When the NSL died a slow and painful death and the early murmurings of a new competition that would eventually become the A-League began…
With the A-League postponed, here’s a review of the Western Sydney Wanderers’ 2019-20 season.
The Wanderers started the season well, but eventually the wheels started to fall off. Markus Babbel was later sacked and replaced by Jean-Paul de Marigny, which brought some improvement as the Wanderers went undefeated in six of their last seven games before the season’s suspension. Although they were only out the top six by a single point, the Wanderers have under-performed this season.
Season highlight: Taking points in all three games against Sydney FC
Although Sydney FC are the better team of the two, they were never able to get the better of their western rivals. The Wanderers defeated Sydney in Round 3 and Round 21 and shared the points in Round 24. This is a shining light in a disappointing season.
Season low: Seven-game winless run
The Wanderers hit the ground running at the start of the season, winning their first three games. From there, they had a seven-game run without picking up a single win, with the Jets and Phoenix – who were struggling at the time – taking three points from them. This poor run of form will come back to haunt them if the Wanderers miss the finals.
End of season bonus: Mitchell Duke
The captain stood up this season for his side, being the club’s leading goal-scorer with 11 goals. Contributing to 40 per cent of his side’s scoring, he performed well through his team’s rough patch. He’s scored goals when he’s been called upon, so a wage bonus would be a nice reward.
Chopping block: Jack Greenwood, Tristan Prendergast or Vedran Janjetovic
Having five goalkeepers on a wage bill in the current financial situation is not ideal. Understandably, depth was needed due to Janjetovic recovering from injury, but even then, five is too much. Moving on one or two of the goalkeepers should be done to free up cap space and cut costs.
Season score: 4/10
Big things were expected of the Wanderers coming into this season. A new training facility, a new home ground to play at, and the arrivals of Nicolai Müller and Pirmin Schwegler indicated the club were looking to make a statement in season 2019-20. And although the campaign started well, it’s been downhill from there. The team under-performed, Markus Babbel was then sacked as coach, and now the Wanderers sit in eighth position. When (or if) the season resumes, they’d be desperate to make up ground.