For the very first time, the Isuzu UTE A-League will head to Hobart when Sydney FC take on Western United this weekend.
It will be the second time this season that Sydney FC have travelled to face Western United having already made the away trip to take on the Green and Black in the 2nd week of the season. In the previous match in October, two stunning goals from Robert Mak and Joe Lolley led the Sky Blues to a 3-1 victory at AAMI Park.
Sydney will be looking to make it two wins in January after sharing the spoils with Perth Glory last Saturday night when they head south for the first ever competitive match in Hobart. The Sky Blues have however played at North Hobart Oval in the past when they took on Melbourne Victory in a pre-season friendly where Max Burgess made his first team debut some eight and a half years ago. Marc Janko got on the scoresheet that day and Steve Corica will be hoping that his forwards can find the net this weekend.
Last weekend, Sydney FC made the long journey to visit Perth Glory and after a dominant 45 minutes up 2-0, were pegged back to 2-2 with the latest goal in Isuzu UTE A-League history which found the net in the 12th minute of stoppage time. Concentration will be the key for the away side this weekend as they look to win outside of NSW for the second time in their last six matches.
Western United in contrast have a very good record while playing out of the mainland of Australia and boast three wins from their last three games in the state. In that process they scored ten goals and conceded none, demonstrating their capabilities in Tasmania. John Aloisi’s men have found the going tough this year however, sitting one off the foot of the table, with twelve points from twelve games. Last weekend, they played against Newcastle Jets in Ballarat but they couldn’t see a way past the Novocastrians, sharing the points after a 1-1 draw.
For Western, in their championship winning season, defensive resoluteness was their prowess with Jamie Young pulling off a number of key saves in many matches, however they have struggled to maintain that solidarity, conceding the most amount of goals in the competition with 24. Sydney FC in contrast have also struggled defensively which highlights that this match could be very open with goals aplenty.
The Victorians have not travelled well in recent times, only winning one of their last six Isuzu UTE A-League matches played outside of their home state, drawing one and losing four of the others.
Head to head, Sydney FC hold the ascendency, winning five of the eight clashes, drawing one and losing the others. Adam Le Fondre is the highest scorer in this fixture, finding the net five times with his last against the Green and Black coming in the Round Two match at AAMI Park this season as he fired it past Jamie Young from the penalty spot.
This Saturday afternoon, the three points is vital for both sides as they look to maintain touch with the top teams so we expect that it should be filled with action.
One to Watch
Joe Lolley – Sydney FC
After missing two matches in January due to suspension, Joe Lolley was back in the starting line-up for the trip to Perth Glory and found the net with less than six minutes on the clock after he found space in the midfield and drove home the opener. The Englishman has been enjoying his time down under after moving from Nottingham Forest, finding the net four times in ten matches.
Lolley leads the league with shots at goal per game and sets the record of 4.7 for any player since the 2012/13 Isuzu UTE A-League season. He will create space and he will find an effort at goal and is sure to be one of the front runners to find the net on Saturday afternoon in Hobart,especially after his brilliant finish in the AAMI Park fixture earlier this season.
Aleksander Prijovic – Western United
The Serbian forward from Western United is back and he is beginning to find form for the struggling reigning champions. So far this season he has found the net three times, boasting an expected goals tally of 1.96, demonstrating his potency in and around the box. Deadly in the air, the Serbian was pivotal to Western’s amazing run last season, also scoring in the A-League showpiece when his side lifted the trophy back in May 2022.
Standing at 191cm, the 32 year old joined Western United from Al Ittihad last season after spending two years prior in Greece with PAOK Thessaloniki. Being no stranger to football, he will be looking to lead his team out of this slump and see them rise from the bottom half of the table.
Western United v Sydney FC
Isuzu UTE A-League Round 13
Saturday 21st January 2022
North Hobart Oval, Hobart, TAS
Kick Off: 5pm AEDT
Broadcast Live: Paramount+
Tickets: Click Here