The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Sydney FC (Rd 8)

A-League 2018/19 Round 8 vs Sydney FC 15/12/2018 ANZ Stadium
1-3 Loss

We battle the weather gods to witness yet another capitulation on the pitch and question our life decisions.

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Worst – Standard #SydneyDerby Weather
Like many people, I spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon refreshing the BOM Warnings webpage and the weather radar to track the storms. The predictions and reality were ever changing and I went from deciding not to go to the game because forget driving in that, to “hmmm its all clear on the warnings now, let’s go.” Then I saw the trains were broken completely which would have affected a large number of people. The crowd of 18,000 was to be expected after those thunderstorms, the road chaos and the lack of trains. Then the game is delayed for an hour. What fun. Is this becoming a Sydney Derby tradition that we have ridiculous weather before the game?

Best – Unchanged Lineup, SFC Vulnerable
Babbel named an unchanged lineup from the team that beat CCM last week. Ziggler had an “injury concern” during the week so not sure if that was legit or just mind games. Roly has got himself back onto the bench after a few weeks out which is promising.
When I saw SFC’s lineup and their centre back pairing of Calvar and van der Linden, which meant no Wilkinson and an untested partnership, I named it our best chance to beat SFC. They’ve shown they are vulnerable the last couple of weeks and if we could keep the pressure on them, we could come away with the 3 points.

Best – Opening 25 Minutes
For the opening 25 minutes or so, the above actually seemed possible. WSW were in control in the midfield and had SFC’s defence on the back foot. AB10 kept putting balls behind their defence and Kamau and Sotirio kept latching onto them. If Jaush’s touch was better we could have created a bunch more chances. But he too often went for some fancy one touch flick or his cross went nowhere. Frustrating. However, Sydney’s defence was all over the place and you could tell they were struggling with communication. It got even better for us when van der Linden went off injured so the defence had yet another change to deal with.
The dominance was rewarded from a perfect AB10 free kick that left Redmayne scrambling and Riera steering it home to break his drought. It was deserved and my hopes of a convincing victory were edging closer.

Worst – Vedran Stupidity
To say I am angry about this sequence of events is an understatement. As above, we were dominating and winning the match. It was 26 minutes in. So why in the hell does Vedran think he should be sprinting out of his box for absolutely no reason at all? Ziggler was alongside le Fondre who was closer to the sideline than the box. There were defenders in the middle of the box. So WTF did Vedran think it was a good idea to come flying out, jump up and take out Ziggler, realise he messed up and instead of actually just standing on le Fondre and be a defender until someone replaced him, drops BACK to allow le Fondre to shoot on target and then stupidity dives to save it – and get a fingertip to it.

The red was correct. Make no mistakes about it.

I would love to know why he thought any of those decisions were a good idea and the justification for any of them. If le Fondre scored, we put it down to a mistake and we dominate them again and take the lead. But instead, Vedran lost this match for us.
Its as simple as that. His extremely poor decision making cost the team the match.

And that stupidity put Babbel into a no win situation. As soon as I saw the numbers go up I instantly thought of Arrigo Sacchi taking off Roberto Baggio at USA94 when Gianluca Pagliuca handled the ball outside the box against Norway.

I was disappointed and dumbfounded when AB10’s number went up. But then thought about it from a tactical perspective. What other choice did Babbel have? He explained his decision. He knew the team would have to defend more than ever once they were down to 10 men. AB10 is not renowned for his defensive work rate and so Babbel took him off to try and protect the lead. He knows Kamau and Sotirio will run up and down the flanks if required and basically set the team as a 4-4-1. Riera was required because we know he is a workhorse, can defend and also hold the ball up (until he gets hacked by 3 players at once).

The only other option I saw was perhaps taking off one of Kamau or Sotirio and have Riera drop deeper and the faster younger winger ready for a ball over the top to exploit SFC. Don’t think this would have worked either. We hardly had the ball after the red card so AB10 most likely would have been completely ineffective anyway.
Fans may whinge and complain about Babbel’s decision, but the blame is all on Vedran for putting the team through that.

Worst – :`(

Worst – Set Piece “Defending”
Let’s get a few things out of the way first. The first corner was suspect it was even a corner. The second Sotirio couldn’t kick a ball out for a throw in. The third Ziggler was cooked and could hardly jump and let SFC score direct. But at the end of the day, WSW conceded off 3 corners and two of them were the second balls that SFC reacted to quicker. Sure, they were lucky the ball fell to them for them to put away, but it doesn’t matter. The argument of 10 men is moot when you’re defending a corner. The numbers advantage doesn’t really come into play at all. Its man vs man, you vs me. To let them score all 3 goals that way is frustrating to say the least.
The team actually dealt with the sustained pressure so it rather reaffirms Babbel’s decision in taking AB10 off. We just had nothing going forward but if you can’t defend corners then there really is no hope at all. It just goes back to Babbel’s #mentality statements over and over again.

Best/Worst – Angry Babbel
Babbel’s press conference is once again filled with truths. His body language and answers clearly show a man beyond pissed off. He absolutely hates that we conceded off corners and were beaten to the ball for them. He is sick of the weak mental strength of this squad that crumble in the face of any adversity. Many of these players need to wake up and stand up.

Me personally, I think Babbel should stand Vedran down for a month or more. He needs to learn a lesson and gain the trust back from the coach and the team. I don’t care if Nizic is a poor goalkeeper. Vedran screwed us in this match and needs to be punished.
Half the squad is off contract and I wouldn’t be surprised if Babbel let’s most of them go. He needs to build a mentally strong outfit that will fight and not crumble. You can see the frustration in his face throughout the presser.

Shoutout to the journos trying to get a quote from Babbel along the lines of “Babbel: I made a mistake” in regards to him taking off AB10. As if he would give you that satisfaction. He stands by his decision 100%, and so he should. It wasn’t the lack of AB10 that lost us the match. It was the poor set piece defending.

Best – Looking Forward to the West West Wild West Derby
A new record starting at zero where we can all debate who the Team for All of Western Sydney truly is.
Also, a message to Macarthur South West Sydney United (or whatever you’re called): GTFO of Fairfield and Liverpool and stick to Campbelltown/Camden.

See you space cowboy…

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