Here’s why the Wanderers will ground the Jets

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They may be flying high after a sensational 4-0 win over Brisbane Roar last week but the Newcastle Jets will likely be brought back down to earth against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday night. Here’s why.

History: Despite losing to the Jets 2-0 in preseason, Western Sydney have a clear edge over Newcastle in the A-League. Winning six out of the twelve times the two teams have met, drawing three and losing three, the Red and Black enter this encounter off the back of three consecutive A-League wins over the Jets.

Yet to lose a game against Newcastle in the Hunter, the Wanderers may have preferred this game to be played away from home but they do welcome the Jets to a new home in the form of Spotless Stadium. With their three losses to the Novacastrians coming at Pirtek Stadium, the Western Sydney side will be hoping to make Homebush a much happier hunting ground against the Jets.

Players: Both sides have so far had their new recruits hit the ground running. In the Red and Black, Jumpei Kusukami and Nicolas Martinez have both impressed. While for the Jets, Andrew Nabbout and Wayne Brown are looking likely to take the Newcastle attack to new heights.

Unfortunately for the Jets, key import Aleksandr Kokko fell to injury in Round One and is set for another week on the sidelines. This is a cruel blow for the Newcastle front line who although firing finely last week, may struggle with a lack of proven options in the final third against the Red and Black. Former Wanderer Labinot Haliti did return after a long lay off last week for the Jets however he simply can’t match the cutting edge current Wanderer Brendan Santalab often brings to games late on.

Coaches: Two former defenders turned coaches will face off in this clash and although his first two A-League games in charge were a success, Mark Jones may show signs of his A-League inexperience against Tony Popovic on Sunday night. With just two A-League games under his belt as head coach, Jones is dwarfed by Popovic’s 118 games in charge at the Wanderers, a tenure which he has managed to win 48.31% of games.

If this game is as tight as it looks on paper, Popovic could well prove the difference and spring Jones’ first A-League defeat with a tactical maneuver or sly substitution late on.

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Joshua Thomas
A football fanatic and journalism student who won't leave you wondering about any Wanderers news this season as I cover all things Red and Black for The Football Sack.

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