Match Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers vs Wellington Phoenix – Six-point scrap for...

Match Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers vs Wellington Phoenix – Six-point scrap for sixth position


This is the most important match of the season for both clubs chasing the all-important final play-off spot.

The home side currently holds sixth position, but Wellington Phoenix could jump ahead with the most vital of away wins.

Western Sydney Wanderers have had their fair share of hardship in these past few weeks, with the fallout from that banner hitting the club in the pocket.

They have also been struggling for results since their defeat of Sydney FC, with a loss to Perth Glory followed by a draw against bottom side Adelaide United.

As the Wanderers look to solidify their grasp on the final play-off spot, only a win will do now for the Phoenix.

RELATED: Chris Greenacre warns Western Sydney Wanderers: We owe you one

Key Battle – Brendan Santalab vs Roy Krishna

After Lachlan Scott started in the midweek Asian Champions League game, Brendon Santalab should get the rotationary nod against the Nix on Sunday night.

He has a habit of scoring against the Kiwis, and has nine goals for the Wanderers overall this season, including three in two games against this opposition already.

Roy Krishna has 11 goals and eight assists in 2017-18, which means he has been involved in a staggering 68% of the 28 Phoenix goals this season. The Fijian has been the Phoenix’s brightest star this season and is indispensable.

Team News

Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham are missing both Michael McGlinchey and Jacob Tratt for this game. Marco Rossi should make his return to the starting XI at the expense of Dylan Fox, who deputised well against Glory in the Nix’s last fixture.

After drawing a blank in last week’s fixture, Tony Popovic will want his charges to finish their chances this time around. He will have to shuffle his pack to ensure the goals do come and to deal with player fatigue after their midweek trip to Seoul. It would hardly be a shock if players like Mitch Nichols, Scott and Jaushua Sotirio start on the bench on Sunday night.


The Phoenix and Western Sydney have played 14 games against each other. The home side has won six and the visitors have won five, and there have been three draws. Can the Phoenix pull it back to parity away from home?

Previous Meeting

Santalab did the damage in the last fixture between these two, scoring in the 21st and 65th minutes at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium, either side of a Nicolas Martinez strike in the 58th minute in a 3-1 win.


The home side will want to ensure they do not lose. The Phoenix cannot afford to attack all-out in Wanderland. If either side were to drop points here, they would lose valuable ground in the tense race for the final play-off spot. It is a six-pointer and it is difficult to pick a clear winner.

Wellington Phoenix 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 2