The Sydney Derby between Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers is always a highly anticipated fixture on the A-League Men’s calendar every home and away season.
With the sides set to meet again this Saturday, The Inner Sanctum has selected a combined best starting XI comprised of players from both sides who’ve played in the derby since the inaugural clash back in 2012.
Goalkeeper – Andrew Redmayne
Having played for both Sydney FC and the Wanderers, Redmayne has been a Sydney Derby regular since joining Western Sydney in 2015.
He’d make 31 appearances for the Western Sydney outfit, before becoming a Sky Blue in 2017, where he’s registered over 100 appearances and has been Sydney’s number one keeper since.
Since joining Sydney, he’s gone on to become one of the club’s greatest goalkeepers, and is currently the third choice keeper for the Socceroos, behind Mat Ryan and Danny Vukovic.
Right back – Rhyan Grant
Starting as the number two is Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant. One of the best right backs currently playing in the A-League Men competition, he is also arguably the Sky Blues’ greatest ever fullback.
Playing for Sydney FC since the 2008-09 A-League season, Grant has featured in his fair share of Sydney Derbies, taking part in clashes at the old Parramatta Stadium against the Wanderers when the rivalry was beginning to take shape.
Centre back – Alex Wilkinson
A main stay for Sydney FC since 2016 and currently captain of the club, Wilkinson has appeared 175 times for the club in all competitions and was an integral part of the side’s 2016-17, 2018-19 and 2019-20 premierships.
Having previously played for Central Coast and Melbourne City, Wilkinson’s best football has arguably come in the back end of his career. At 37, he’s still showing he’s capable of playing at the top level.
Centre back – Matthew Spiranovic
Partnering Wilkinson in central defence is former Wanderer Matthew Spiranovic. Now currently plying his trade with Melbourne Victory, Spiranovic’s time at the Wanderers was memorable despite spending just two seasons with the club.
Playing for the Wanderers from 2013 to 2015, Spiranovic was one of the most consistent performers in the side during the time. He played a major part in helping the Wanderers achieve Asian Champions League (ACL) glory.
Left back – Michael Zullo
Starting as the left-sided fullback in this combined XI is current Sydney FC left back Michael Zullo, who’s been a vital player for the Sky Blues since coming across in 2016.
Arriving at the club ahead of the 2016-17 season, Zullo was a key player in Sydney winning the A-League title in his first season with the Sky Blues, also being named in the league’s team of the season.
Since then, he has made over 80 appearances for the club, and was also a key contributor in the club’s championship wins in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
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Right midfield – Adrian Mierzejewski
Though he didn’t have a journeyed tenure with Sydney FC, spending just a single season with the club, he was stellar in the 2017-18 season. Hence, he earns a midfield spot in this combined XI.
Playing predominantly as a wide-man, Mierzejewski was still able to be a goal scoring threat. He was amongst the side’s top scorers in the 2017-18 season, scoring 13 goals. Four of these came against the Wanderers, still making him the third highest Sydney derby goal scorer to this day.
Though only playing 25 times for the club before taking his talents to China, the former Poland international was a sensational acquisition for Sydney.
Central midfield – Aaron Mooy
Though often remembered for his time with Melbourne City during his A-League stint, Mooy’s stint with the Wanderers was also impressive.
Making a total of 53 appearances for the club across all competitions, Mooy was an integral member of the Wanderers’ inaugural A-League squad and was one of the best performers during the club’s first two seasons.
Central midfield – Milos Ninkovic
Joining Mooy in central midfield is one of the greatest and most skilled players to ever grace the A-League Men competition, Milos Ninkovic.
Having joined the club in the 2015-16 season, Ninkovic was an instant hit playing as a winger. It wasn’t until he began playing in the centre of the park that he truly became one of the premiere talents of the league.
Having made 200 appearances for the club, Ninkovic has scored 38 goals, assisted 32, and is one of the club’s most decorated players. During his half-decade time with the club he’s been a three time A-League champion, FFA Cup winner, Joe Marston Medallist, and a two-time Johnny Warren Medal winner.
Left midfield – Brendon Santalab
Rounding out the midfield four is former Wanderers winger and attacker Brendon Santalab, who had an enjoyable stint with the club from 2013-2018.
Having registered 97 appearances with Western Sydney and having scored 35 goals, Santalab was an impressive and consistent performer during his time there.
In those five years, he was a two-time leading goal-scorer for the club, player of the year in the 2016-17 season, and was an important squad player in the 2014 ACL win.
Striker – Bobo
The leading Sydney Derby scorer at the time of writing, Brazilian striker Bobo has been prolific over both his stints with Sydney FC, and starts up front in this combined XI.
Having scored 44 goals in 64 total appearances across his first run with the club in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons, Bobo then returned to the Sky Blues last season, where he has since scored 16 goals.
An A-League Golden Boot winner and league champion, Bobo still holds the record for the most goals in an A-League Men season. Scoring 27 goals back in 2017-18, it’s still yet to be topped.
Striker – Alex Brosque
Having partnered Bobo at Sydney FC, Brosque also partners him in this combined XI, rounding out the starting line-up.
Across two enjoyable stints with the club, Brosque scored 59 goals in 190 games between 2006-2011 and 2014-2018. He’s a three-time A-League champion with the Sky Blues, a three-time club player of the season, and was inducted into Sydney FC’s Hall of Fame in 2019.
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