The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Melbourne City (Rd 24)

A-League Round 24 vs Melbourne City 24/03/2018 AAMI Park
0-3 Loss

Our winless streak in Melbourne continues after this dire affair.

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Worst – Who’s the Real Heartless?
Did anyone in a WSW jersey want to be there? They had 2 weeks off and should have been completely fresh. Instead it was a lacklustre effort across the park. No intensity and were dismantled completely. We made Arzani look like Messi. He had a field day as Wanderers players watched him skip and slide past them with ease. There was no fire, no desire from almost everyone. Its a slap in the face to those that travelled and made noise. This whole “we’re the biggest club” is rubbish when attendances are falling and the players seem to simply not care. Not winning 2nd balls and not penetrating the lines is basic stuff. If professionals fighting for a finals spot can’t step up to do that after a week’s rest, then just pack it in now and forfeit the rest of the season.

Worst – Who Needs Defence?
Its not as if the old saying goes “Defence wins championships.”
I get the impression that Gombau simply doesn’t know or care about defending. We set up with basically no defensive midfielder and the back 4 are isolated to take all the attacks. We are using effectively our 3rd and 4th choice centrebacks and it shows. Fouling when they aren’t supposed to be, not fouling when they should. Experienced players like Thwaite just standing there when defending a corner and allowing the opposition headers on goal. The entire backline needs an overhaul in the offseason. But can Gombau provide that? All his talk about possession football doesn’t mean anything if we can’t defend and stop conceding. We’ve had only 3 cleansheets all season. They were against CCM, Brisbane and Wellington. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence does it.

Worst – Zero Shots on Target
Zero. Shots. On. Target.
The only real shot I remember is Riera’s hitting the crossbar. How can the team keep saying #together and all that rubbish and spouting “if we make the finals, anything can happen.”
Yeah anything alright. Getting embarrassed in a knockout game. Not a single shot on target. You look at the team sheet and there is no excuse for this to be the case. But on paper doesn’t mean anything when in reality the midfield is useless and no one can pass more than 5 metres.

Best – Riera Fire
One of the very few positives to come out of this game was Riera. Brattan goes down softly and stays down. We have the ball in an attacking position and the ref blows the whistle. Brattan sneakily looks up and is happy that his bullshit conned the ref. Riera is frustrated and boots the ball into the stands earning himself a yellow card. Riera is probably the only player on the park that is actually trying and is the only one that actually cares. He had to constantly drop really deep to get the ball or go wide to be an option. I really hope he stays for the 2nd year of his contract. A decent team around him and he is scoring 20+ goals a season. I hope his frustrations with the team, club, manager etc doesn’t make him pack his bags and leave.
He is one of the very few recruitments that Popa got right.

Best – Tokich Debut
Tokich makes it to the bench again and he finally made it onto the field. But it was the 80th or so minute and we were 0-3 down. Token gesture at best. It’s time to start seeing more of our NYL championship side in the A-League side. The only conundrum though is that it could affect their NPL2 prospects and their goals of getting promotion to NPL1. This season is bust. Do we bring in the youth now or just make do with what we have and let them play in NPL2?

Worst – No Win in Melbourne Since 2015
Title says it all. We haven’t won in Melbourne since 2015. All the way back in November 2015 when Piovaccari even scored! (when City players stopped because they thought Dario was offside)
Here’s an even greater stat. We haven’t beaten Victory in Melbourne since February 2013 – 5 years. That first massive tour in our first season where La Rocca scored early and Ono placed the ball in the top of the net in the 2nd half, and proceeded to dance a jig in front of the massive travelling support. What a ridiculous stat.
So that bodes well for this weekend’s upcoming game against Victory.

Worst – Still 6th
This competition is so inept and hopeless that even after that terrible performance we are still in the top 6. Why? Because the rest of the comp is as useless as us. Brisbane didn’t capitalise in Wellington typifies the entire season. Now the marketing spin will be “8 teams still fighting for the top 6!!!”
Bah, who cares. Someone put us out of our misery. Scraping into the 6 isn’t a good thing. The entire finals series will follow suite like every other year. The bottom 2 sides will be knocked out every week and we’ll end up with 1 v 2 yet again. The entire final series is redundant.
If we don’t make the 6, we don’t have to boycott the finals. But if we do make the 6, then we can boycott.
Does anyone outside of Sydney FC or Newcastle fan bases truly believe they can make the grand final and win? This will be the worst attended and rated finals series in the history of the A-League. Wake me up when September ends.

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