Season Preview: Perth Glory

As season 8 of the A-League moves ever close, here’s part 6 of our extensive league wide preview, today taking a look at Perth Glory.

Last Season: 3rd place (Grand Finalists)

Perth Glory started out strongly winning their 1st 3 matches and things were going to plan for Ian Ferguson’s men, however that soon halted going on a run of 1 win in 11 matches which put the boss on the hot seat. They turned it around however and won 9 of their remaining 13 regular season matches giving them 3rd spot on the table two home semi-finals. They won both before heading to Gosford and beating the Mariners on penalties to reach the decider.

Manager: Ian Ferguson

Many people’s tip –mine included- to be the 1st coach shown the door, Ferguson turned the Glory around from potentially another disappointing season at Christmas to storm home and almost snare a double chance in the finals.  There were some reports that owner Tony Sage was about to fire him but im betting he’s glad he didn’t as Ferguson took the Glory to within about 10 minutes of causing a massive boilover in last season’s showpiece game.

A lot of people say Fergie is a 4-4-2 merchant and lacks tactical sophistication and variation, but he disproved that myth last season by switching between his customary 4-2-2 and a 4-3-3 4-5-1 at times last season. The variation was essentially a choice between McGarry and Mehmet but he got it right more often than not last season. Will be interesting to see if he can follow that up again this season.
Squad:
1. Danny Vukovic, 3. Bas van den Brink, 4. Billy Mehmet, 5. Steve Pantelidis, 6. Nick Ward, 7. Jacob Burns, 8. Dean Heffernan, 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 11. Adrian Zahra, 12. Ryo Nagai, 13. Travis Dodd, 14. Steven McGarry, 15. Brandon O’Neill, 16. Evan Berger, 17. Chris Harold, 18. Jesse Makarounas, 19. Josh Risdon, 20. Neil Young, 21. Scott Jamieson, 22. Ndumba Makeche, 23. Michael Thwaite.
Ins:

Nick Ward (Wellington Phoenix), Chris Harold (Gold Coast United), Adrian Zahra (Melbourne Heart), Brandon O’Neill (Perth Glory NYL), Ndumba Makeche (Perth Glory NYL), Scott Jamieson (Sydney FC), Michael Thwaite (Gold Coast United), Ryo Nagai (Cerezo Osaka).
Outs:

Viktor Sikora (Released, Retired), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Andrezinho (Released), Josh Mitchell (Newcastle Jets), Chris Coyne (Released), Tommy Amphlett (ECU Joondalup SC- Football West State League), Todd Howarth (Released), Scott Neville (Newcastle Jets).

 

Key in: Michael Thwaite

The addition of Thwaite to play alongside former Gold Coast teammate Bas van den Brink is an astute signing from Ferguson and he will help them in playing out from the back if that is his prerogative this season. He’s also a big upgrade over the often injured Chris Coyne and the hot-headed Steve Pantelidis. I would have campaigned for Vidosic to sign him if he wasn’t our rivals’ captain because he would have fitted in perfectly.

Key out: Andrezinho

Most of Perth’s outs are of little to no consequence and are either older players who couldn’t get fit, or youngsters who couldn’t make the grade, but Andrezinho looked lively at times last season and would be the player missed the most. Ferguson has done a solid job imo to cut the deadwood from his squad and bring in some potentially useful signings.

Possible starting line-up:

Strengths: Depth.

12 months ago Ferguson said ‘what im trying to do is, im trying to get 2 good players for every position’ and I think it’s fair to say that by A-League standards he’s done that. If you look at the above XI and add in Pantelidis, Heffernan, McGarry, Nagai and Harold that’s a reasonable squad of players to choose from. The only issue is they could have used a more proven option upfront to go with Mehmet and Smeltz.

Weaknesses: Upfront.

Yes. Shane Smeltz is a top quality striker –for this level- but if you take a look at the other options there’s some question marks for mine. Mehmet was unconvincing imo for much of the season and if something happens to Smeltz it will be up to him to score the goals. The back-ups of Makarounas and Harold have potential but are both still young and lack experience at A-League level.

One to watch: Josh Risdon

A long term knee injury to Scott Neville opened the door for the youngster to get some games under his belt and he didn’t look back becoming an ever present over the course of the season, so much so that Neville has had to leave to get some 1st team football. Expect his consistency to improve this season as he heads into his 2nd season as a pro.

Record vs. Brisbane:
Played 22: Won 14, Drawn 5, Lost 3. Goals for 50, Goals against 26. Goal dif +24.

 

Last Season:

Round 8: Brisbane Roar 4-0 Perth Glory
Round 15: Perth Glory 3-3 Brisbane Roar
Round 22: Perth Glory 0-3 Brisbane Roar

 

When do we play:
Round 1:
Pattersons Stadium
Round 12: Suncorp Stadium
Round 18: Nib Stadium
Pre-Season record:
AmaZulu 1-0 Perth Glory
Platinum Stars 0-1 Perth Glory
Bidvest Wits 1-2 Perth Glory
Perth Glory 3-0 WA State Team
Melbourne Victory 1-2 Perth Glory
Melbourne Heart 0-5 Perth Glory

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