Season Preview: Western Sydney Wanderers

In the lead-up to the 10th of the A-League we’ll be doing an extensive preview of the league club by club- continuing today with Western Sydney Wanderers.

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Last Season: 2nd (Lost Grand Final to Brisbane Roar)
It was another very successful season for the Wanderers with another top two finish in the league after another solid regular season, before beating Central Coast to make a second Grand-Final in two seasons which they lost in extra time to Brisbane. In addition to making another GF, they proceeded to make it to the quarter- finals in the Champions League, and now overnight they’ve progressed to the final despite being in pre-season.

Kit:

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Squad:
1) Ante Covic, 2) Shannon Cole, 3) Seyi Adeleke, 4) Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5) Brendan Hamill, 7) Labinot Haliti, 8) Mateo Poljak, 9) Tomi Juric, 10) Vitor Saba,  11) Brendon Santalab, 13) Matthew Spiranovic, 14) Kwabena Appiah, 15) Yianni Perkatis, 17) Romeo Castelen, 18) Iacopo La Rocca, 19) Mark Bridge, 20) Dean Bouzanis, 23) Jason Trifiro, 31) Alusine Fofanah, 32) Daniel Alessi, 33) Daniel Mullen, 34) Golgol Mebrahtu, 35) Antony Golec.

In:
Dean Bouzanis (Carlisle United- England), Vitor Saba (Brescia- Italy), Brendan Hamill (Seongnam- South Korea), Romeo Castelen (RKC Waalwijk- Netherlands), Seyi Adeleke (Lazio- Italy).

Out:
Adam D’Apuzzo, Dean Heffernan (Both Retired), Michael Beauchamp (PTT Rayong- Thailand), Jerome Polenz (Sarpsborg 08- Germany), Aaron Mooy (Melbourne City), Tahj Minnieccon (Rockdale City Suns), Josh Barresi (Newcastle Jets), Youssouf Hersi (Perth Glory), Jerrad Tyson (Sun Pegasus- Hong Kong), Shinji Ono (Consadole Sapporo- Japan).

Western Sydney haven’t brought in too many players, opting to focus on bringing through a bunch of youngsters from their youth team. The additions of Castelen and Saba will be interesting to see. Of those who left, Polenz was replaced in January by Mullen, while D’Apuzzo and Hersi have been replaced by Adeleke and Castelen. Replacing Ono’s productivity and popularity will be tough, but early signs suggest Saba is an able replacement.

Expected Starting XI:

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The Wanderers team probably won’t look overly different to that of last season, with the spine of last season’s team line-up through the lines of the team. The changes at their side come on the right hand side of their team where Mullen and Castelen will get the first chance, with Nigerian import Seyi Adeleke likely to come in and play at left-back. Vitor Saba has the unenviable task of taking over from Shinji Ono.

Pre-season:
The Wanderers pre-season has been totally different than every other A-League club with the majority of their games coming in Asia in competitive games as opposed to practice games. Infact they’re the only side in the competition not to play against another A-League team this pre-season. They also became the first A-League side in FFA Cup history to lose to a state league side, making it a record breaking pre-season in more ways than one for the Wanderers.

Macarthur Rams 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Canberra FC 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
APIA Leichhardt 0-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Adelaide City 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers (FFA Cup)
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 Guangzhou Evergrande (ACL)
Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers (ACL)
East Riffa 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Al Jazira 1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
FC Seoul 0-0 Western Sydney Wanderers (ACL)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 FC Seoul (ACL)
All-time record against Western Sydney Wanderers:

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The Wanderers look like they’re going to be a tough team to beat once again this season if their results in Asia are anything to go by. Their recruits have looked good so far, so another finals appearance looks likely. How far they go depends on how their ACL form translates in the A-League.

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