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Western Sydney Wanderers vs Perth Glory A-League Preview and Team News - Wanderers aim to respond following Tony Popovic's departure

Andrew Hendrie 6 Oct 2017
  • Western Sydney Wanderers face Perth Glory on Sunday
  • Glory won their last meeting 2-0 in R21 last season
Wanderers host Glory on Sunday

Western Sydney Wanderers start life without Tony Popovic on Sunday as the former Asian champions square off against Perth Glory at Spotless Stadium.

Both the Wanderers and Glory finished last season towards the bottom of the top six, but while Western Sydney were knocked out in the elimination finals on penalties by Brisbane, Perth managed to overcome Melbourne City 2-0 before bowing out in the semi-finals to eventual premiers Sydney FC.

Pre-season was coming along nicely for the Wanderers - they’d made some great signings and advanced into the FFA Cup semi-finals - but all of a sudden their upcoming A-League campaign was thrown into jeopardy after Tony Popovic departed the club in order to pursue coaching opportunities in Turkey.

Hayden Foxe takes over as interim head coach for the start of the season and it remains to been seen how the Wanderers players will perform on Sunday when you consider that a lot of them signed with the club with the assurance that Popovic would be at the helm.

However, if the Wanderers can get over Popovic moving on, they could be in for a big season, with the club making a number of impressive signings, including Spanish striker Oriol Riera, who was a Barcelona youth player and last played for Deportivo La Coruna and Osasuna in La Liga.

Roly Bonevacia adds some flair and skill to the midfield, while Michael Twaite, Josh Risdon and Raul Llorente tighten up the Wanderers’ defence, with the squad having a nice all-round feel to it heading into the new season.

Meanwhile, Perth still have immense attacking firepower up front, but they don’t seem to have addressed their defensive woes.

Glory banged in a whopping 53 goals last season - but they also conceded the same amount, which was the equal worst in the competition alongside wooden-spooners Newcastle. They’ve also lost Josh Risdon, Rhys Williams and Dino Djulbic, with Scott Neville the most high-profile defender arriving for the new campaign. From the outside looking in, it looks like a couple more defenders are needed in the West.

Despite the seemingly fragile defence, Perth look set to terrorise opposition defences once more, with Andy Keogh, Diego Castro and Adam Taggart all staying on with the club, while they’ve also added Xavi Torres to their midfield, with the Spaniard playing under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona in 2009 and playing a total of 156 games in La Liga over the years.

Overall, it doesn’t look like Perth has the defence (right now) to win the premiership, but will it be enough to see off the Wanderers on Sunday? It all depends on which Western Sydney side shows up. There’s certainly enough talent there to break through Glory’s defences, but what headspace will they be in after Popovic’s departure? It’s hard to tell so early, but I’ll back the Wanderers to start the season with a bang and claim all three points at home.

Stats


  • Perth won their last meeting 2-0 in Round 21 last season
  • Glory haven’t beaten Wanderers in Sydney since 2015
  • Wanderers are undefeated against Glory in five of their last six meetings

Teams


Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 6.Jacob MELLING, 7.Steven LUSTICA, 8.Roly BONEVACIA, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Àlvaro CEJUDO, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 18.Robert CORNTHWAITE (c), 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 24.Raúl LLORENTE, 25.Chris HERD, 30.John HALL (gk), 33.Michael THWAITE

**two to be omitted**

Unavailable: 1.Jerrad TYSON (shoulder - indefinite), 4.Josh RISDON (international duty – 1 week), 21.Marc TOKICH (international duty – 1 week)

Perth Glory squad:  2.Alex GRANT, 3.Marc WARREN, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 8.Xavi TORRES, 9.Andy KEOGH (c), 13 Nick FEELY (GK), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joseph MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Andreu GUERAO, 19.Joe KNOWLES, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23.Scott NEVILLE, 33.Liam REDDY (GK)

**two to be omitted**

Unavailable: 6.Mitch NICHOLS (suspended – 3 weeks), 25.Daniel STYNES (hamstring 9-12 weeks)

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Western Sydney Wanderers vs Perth Glory A-League Preview and Team News - Wanderers aim to respond following Tony Popovic's departure

Western Sydney Wanderers start life without Tony Popovic on Sunday as the former Asian champions square off against Perth Glory at Spotless Stadium.

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