Phoenix have an excellent record on the road and strong head-to-head form against the Wanderers.
Western Sydney went from Grand Final runners-up in the previous two seasons and 2014 AFC Champions League winners to second-bottom last term, but have started better this time with 10 points from their opening six games to leave them in fourth. The Phoenix have the same points tally as they look to come to terms with life after Nathan Burns’ (last season’s A-League Player of the Year) move to Japan.
After picking up just one point from their first three games, the Wanderers have won their last three, the most impressive of those coming last week at City as they were comfortable 3-0 winners. Their home form last season was disappointing as they managed only three wins, but their record against sides that finished between 4th and 7th (Wellington are currently sixth and finished fifth last season) was a much better W3-D1-L1 and manager Popovic has the added bonus of a fully fit squad to pick from for this fixture.
The most impressive aspect of Wellington last season was their away form as they won seven of 13 games and they’ve started this season in a similar manner as they beat Perth, drew at the Mariners, but lost to defending champions Victory. That was their only defeat in their last seven road games as they’ve won four of these. What’s more, the Phoenix have an excellent W3-D2-L1 record against the Wanderers since 2013/14 and interestingly five of these six games had fewer than three goals. Much like the Wanderers, Wellington have virtually a fully fit squad to choose from, with Lia a long-term absentee but everyone else is available.
Given the Phoenix’s excellent record on the road and their strong head-to-head form against the Wanderers, the home side look a little short too us for this game and we’re siding with the Phoenix to pick up at least a point in this one.