Three A-League clubs have entered quarantine in Qatar before the resumption of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday.
The A-League had been entertaining up until its postponement. It’s due to start again on 16 July, and this is how the Sydney FC season was assessed as it stands prior to the restart.
Sydney FC would be satisfied with their season as it stands given the fact they’re all but assured of winning the premiers plate for the A-League 2019-20 season. Credit to Steve Corica for instilling a good culture in the team along with a winning mentality.
They are well led by captain Alex Wilkinson, who has plenty of experience and appears to be a quality person. The whole team appears to have good camaraderie. Credit to everyone involved in the club for building a strong brand through being not only on top of the A-League ladder but a team that plays team-first football.
Despite the fact they sit on top of the table for 2019-20 as it stands, Sydney FC still have parts of their game to work on. That’s due to the fact that perfection is impossible. They have just five points from a possible 12 points in their last four A-League games of the season. That’s a worrying sign, as it doesn’t appear due to complacency.
Even though Sydney FC have won only one of their last four games,l they should bounce back, but they have to make some tweaks and perhaps some changes if they are to be successful in the 2019-20 finals series.
5. Ryan McGowan
He has played every minute of every game. McGowan is one of the reasons Sydney FC have conceded the fewest goals in the A-League season thus far.
4. Milos Ninkovic
He’s a prodigious talent despite getting towards the end of his career. Ninkovic has been impressive in the final third, with five goals and two assists. His passing in general play is still mesmerising at times.
3. Luke Brattan
He’s been an extremely good player in the midfield. Brattan is a quality passer of the ball and helps Sydney FC control the tempo of the game.
2. Adam Le Fondre
He’s scored the most goals of any foreign player thus far this season, with 17 goals in the 20 games that he has played.
1. Andrew Redmayne
He’s possibly the best goalkeeper in the competition. He gives the defence confidence, and they’ve conceded just 16 goals in 20 games played. The next best is Perth Glory, who have conceded 22 goals.
Honourable mention: Rhyan Grant
He’s arguably been the form right back of the competition contributing one goal and providing four assists.
Paulo Retre can play a number of roles: right back, defensive midfielder, central midfielder and even right wing. Harry Van der Saag has the ability to play at right back, perhaps even left back or in the midfield. Trent Buhagiar has the ability to play on the wing or up front predominantly as an impact player off the bench.
Alexander Baumjohann needs to improve to prove he warrants a spot in the starting line-up on a permanent basis. There’s no doubting Baumjohann has potential as he has scored one goal and provided five assists, but he has to improve.
Joel King needs to justify he warrants a starting position in the left back position with Michael Zullo back from injury. Anthony Caceres showed what he is capable of with a phenomenal goal against Melbourne Victory in Round 22, but Caceres needs to prove that the goal wasn’t an aberration and that he can fulfil his ability on a consistent basis. He can play in the centre of midfield or as an impact player off the bench; it’s up to him to show that he can fulfil his potential.
Not much apart from maybe someone else playing at left back other than Joel King. Michael Zullo is an option but has had a serious injury keeping him out of the team. Sydney FC can always experiment with either Paulo Retre, Rhyan Grant or even Harry Van der Saag playing that role. Preferably it would be good to see Van der Saag play in that position as he has plenty of ability.
It would be great to see Sydney FC experiment with youngsters starting in a game all at once, including with the likes of Van der Saag, Jordi Swibel, Marco Tilio and Trent Buhagiar all in the starting line-up. Obviously this could only happen if it was mathematically impossible for any other team apart from Sydney FC to win the premiers plate in 2019-20.