts Uzbekistan. Adam Le Fondre and Max Burgess are the only other notable exceptions from the squad with many looking at some of their best fitness so far this season.

Lolley in the last derby at CommBank Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers are now on the verge of do or die time. A shock loss to Perth Glory at HBF Park last Friday night has the club on the verge after they played almost 80 minutes with an extra player and couldn’t find a way through the Glory defence. They were stung by a late Perth finish which deflected past Lawrence Thomas and sent the home fans into raptures.

Western Sydney’s away form has been less than ideal, with their last victory away from CommBank Stadium coming back in November in the first Sydney Derby of the season. Since then they have failed to gain all three points against Wellington Phoenix, Western United, Brisbane Roar, Perth twice, Newcastle Jets, Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United.

Their home form has been much more enjoyable for Marko Rudan with the only blemish in their last four being the Sydney FC win in February after they swept aside Macarthur FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

Marko Rudan has almost a full squad to call upon for the Sydney Derby with the only exception being Tomislav Mrcela who was shown a straight red card last week in Western Australia. Wanderers are also keeping quiet the fitness of new signing Morgan Schneiderlin who was substituted off in the first half last Friday night. They also welcome back a number of Australian U20’s including the likes of Alex Badolato, Alex Lopane and Aidan Simmons.

In what will be the Sydney Derby XXXIV, Sydney FC still hold the upper hand overall with 15 wins to the Wanderers nine with the other nine matches drawn. Should the Sky Blues find the net in this fixture it will be their 50th goal against the Wanderers having conceded 33.

Ones to Watch

James Donachie – Sydney FC

James Donachie

The tall centre back has had a revived season having only missed two matches so far, one through injury and another through suspension. He has begun to form a good partnership with captain Alex Wilkinson as the Sydney FC defence appears tighter. They have only conceded five goals in their last five matches, much improved from earlier in the season.

Donachie is one of the most involved Sky Blues on a game day, racking up 99 touches in the most recent Big Blue at home and this season completing 90% of passes attempted. He has also won 20 tackles and is yet to have an error lead to a goal. In the first game of the season, Donachie got on the scoresheet and will be looking to score at home again.

He previously played with Brandon Borrello when they were both at Brisbane Roar together and on Saturday night will have the difficult task of marking the Wanderers number 26. Expect to see Donachie involved in the build up and get plenty of touches on the ball during Sydney Derby XXXIV.

Brandon Borrello – Western Sydney Wanderers

Brandon Borrello

Brandon Borrello has been in some of the best form of his career in recent weeks and this has culminated in a call up to the Socceroos, joining Sydney FC gloveman Andrew Redmayne. The 27 year old has started 20 matches this season and has found the net on eight occasions. Borrello has also added two assists to his name and the former Bundesliga player is dangerous in and around the box, creating 25 chances to his name too.

Following the last Sydney Derby at CommBank Stadium, Borrello was quoted as saying that Sydney FC were “Bang Average” on the night and didn’t deserve the three points, claiming they sat back despite having a man extra. Come Saturday night in the theatre of Allianz Stadium, the Wanderers forward will be wanting to give one back to the Sydney fans and prove a point.

Expect plenty of fireworks when the two sides meet for what could be the final time this season.

Match Details

Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 21
Saturday 18th March 2023
Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW
Kick Off: 7:45pm AEDT
Gates Open: 6:15pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+ & 10Bold
Tickets: Click Here