Week six of the A-League has passed us and we have Sydney FC top and still undefeated, Melbourne City six points away from the leaders, Brisbane Roar strong in third and Melbourne Victory fresh on fourth after a 3-0 victory over the weekend against fierce rivals, Western Sydney Wanderers.
Sadly, the former champions, Adelaide United sit last, on two points, Central Coast Mariners just above them on five, Newcastle Jets also on five points and Western Sydney Wanderers on six points.
Ladders only say so much about a team and their position. For example, yes, Sydney FC are top and undefeated but, can we say in all those six games they have played all those teams off the park with beautiful football? No. But banging goals is all that matters and made easier with all the quality they field; Ninkovic, Holosko, O’Neil, Brosque, Bobo to name a few.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Western Sydney Wanderers are seventh on the table on six points only sitting on one win in six and have only lost twice (alike big spenders Melbourne City) and drawn three times against opponents they should have finished off given their quality on paper.
So the questions are, when are the WSW going to switch on? Display the quality of football we all know they can produce? Moreover, What the hell is going on that six weeks in they have nothing to show they are a team willing to compete for their first A-League title?
It’s been four years since the WSW were born and were welcomed (finally) into the A-League and the west of Sydney and all of us have never looked back.
Domestic grand finalists an astonishing three times is quite a fete but the question in that statistic is, why haven’t they won a domestic final when they conquered all of Asia in winning the Asian Champions League?
2016 squad overhaul
All eyes were on the Wanderers this transfer season as coach Tony Popovic has a knack for completely turning over squads in such a dramatic way that really puts us on our heads as we all question why?
This 2016/17 season Tony Popovic welcomed 13 new faces into the Wanderers. Yes, 13!!! And they said adios to another 13 players. Amazing.
Can somebody please allude me to the facts of their 2015/16 campaign that all those players left when the club finished second in the A-League and Grand Finalists? I mean, yes, psychologically having that threat over the head of players is fantastic for them to play at their best and secure their spots but squad inconsistencies take a toll in squad cohesion and we are seeing that today.
All that success aside, we need to get in to the nitty and gritty of this season.
2016/15 season so far
First game of the season, Sydney Derby between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium in front of just over 61,000 people a new record. WSW got hammered 1-4 and we basically run off the park by Sydney FC. After that day everybody used the, “new squad” line, “takes time”, “practically a new team” so we let that result stand on its own.
Week 2 was a tough away trip at Adelaide United, the ‘Grand Final replay’ ended in a huge 1-2 win for the Wanderers as super-sub Brandon Santalab grabbed the late winner.
Things were looking up for Western Sydney but after this result they hit a brick wall with three consecutive draws and a 3-0 loss away against Melbourne Victory.
Is it that Popovic is hard to please that he changes the entire squad every season? What does he actually want when clearly the recruitment system is failing him in clear sight? Redmayne has been at fault for many of their goals this season with poor decisions and positioning, their defence also has been very poor but up front the talent is clear with Nichols, Nico Martinez and Jumpei but the end product is not there.
Popovic has brought success to the Wanderers and made them a proud club but domestic success is needed. The ACL came and its now gone, the fans want domestic success and want their team battling in the top four week in week out.
What now for the WSW? Who knows. Are they drained by the style of play of Tony Popovic? Can Popovic give the Wanderers something new and bring them to life? Or is it time for someone new to arrive in Western Sydney and breathe a new life into the team and bring that domestic success that they all want so badly? I think yes.
Tony Popovic for Western Sydney has been immense with what he has done for a club only four years old. But he has become predictable and the fans are doing all they can and more cheering their side on week in week out but they are not getting that from Popa.
Western Sydney Wanderers this week welcome Melbourne City to Spotless Stadium for match day seven. A win here could heap the pressure off Popovic and spring a new step of momentum for the Wanderers going forward. This task however is not made easier with Tim Cahill leading the line with top goal scorer Bruno Fornaroli, and Brandan and Kamau causing absolute havoc on the wings.
This is a must win for the Wanderers as another loss or stalemate could just end the last piece of patience of the fans.