Aaron Mooy has been influential in the Wanderers' midfield. Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au/Getty Images
It’s remarkable to think that a new club is on the verge of setting the longest winning streak of the season, but that’s exactly what Western Sydney is on the cusp of when it tussles with Newcastle on Saturday night. The Wanderers have lost just one of their last ten, and the winning run has propelled them to 3rd on the table, and well within striking distance of Melbourne Victory in second place.
Coach Tony Popovic received a boost early this week when creative winger Youssouf Hersi re-signed for a further season. After a slow start to the season, he has been particularly influential of late, and produced a star turn in the 4-2 pummeling of Adelaide by netting a brace of goals. The club faces a battle to retain gun Japanese midfielder Shinji Ono, though, with a couple of A-League clubs and Chinese club Shenzen Ruby also after his services.
Newcastle has had a frustrating time of it of late, sharing the points in four of its last five matches. The run has left the Jets vulnerable in fifth place on the table. After a free scoring start to the season, the goals have dried up for Newcastle. They did manage to find the back of the net twice in their 2-2 draw with Sydney FC last weekend, but Frank Farina’s side has by far the worst defensive record in the league. Both goals came from the penalty spot and were converted by Ryan Griffiths.
The Wanderers have six former Newcastle players on their roster, so they’ll be more than familiar with most of their opposition. The Jets collected the premiership points in the teams’ first meeting, recording a 2-1 victory at Parramatta Stadium.
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