The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Central Coast Mariners (Rd 19)

A-League Round 19 vs Central Coast Mariners – 04/02/2018 Central Coast Stadium
2-1 Win

Welcome to this week’s Best and Worst where we travelled to Gosford in an attempt to help break the Mariners’ winless streak.

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Best/Worst – Our Best Lineup
It was mentioned to us on Twitter that it was arguably our strongest lineup on paper starting this match. I replied…we’ve said that a number of times this season! I don’t know what our best lineup is anymore. Every week its a guessing game who plays in the midfield or on the wing, or at left back even. The only rusted on starters are Vedran and Riera. Sotirio makes his long awaited return to the team and new loan signing Chris Ikonomidis was on the bench. Lusitca finally gets to play in his proper position and Llorente returns to left back.

Best – Yeah The Jaush
A training manoeuvre that seemed to work. Amazing that Sotirio actually HIT the ball on the full AND on target. The deflection definitely helped the goal to go in but we’ll take it.
He actually had a decent game for the 45 minutes that he was on. A pacey winger that can get behind the defence if he tries to actually do it. Was subbed at half time though so not sure if he was re-injured or one of the many central coast hack tackles injured him.

Worst – A Bridge Too Far
Bridge has been a shadow of his former self all season. He had the opportunity to score a brace at the very least in this game and his decision making let him down. Opting to take a touch or two instead of hitting it first time. A couple years ago he would have buried them. Not sure if the new system is to his detriment, he misses Popa or father time has affected him in conjunction with the injury he sustained in Thailand. But Bridge should have been subbed off in the 2nd half because he had no legs left. Its not the first time we’ve all noticed this.

Best – Riera
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Riera is our best player this season. Now with Carrusca behind him, he is getting better service. He should have scored earlier with a bullet header that any other player would have just cushioned straight to the keeper. How he headed the ball with that much power as he was jumping backwards is beyond me. And he did it again for his goal with a brilliant cross from Llorente.
Riera is signed for 2 seasons. Let’s hope we keep him for next and possibly beyond. He is the best no.9 we’ve ever had and if he had a better team around him, he’d be up there with Bobo’s tally of goals.

Worst – Riera vs Gombau
Its the Road to Wrestlemania at the moment and this is shaping up to be one of the main events. Its all boiling under the surface and a slow build to the crucial match in a couple of months. An icy hand shake here, an “explanation” there. Media throwing fuel to the fire because something happened 3 months ago. Its all shaping up to be a massive pay off at the big stage.
But is there any truth to any of this? Santa calming Gombau down who threatened to sub Riera off after 15 minutes because he refused to press higher and swore at Gombau in Spanish (allegedly) to take him off if he didn’t like it? If there is a true discontent between the two, in the old days Riera would be receiving #TheTreatment and be shipped off in the latest Mutual Termination Window. But he starts every week. Gombau knows he is important to the team structure. He can’t afford to have a spat with our best player. It possibly all hearkens back to them working together a decade or more ago. Watch this space but hopefully its all a storm in a teacup.

Best – Llorente Enjoys The Attacking Freedon
Paul Okon obviously doesn’t rate Llorente because Hoole was allowed to let him run past him for the first 45 at least unchecked. He had acres of space to pick his crosses and one led to a goal. In the post match interview he was asked about his game and he said he loves player at fullback and getting into overlapping runs. He mentioned that the wingers in this game played a bit more narrow which allowed him to get forward a lot more. This guy is one of the few that CAN play 90 minutes and run up and down that wing all game.

Worst – Fitness Issues Yet Again
Certain media pundits are trying to imply that Gombau’s different coaching method is possibly the cause of the team gassing in the 2nd half. Wanderers fans have been talking about this since the FFA Cup games where we started strong and then slowed down to a halt from the 60th minute onwards. Its been happening since September. It has nothing to do with Gombau. Whomever is the strength and conditioning coach is the one who should be accountable. Its the best preseason we’ve had ever. Fitness levels should be at peak by round 19. There is no excuse whatsoever for professional footballers two thirds into a season to be gassed from the 46th minute. Its killing our game and no wonder we’ve only scored something like 3 goals in the 2nd half. You can’t expect to win anything if you can only play 45 minutes.

A Central Coast team bereft of ideas for the entire first 45 were allowed back into the game and made to look like a good side. Its ridiculous and just showed why we are only 6th, ie the bottom half of the table. We are only slightly better than the likes of CCM and the Nix. We’ll see how much better or worse we are next week against the latter.

Best – All We Are Saying, Is Give Youth a Chance
Twitter was more lively on Saturday afternoon than a regular A-League game this season. The reason? Our Youth Team were taking on Melbourne City in the Y-League Grand Final in Newcastle on Saturday. We discussed the stupidity of that in last week’s episode but the game itself was a great game of football to watch. The entire team had a great game but the front 4 or so really made a good showing. Scott, Majok, Roberts, Grozos especially. Suman in goals had a good game and only conceded a soft penalty. To come from 0-1 down to win 3-1 in Extra Time was great to watch. Roberts changed the game for me and got behind the defence so many times. Lachy Scott scored a brilliantly technical goal and Grozos loves to shoot from anywhere around the 18 yard box.

Some of these guys need to get some game time in the senior squad. Season is meh, we need some excitement. Most of these boys have had a really good season and they are on scholarship deals. They need to start making the bench and getting some minutes. Everyone is talking Arzani this season. We should be talking Grozos, Tokich, Roberts etc. The future is bright for the Wanderers if these boys hang around and graduate into the A-League team.

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