The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Adelaide United (Rd 9)

A-League 2018/19 Round 9 vs Adelaide United 27/12/2018 Coopers Stadium
2-2 Draw

Last game of 2018 in Adelaide as its German vs German coach as we head to Miami for a post match party.
Check out Markus Babbel’s Press Conference as once again he laments his players’ lack of mental strength.

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Best – Suman Gets a Start
A surprising inclusion into the starting lineup was 18 year old Nicholas Suman between the sticks. Nizic was excluded from the extended squad list a couple days before the game with Suman and Greenwood named as the two goalkeepers (Vedran suspended for being a ). Some have been calling for Suman to get a chance on the bench over Nizic who, let’s be honest, has been poor on a number of occasions when called upon. The official word was that Nizic had a back strain hence his exclusion.
Babbel stated in his presser that even if Nizic was fit that he would have chosen Suman anyway. His philosophy is if both are training the same and are level, then the younger one plays. Interesting, considering Nizic is only 23 years old himself. Reading between the lines, you could argue that Babbel doesn’t rate Nizic that much and would rather the teenager get experience to push his development.

Overall, Suman did okay for his debut. The first goal wasn’t his fault but he has to put his hand up for the second. It was poor to concede a strike like that between the legs and he knew it as soon as it happened. Babbel praised his performance and says the second goal was a difficult strike but doesn’t blame him. Says he did all the right things throughout the match.
As long as he learns from it and can continue to grow, then it’s all good. If we’re going to struggle for results, I’d rather our youth get the XP so they can level up and be ready to take over full time.

Worst – Red & Black < Green & Gold
It seems like every time Risdon plays for the Socceroos he becomes a professional footballer and gains a few levels. Whenever he plays for Wanderers, more often than not he just does stupid things constantly. For the first goal, he is watching and following the ball carrier when both centre backs were already on him and he paid no mind to Goodwin on the wing completely open. Once the ball went wide to Goodwin, Risdon decided to half shift across then stick his foot out to stop the cross. All this did was put it in the path of Mileusnic for a tap in.
Later on in the game Kamau makes a great sliding tackle in the box. Where was Risdon? Halfway up the park waiting for a counterattack and then complains when it doesn’t eventuate. Why are you, the fullback/defender more advanced than the attacker/winger when we are defending? It boggles the mind. Kamau shouldn’t have to be in the box making last ditch sliding tackles when an international is just watching it all unfold.
It’s getting beyond frustrating every week we are seeing the same thing.
The only positive this week is that Risdon mostly kept Goodwin quiet for large periods of the match. But his positioning and defensive work is leaving a lot to be desired. His crossing hasn’t been that great this season either compared to last season when I was constantly writing “Risdon + Riera = Goal”

Best? – Riera Scores Again
Riera normally is pretty clinical from the spot but this year he has been a bit off. Twice now he has had his spotkick saved and he has had to put the rebound into the back of the net. At least he is still scoring, but it should be direct and not from a second bite at the cherry.
When he scored, the stat was 20 out of 48 goals since Round 1 last season were scored by Riera. That’s a massive stat and shows how important he is to the team. It also highlights that goals aren’t coming regularly from anywhere else on the park. The wingers and midfielders need to be contributing more.
I’d love to see Riera’s defensive stats though. Every defensive set piece is cleared by him.

Worst – Uproar Over Elbows to the Head
Apparently elbowing opponents in the head is okay because you need to raise your arms and elbows to “gain elevation”. This is an argument that comes up every single game but the pundits keep changing their tune depending on how is on the giving and receiving end. Every single week Riera goes down holding the back of his head and more often than not we’re lucky to get a free kick. This time, Elsey got two yellows for it. You can argue all you want if the first yellow was soft, but you’re a defender on a yellow card after the ref deemed you elbowed your opponent. So why are you doing it again and again thinking you’ll get away with it? I have no sympathy for that red because as a WSW fan I’m increasingly frustrated that AB10 and Riera are constantly getting hacked and the ref waves play on. It happened multiple times even in this match. AB10 was taken out in the middle of the park and the ref doesn’t bat an eyelid. AB10 slaps the ground in frustration over and over again every week.

Best/Worst – Dominate Periods, Collapse Others
It’s the story of the season. Babbel says as much in his press conference. When the players follow the game plan, the team dominates the opposition. We are still struggling to score goals, but when most of the first half is played in Adelaide’s defensive third and we pile on the pressure then that’s a good thing. But then the players forget what they are supposed to do, or get lazy and allow Adelaide to get back into the match and even lead.
Adelaide go down to 10 men and you wouldn’t know it. They remained compact and limited our chances, drawing us out further and further, won the ball and hit us dangerously on the counter. We didn’t use the man advantage and we seemed lucky to get a draw. It was good to show some fight to get the equaliser, but again, we should have been up 3-0 by half time.

Best/Worst – Babbel Frustrations Continue
More and more Babbel is starting to call out his players’ complete lack of mental fortitude. He told them at half time that Adelaide will come out fighting in the second half and they did, scoring within minutes of the half commencing. But Babbel’s team let it happen and didn’t do anything to prevent it. He simply cannot understand why this happens and why his team isn’t listening to him.
He states that he isn’t sure if he is happy to get a point or angry to not get 3 points. There’s only a finite number of times a coach can say the same thing over and over.

I think he is learning very quickly all this idiosyncrasies of the A-League and the last puzzle is the players themselves. He publicly says he is happy with the team he has – but has said it was not his and he has only brought in 2 players. But every week now he is questioning them and their apparent lack of mentality. For me, he is putting them all on notice. Half the squad is off contract. Babbel’s real test is going to be in the off season where he can get rid of most of the team and bring in those that will listen to what he says and do their task. I think if he can, he’d make changes in January too. But salary caps and Visa player restrictions means we can only really bring in Australian players and there isn’t much room to move because of this.

Babbel is clever though. His frustrations with his team just means he is going to take the piss with his outfits every week. It gets the commentators talking about that, rather than this poor team.

Worst – FoxSports Slow on the Uptake
Markus Babbel was perplexed when he was asked post game about the rumours of Riera getting offers from Spain. Weren’t those stories coming out before the season started? How come FoxSports is saying they were in the news this week? I read nothing this week about this team in Spain trying to get Riera.
Here’s the article on the FoxSports website from mid October with Riera turning down a 3 year deal in Spain to remain at WSW.

See you space cowboy…

4 thoughts on “The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Adelaide United (Rd 9)

    1. That article is still from a month ago, so not sure why FoxSports were saying “news this week that Riera was chased by a Spanish segunda side”.

  1. Do u think the only way to fix the teams issues is personnel changes or could babbel over time fix their mentality and game knowledge

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