Carl Robinson is the man tasked with leading Western Sydney Wanderers out of the doldrums, with the A-League club unveiling the former Newcastle mentor as their new head coach on Thursday.
The A-League has been entertaining up until its postponement.
It’s due to start again on July 16.
This is how the Western Sydney Wanderers’ season was assessed as it stands prior to the restart.
What’s the story?
Western Sydney Wanderers would be disappointed with their A-League 2019-20 season as they currently sit eighth on the A-League ladder. They are still in the reckoning to play finals as they sit just one point outside of the top six.
They may be eighth, but they have been well led by Mitchell Duke, who has given his heart and soul to the club. Duke’s endeavour has never wavered this A-League season. Without his contribution of 11 goals and how hard he works without the ball, it’s difficult to say where they would be. They definitely wouldn’t be just one point outside the top six.
Remarkably, three of the four games that Western Sydney Wanderers won with Markus Babbel as their coach, they won consecutively in the first three rounds of the season. The third of those came in the Sydney derby against top-of-the-table Sydney FC. Of the 14 games that Babbel was coach of the Wanderers this season, they won four, had two draws and eight losses.
Unfortunately, football is predominantly a results-based business and Markus Babbel was sacked after the Wanderers’ Round 15 1-nil loss to the Perth Glory. In that game there was a possible goal to Wanderers striker Kwame Yeboah that was overturned by VAR for handball when it was initially given a goal as the ball was deemed to have come off Yeboah’s chest.
Assistant coach Jean-Paul de Marigny took over as interim coach for the remainder of the A-League 2019-20 season. The Wanderers have played attacking football under de Marigny as they have scored at least one goal in the seven games that he has been coach. He has done a good job from a results perspective in his seven games in charge, winning three games, sharing the points in three games and losing one game in Round 22, 3-1 to the Brisbane Roar.
Unfortunately, arguably the Wanderers’ most important player, Daniel Lopar, won’t be returning for the remainder of the A-League 2019-20 season for personal reasons. Lopar will be returning next season. It does give an opportunity to another goalkeeper to make a name for themselves, but it’s a huge loss.
A big loss for the Wanderers has been Daniel Wilmering as he played a part in their first three wins of the season. Wilmering suffered a season ending knee injury in 2019.
The five most talented players
5. Nicolai Muller has a total of five goals and three assists as it stands in the A-League 2019-20 season.
4. Matthew Jurman has been a pivotal part of the Wanderers changing to a back three under interim coach Jean-Paul de Marigny as he is a talented left-footed centre back.
3. Keanu Baccus is a player with plenty of talent, but he needs to fulfill the ability that he has in order to reach his potential.
2. Dylan McGowan has been a pivotal part of the Wanderers’ defence in the centre of it. They would have conceded more goals without McGowan’s presence.
1. Mitchell Duke is a quality striker that often plays to his optimum level.
Honourable mention: Bruce Kamau has shown glimpses of his talent with moments of brilliance.
Bruce Kamau has the ability to play on a wing, in the centre of midfield or as an impact player off the substitutes bench.
Who needs to lift?
Kwame Yeboah is a player that has the ability to score goals, but he needs to show much more endeavour without the ball. Yeboah has the potential to be a valuable player for the Wanderers if he can play to the level he is capable of.
What has to alter?
The Wanderers will need to be good defensively given that their quality goalkeeper in Daniel Lopar won’t be returning for the rest of the A-League 2019-20 season. The Wanderers need to take risks and play bold, attacking football as they can still make the top six if they keep winning,