With Season 11 of the Hyundai A-League set to kick off this week with the Western Sydney Wanderers hosting the Brisbane Roar, it seems appropriate to preview the Asian Champions’ upcoming campaign.
Ante Covic (Perth Glory), Antony Golec (Perth Glory), Adrian Madaschi (released), Yusuke Tanaka (released), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown), Iacopo La Rocca (Adelaide United), Mateo Poljak (Newcastle Jets), Jason Trifiro (released), Nick Ward (released), Yianni Perkatis (released), Nick Kalmar (released), Yojiro Takahagi (FC Seoul), Steve Kuzmanovski (Melbourne City), Labinot Haliti (Newcastle Jets), Nikita Rukavytsya (released), Kerem Bulut (released), Tomi Juric (released).
Andrew Redmayne (Melbourne City), Scott Jamieson (Perth Glory), Scott Neville (Newcastle Jets), Jacob Pepper (Newcastle Jets), Andreu Guerao Mayoral (Racing Santander), Mitch Nichols (Cerezo Osaka), Federico Piovaccari (Sampdoria), Dimas Delgado (Recreativo), Alberto Aguilar (free), Dario Vidosic (FC Sion).
The Coach: Tony Popovic
In just three seasons at the helm of the Western Sydney Wanderers Tony Popovic has managed to provide the club the Premiers’ Plate, back-to-back A-League Grand Final appearances, and the Asian Champions League. However, last season’s A-League campaign witnessed everything come crashing back down to Earth as a combination of scheduling, fatigue and complacency saw the club finish in a disappointing 9th place. This season, Popovic and a revamped technical staff of Hayden Foxe (assistant), Andres Carrasco (assistant), Zeljko Kalac (goalkeeping), and Davide Del Giovine (assistant goalkeeping) will be tasked with returning the Red and Blacks back to their best. Nevertheless, despite the ups and downs both on and off the pitch that lie ahead for the 2015/16 season, in Poppa we trust will forever remain the cry.
The 2015/16 season objective for Popovic and co. will be as straight-forward as it has ever been: achieve a top-six finish. With no Asian Champions League football to worry about, this forthcoming campaign will be all about domestic proceedings. Given this, the constant rotation policy that repeatedly stuttered the side’s form last season will no longer be required, leaving Wanderers fans at ease and eager to see their new signings gel.
Player to Watch: Dario Vidosic
Dario Vidosic arrives from FC Sion as the Wanderers’ new Australian marquee and looks set to experience his best season yet. The advanced midfielder and occasional support-striker returns to the A-League just two years after leaving Adelaide United and, by all reports, looks a very determined figure. The 28 year-old will bring pace, trickery and creativity into the final third and, based on the club’s poor goal-return last season, this is sure to excite many at Wanderland.
Three Key Games:
Saturday October 24, 2015 – Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium.
Saturday January 16, 2016 – Western Sydney Wanderers vs Sydney FC at Pirtek Stadium.
Saturday February 20, 2016 – Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz Stadium.
Need I say more? The A-League’s ‘newest oldest club’ let their elder brothers take control of proceedings for much of last season and revenge will no doubt be the primary mandate this time around. There is nothing bigger than the derby and this season’s instalments are sure to be a cracker.
These Colours Unite Us All:
In all, the Hyundai A-League and the tough package of competition it provides will be a treat to watch for viewers home and abroad. But regardless of what transpires, here’s to a fantastic six months of the beautiful game. Come on you Wanderers!Google+