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Newcastle Jets FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Round 8 – 3.05pm Monday 26th December at McDonald Jones Stadium
Online: Listen LIVE from 2.45pm with Ben Homer and Helene O’Neill
Overall Head to Head:
Newcastle Jets FC 2
Western Sydney Wanderers 3
2015/16 – Round 11: Western Sydney Wanderers 0 Newcastle Jets 1 (Andrews 40’) at Popondetta Park. Referee: Lara Lee
Where they sit on the Ladder:
Newcastle Jets FC 6th (7pts)
Western Sydney Wanderers 7th (7pts)
Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):
Jets – Drew Victory 1-1 (h), Lost Sydney 1-2 (h), Lost Canberra 2-5 (a)
Wanderers – Won City 2-1 (h), Drew Victory 2-2 (a), Lost Roar 0-2 (h)
The Westfield W-League may have just only reached its halfway point but for the Newcastle Jets and the Western Sydney Wanderers, it will be crunch time when they clash at McDonald Jones Stadium in a big Boxing Day battle.
It may only be round eight, but already the top sides are quickly separating themselves from the rest of the field. On Boxing Day, the question will be asked if both the Jets and Wanderers are contenders or pretenders.
With five points now separating both sides from the top four, a loss for either side and it would take a miracle to make the finals. Even a draw could spell bad news for both sides. In all honesty, this is a match where one side will go on with finals hopes still alive or both will have their hopes dashed.
The real question is, which Jets or Wanderers side will turn up? Both have had their moments across the opening half of the season. The Jets took down the now second-placed Glory in round three in Newcastle while just last weekend the Wanderers beat Melbourne City, a side who were untouchable just a couple of weeks ago.
The Jets come into the match on the back of a positive second-half showing against Melbourne Victory, but, coach Craig Deans will be disappointed with only a point from a home clash with a side sitting second-bottom. The Jets created enough chances in the second 45 to win the match comfortably but couldn’t put them away and they can’t afford that on Monday.
A slow start hurt the Jets badly last Friday and the statistics don’t lie when they show both the Jets’ wins this season have come when they scored first. Last season, the Jets won three of their 12 matches and they scored first in each one of those matches.
The only match in the last two seasons where the Jets have scored first and lost was against, interestingly, the Western Sydney Wanderers, in round four last year. They only lost that match in the 92nd minute. So, when the Jets score first they are very hard to beat.
Western Sydney has had a very up and down start to the season with wins against bottom-placed Adelaide and third-placed Melbourne City, a draw with Victory along with a 4-2 loss to Perth and two 2-0 defeats against Sydney and Brisbane.
The bye in round five seems to have reinvigorated a Wanderers side who took just three points from their opening four matches. They have now taken four from their last two clashes and seem to be growing in confidence.
Two sides meet in the middle after opposing starts to the season. The Jets began strongly and have dipped, while the Wanderers have surged back into form lately which will make for an intriguing clash come Boxing Day.
Key: After a fall from grace over the last three matches can the Jets regain their early season form?