The Best and Worst of Wanderers vs Wellington Phoenix (Rd 3)

A-League 2018/19 Round 3 vs Wellington Phoenix 3/11/2018 Westpac Stadium
3-0 Win

We travel across the ditch where Markus Babbel had to watch in the stands as we earned our first 3 points of the campaign.

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Best – Did You Know We Won the ACL?
So this weekend is the 4th anniversary of the AFC Champions League win by the Wanderers.
Did you know WSW won the ACL in 2014? I thought I’d let you know just in case you didn’t know this lesser known fact.
A couple of fans even made a video of the entire campaign…

Best – Ringing in the changes
I was surprised to see Tongyik benched when the lineup was announced. Then minutes before kickoff Majok replaced him on the bench because he got injured during the warm up. I suspect he wasn’t 100% after the derby but travelled because we are quite light at the moment in defensive stocks. Ziggler is still apparently a week away and he can’t get fit quick enough to shore up that backline.
Mahazi also pulled up sore after the derby which gave young O’Doherty a chance to stake a claim for that central midfield role. He had a good cameo off the bench in the Sydney Derby and many did call for him to start. He had a good game in Wellington, topped off with a goal in the dying minutes. Likewise with Kamau. He also had a positive cameo last week and was rewarded with a start.

Worst – Wundy Wullington at its Worst
If there ever was a perfect example of the type of conditions and weather that Wellington can serve up, this was it. Welcome to the A-League Alex Baumjohann. Just wait until you die of heat exhaustion in January. The wind was blowing gales and extremely unpredictable. There was a period during the game where WSW were defending corner after corner and the win was sending the ball any which way. It was amazing we kept it out.

Best – Roly & Kamau
Kamau’s performance did himself no harm to stake a claim to start every week. The difference between him and Sotirio was very visible to see. His touch is good, he makes intelligent runs, and he picked out AB10 for the first goal. I see Sotirio as someone you bring on in the last 15 minutes when you’re up and you need someone to press the tiring defence and maybe get behind them on the odd occasion when you’re attacking. He isn’t a game changer. What you see is what you get. I challenged Kamau and Fitzy on last week’s podcast episode to force their way into the squad. Kamau got his chance and showed what he is capable of. Let’s hope that the knock he got which forced him to be subbed off is only a minor niggle and he’ll be okay for the trip to Mudgee.

Roly also had a great game against his former club. All that was missing was a goal to silence the boos he eventually started receiving after being hacked for the umpteenth time. He was rotating with AB10 and Kamau and causing all kinds of dramas for the Phoenix defence. Was unlucky not to score but was instrumental in the first goal and many other chances we created. Is this the year we finally get the Roly we signed?

Best – Sexy Quick Football
As Joshua pointed out on his How To Beat article on Friday, the way to punish Wellington was to hit them on the counter quickly so they don’t have time to set their shape and put many players behind the ball. It almost seemed like the team read the article because it’s exactly what we did. The first goal was a result of attacking quickly and the 3rd goal was likewise. Attacking with speed, one-two touch football and putting the ball in the back of the net. It’s what we’ve been clamouring for for years. We got used to getting to the box, then the ball being recycled all the way back to the keeper to start again.
But under Babbel, when we win the ball, he wants us to attack quickly and get behind the defence. We saw it in stages in the FFA Cup and in patches the last couple of weeks. It is still a work in progress but we’re starting to see what he is instilling into the team.

Best – AB10/10
Alex Baumjohann has the experts talking about him already. As WSW fans, we are used to seeing our supposed best player come into the squad and take nearly the entire season to start showing their value and skill. Sometimes it never really comes. But AB10 has started like a house on fire. He scored and assisted in the FFA Cup, was arguably our best in the Sydney Derby and scored again in Wellington.
But it’s not just the goals that he is producing. His slick passing, turns and vision is something defences need to be wary of. He is a key player and once the rest of the team get on his wavelength, we’ll be even more deadly in the final third.
I think this is just the beginning of what AB10 can offer this team.

Best – Team Celebration
When Riera finally got off the mark from the penalty spot, the first thing he did was sprint to jump over the advertising boards and celebrate with the subs and trainers warming up behind the goal. When AB10 scored his first A-League goal there was a group hug with the entire team. After O’Doherty slid on his stomach after sealing the 3 points, the entire team surrounded him and celebrated as one. This is a positive sign. This means they are all on the same page and are in it together. Unlike last year where many players were at odds with the Bus Driver, this seems like a completely different #mentality.
From a fan, it’s what we want to see.

Best – Never Listen to the Experts
All the EXPERTS before the game tipped Wellington to win the match? I’d like to know on what basis they made those tips. We have a really good record against Wellington over the last few years. We were robbed in the derby of a legit goal and possible penalty. Wellington are industrial with only 17 players in their squad. Yet the “experts” unanimously tipped against WSW.
No wonder Babbel keeps mentioning these “experts”. He is relishing proving them all wrong. Write us off and we’ll show some quality. We end the round in the top 4, a far cry from “the worst team in the competition” which Babbel loves to remind us all of.
Now we head to Mudgee, a quasi home match against a Brisbane side struggling to find form. A win next week and it leads into our first real home game of the season nicely.


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