Season Preview: Western Sydney WanderersPosted: October 4, 2013
Last Season: Premiers. Lost Grand Final to Central Coast Mariners
Last seasons new boys went on a miraculous run of 10 straight wins -14 games unbeaten- to seal the Premiership in their debut season before falling to Central Coast in the grand final. All of that after starting the season goal-less in the opening 3 rounds.
Manager: Tony Popovic
Popovic did a fantastic job in some difficult circumstances and came close to pulling off an unlikely double in his 1st season as a head coach. He’s got extra challenges this year with the Champions League coming up, but the former Crystal Palace assistant is highly rated and has been linked to the Socceroos job post 2014.
1) Covic, 2) Cole, 3) D’Apuzzo, 4) Topor-Stanley, 5) Beauchamp, 6) Polenz, 7) Haliti, 8) Poljak, 9) Juric, 10) Mooy, 11) Santalab, 12) Minniecon, 14) Appiah-Kubi, 15) Perkatis, 16) Barresi, 17) Hersi, 18) La Rocca, 19) Bridge, 20) Tyson, 21) Ono, 22) Heffernan, 23) Trifiro, ??) Spiranovic.
Tomi Juric (Adelaide United), Brendan Santalab (Chongqing Lifan- China), Dean Heffernan (Perth Glory), Matthew Spiranovic (Al-Arabi- Qatar).
Dino Kressinger (Zavrc- Croatia), Tarek Elrich (Adelaide United), Joey Gibbs (Newcastle Jets), Rocky Visconte (Suphanburi- Thailand), Reece Caira (Wellington Phoenix).
Key player: Shinji Ono
The Japanese star was a late add to the Wanderers camp and reportedly got the not ahead of Michael Ballack, and his performances last season were impressive. He chipped in with a very handy 8 goals last year and will need to reproduce that again this year.
Last Season against Brisbane:
Round 4: Brisbane Roar 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Round 10: Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0Brisbane Roar
Round 17: Brisbane Roar 1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Semi Final: Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 Brisbane Roar
Meetings this season:
November 22nd Brisbane Roar vs. Western Sydney Wanderers
February 7th: Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Brisbane Roar
April 5th: Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Brisbane Roar
Macarthur Rams 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Canberra Olympic 1-3 Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Wellington Phoenix
Shimizu S-Pulse 2-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Guangzhou R&F 0-5 Western Sydney Wanderers
Tokyo Verdy 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne Victory 3-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Just the one, former Roar flyer Tahj Minniecon is still with the Wanderers despite not seeing a lot of game time last season due to fitness and injury issues.
They’re largely the same as last season, with a strong and settled squad in the ranks. Juric and Santalab should be able to better the meagre goal tally of Kressinger from last term while the defence is now a real strength with 4 quality central defenders to choose from. They road a wave of emotion last year, but with the additional challenge of the Champions League they may struggle to defend their premiers plate. They should still be in the finals however.