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Australian Football: Wanderers must return to winning ways

Western Sydney Wanderers will be out to keep the pressure on at the top of the A-League ladder when they take on Western United on Sunday.

Following a jam-packed day of action on Saturday, there is just the one game to wrap up Matchday 15 and it sees the Wanderers take on United at CommBank Stadium.

It is a big game for both sides who are at opposite ends of the ladder but separated by just five points. Wanderers are looking to close the gap on Melbourne City at the top.

Failing that, a second-place finish this season is the goal. As for Western, they have improved following a shocking start to the season, but there is still plenty of work to be done if they are to have a chance of making the top six.

Three points for either side would be huge so there is plenty to play for in the final game of the weekend. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at both teams with kick-off fast approaching.

What:Western Sydney Wanderers v Western United
Where:CommBank Stadium, Sydney
When:15:00 (AEST) Sunday 5th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Wanderers 11/10, Draw 5/2, United 12/5

Wanderers hit dry spell

Western Sydney Wanderers may sit third on the ladder but they have not won in the last four games. They have drawn the last three and it is easy to think they have missed a great opportunity to close the gap on Melbourne City.

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City have drawn the last four but Wanderers still remain seven points behind them. In fairness they have played City and second-place Central Coast Mariners so they can be seen as points gained rather than two dropped.

However the 1-1 draw with the Newcastle Jets and the 1-0 defeat at Perth Glory are definitely points that have slipped away.

The Wanderers have drawn too many games this season, six in total, and the draw against Western United can be backed at 5/2.

Scoring goals has been an issue for Mark Rudan’s side this season. They have just 16 compared to Central Coast scoring 29 and Melbourne City 27.

Even Western have scored more, 18, but it could be a low-scoring affair on Saturday. Under 2.5 goals can be backed at 4/5.

New boy set to make debut

Wanderers will be boosted by the addition of former Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin who has signed from French club Nice on loan.

He will spend the rest of the season on loan with the Wanderers and although he only arrived from France last week, he is in line to start.

Boss Rudan has confirmed that Schneiderlin has overcome jetlag and is looking in great shape after training with the rest of the squad. Rudan also has no fresh selection issues and will be able to name his strongest possible line-up for the game.

Western out to stay unbeaten

Western United can take heart from the fact they are unbeaten in the last three games, winning one and drawing two. They should take plenty of confidence from the run but need to keep it going at CommBank Stadium. 

United fought out a 2-2 draw with Macarthur last week when snatching an equaliser at the death and beat Sydney 1-0 the week before. Conceding goals is still an issue though and that win over Sydney was only the second time all season they have managed to keep a clean sheet.

Another 1-0 win to Western can be backed at 9/1. The ladder is very tight though and Western are just two points behind the top six and five behind the Wanderers in third.

Coach John Aloisi believes his side are building nicely and could peak at just the right time for finals. But they need to tighten up at the back and also start finding the back of the net on a more regular basis. Their -8 goal difference is the worst in the A-League.

Big striker boost

Western may be struggling for goals but at least they are boosted by the return of strike ace Aleksandar Prijovic from injury for the Wanderers clash.

He loves playing against the Wanderers having scored three goals and provided two assists in the last three games against them and can be backed at 13/8 to score any time.

The strike ace can also be backed at 5/1 to score first. Western are still missing a host of players however with Steven Lustica, Ben Garuccio and Jacob Tratt all unavailable.

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