Season Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers

As season 8 of the A-League moves ever close, here’s the final part of our extensive league wide preview, today taking a look at the new kids on the block- Western Sydney Wanderers.


It’s taken 8 years to get a team into West Sydney and FFA have finally made it happen with this new club- Western Sydney Wanderers. They’ve been put together reasonably quickly, but looking back so were Wellington Phoenix and they were competitive from day 1, so Wanderers should be the same. They’ll play their home games at Parramatta Stadium and wear red and black stripes at home, with red and white as road colours. The derby in round 3 should be a great occasion- hopefully it takes off in a similar vein to the Melbourne derby.


Manager: Tony Popovic

Since retiring and walking out on Sydney FC mid-season Popovic has returned to a club where he had success as a player in Crystal Palace where he got into coaching as their ‘First Team Coach’ for the last 2 seasons. He was highly sought after by both Sydney clubs when he made it clear he’d like to return, but it seems like for him atleast it would always be Wanderers.  An unproven manager at a start-up club, interesting. Tactically it’s tough to know what to expect from him, but he said when introduced he’s aiming for a short passing, possession game. Then again just about every manager has said that this season.

Squad:
1. Ante Covic 2. Reece Caira, 3. Adam D’Apuzzo, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Jerome Polenz, 7. Labinot Haliti, 8. Jason Trifiro, 9. Dino Kressinger, 10. Aaron Mooy, 11. Tarek Elrich, 12. Shannon Cole, 13. Tahj Minnieccon, 14. Kwabena Appiah-Kubi, 15. Iacopo La Rocca, 16. Mateo Poljak, 17. Youssouf Hersi, 18. Shinji Ono, 19. Mark Bridge, 20. Jerrad Tyson.

Ins:

Tarek Elrich (Newcastle Jets), Aaron Mooy (St Mirren F.C), Kwabena Appiah-Kubi (Parramatta Eagles), Michael Beauchamp (Sydney FC), Mark Bridge (Sydney FC), Shannon Cole (Sydney FC), Nikolai Topor Stanley (Newcastle Jets), Labinot Haliti (Newcastle Jets), Ante Covic (Melbourne Victory), Adam D’Apuzzo (APIA Leichhardt Tigers), Jerrad Tyson (Gold Coast United), Reece Caira (Aston Villa), Jason Trifiro (South Melbourne), Tahj Minnieccon (Gold Coast United), Dino Kressinger (HNK Cibalia- Croatia), Mateo Poljak (GNK-Dinamo Zagreb- Croatia), Jerome Polenz (1.FC Union Berlin- Germany), Iacopo La Rocca (Grasshopper Club Zurich-Switzerland), Youssouf Hersi (Alki Lamaca- Cyprus), Shinji Ono (Shimizu S-Pulse).

Key in: Shinji Ono

Western Sydney’s inaugural marquee man will have a lot on his shoulders going into their 1st season in the completion and will be expected to be the creative link in the attacking third alongside Dutchman Youssouf Hersi. The 3 time World Cup player from Japan who spent time with Urawa, Feyenoord, Bochum, and Shimizu during his career might be getting on a bit but his technique should see him through this season.


Possible starting line-up:

Strengths: Midfield.

Wanderers midfield looks as good as any, atleast on paper with deep lying Croatian Mateo Poljak, German jack of all trades Jerome Poljak, Dutchman Youssouf Hersi and marquee Shinji Ono there. Seems like a good mix of defensive capabilities and attacking flair, also somewhat intriguing to me that Popovic has used the majority of his foreign spots on that midfield area instead of spreading them around the team a little more.

Weaknesses: Defence.
While in midfield they’ve opted for the foreign touch, the backline is very familiar to A-League fans with the majority of them all having played for atleast one other A-League club. Beauchamp as captain is assured of a spot in the backline, but the other 3 spots are not so clear cut. Whichever way they go with it, it’s still a little underwhelming imo.

One to watch: Aaron Mooy

The young attacking midfielder returns to Australia following an upbringing in the Brittish football system, learning his trade at Bolton before moving on to St Mirren in the SPL. Played at u-20 and u-23 level for Australia and now back in his hometown, he could be one to watch this season.

When do we play:
Round 4:
Suncorp Stadium
Round 9:
Parramatta Stadium
Round 17: Suncorp Stadium

Pre-Season record:
Western Sydney Wanderers 5-0 Nepean FC
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 Blacktown Spartans FC
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 Blacktown City FC
Brisbane Wolves 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne Heart 0-0 (5-3 p.k) Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 Parramatta FC
Newcastle Jets 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Wellington Phoenix 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers 3-0 Bankstown City Lions FC

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2 Comments on “Season Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers”

  1. Tom says:

    Love this review, although make sure you note that those squad numbers are incorrect. Aaron Mooy has impressed as expected in pre-season, he’s going to have a massive season!

  2. Heard a lot of good things about Mooy, hopefully he does have a big season. Got those squad numbers off Wiki lol so they were bound to be wrong haha.


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