Setting the scene:
The Phoenix have been showing promise in the last two matches; a 2-1 away win over the Brisbane Roar and exciting 3-3 draw with the Perth Glory.
It wasn't so easy before that, however, with 3-1 losses to both Sydney clubs and a 5-1 trouncing at home to Melbourne City.
In the Phoenix’s favour, the match will be played at Spotless Stadium, a ground where the Wanderers are still yet to win this season.
The match will be played on Sunday 19 March, 9 pm NZDT kick off - televised on Sky Sport 3.
Classic encounter: Western Sydney Wanderers 2-5 Wellington Phoenix, 14 February 2016
Come on, is there any competition for the classic encounter here?
With Western Sydney at the top of the table, the Phoenix in ninth, winless in their last nine, and having lost their last four, who could have predicted the Phoenix were going to run over the Wanderers like this? Blake Powell, that’s who.
The Phoenix opened the scoring four minutes into the match when Tom Doyle charged down the left side of the pitch before lifting a cross to Powell, who put it away with a diving header.
The next goal was scored sixteen minutes later in similar fashion, with another Doyle cross this time finding Hamish Watson, who headed it to Powell, who shot from the edge of the box into the top left corner.
The hat trick was completed in the 33rd minute when Ridenton whacked the ball downfield, where Powell was lurking, and he got away from his marker, to chip the ball over Andrew Redmayne for an amazing finish.
Powell wasn’t finished yet though, as in the 70th minute, Michael McGlinchey sent a cross from the lefthand side to find another Powell header, which ended up in the back of the net.
The Wanderers were given some hope when a Mitch Nichols long shot and Joshua Sotorio’s dispossession of Louis Fenton saw him pass to Mark Bridge who put it in the back of the net to give the Wanderers two on the scoreboard.
But any hope of a comeback was put to rest when in the last minute Kwabena Appiah was fouled in the box, giving the Nix a penalty and Jonathan Asprotamitis a red card. Michael McGlinchey put the penalty away for the final goal of a crazy game.
The Wanderers recent form:
Last week the Wanderers played out a 0-0 draw against Adelaide United. In the four matches before that, they beat Wellington in New Plymouth 3-1, lost to the Mariners 0-2, inflicted Sydney FC’s only loss of their campaign, beating them 1-0 in the Sydney derby, before being beaten by Perth 2-0.
Des Buckingham and Chris Greenacre should have close to a full squad available to them, although it remains to be seen whether Michael McGlinchey and Marco Rossi are yet fully fit from injury.
For Western Sydney, Jacob Melling should be the only absentee.
Players to watch:
Phoenix: Gui Finkler
Not only will Finkler be high on confidence after a brilliant performance against Perth Glory, but he will probably be happy to know we are playing Western Sydney, as during his time at both Victory and the Nix, he has a good record against them; 5 goals in 12 appearances against the Wanderers.
Wanderers: Brendon Santalab
For Wanderers, “Santa” can give them a present when he plays against the Nix; a goal. He loves playing against Wellington, with 6 goals in 9 appearances against us.
Elsewhere in the A-league: [Times NZDT]
Due to the fact that the round is split into two weeks due to Asian Champion League matches, there are only two other matches this weekend.
Saturday 18 March Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets 9:50 pm
Sunday 19 March Adelaide United vs Brisbane Roar 7:00 pm