Let's start off with the good...
1) Adam le Fondre
Adam le Fondre has proven to be a terrific signing so far, with 11 goals in his first 14 A-League appearances. The Englishman has just been such a reliable player for Sydney, with an admirable workrate and a level of fitness that puts him streets ahead of nearly every A-League player. A good combination of pace, good finishing, and effectiveness on the ball makes him a perfect fit in a 4-4-2 system.
2) Skipper resurgence
Not many would have expected Alex Brosque to have played as many games as he has this season. The inspirational captain has been just superb for the Sky Blues, and leading from the front like we know he can. It's very pleasing to see Brosque play at such a good level at the age of 35 - I can't praise him enough for how well he keeps himself fit, motivated, and at such a high performance level. He's been giving his all in every match and has really dragged us over the line a few times.
3) Thank F*ck For Redders
In the wise words of Jacob Tratt - 'thank f*ck for Redders'. Redmayne has been the difference between points won and lost this season. The #1 continues to prove himself as a valuable part of the team, and has saved our bacon quite often. From a brilliant penalty save against Brisbane, the clutch save at the death of the Adelaide home match, or the often forgotten massive saves against Victory, Jets, Mariners, and Glory.
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Now the not so good....
1) Defensively not good
A lot of the goals Sydney have conceded this year have been incredibly soft goals - and there's been a lot of issues with the back four this season. Zullo has been a bit prone to committing to far up the pitch, and not tracking back in time, Wilkinson hasn't showed the levels of leadership you'd want from your vice-captain and normally defensive rock. Jop van der Linden was quite a disappointment overall from his appearances but he wasn't solely at fault for all the dumb goals conceded. Calver has stepped in in place of Jop and done... okay? He's not quite sharp enough on the ball and his passing isn't quite good enough.
Milos Ninkovic is pretty much wasted in the current formation, sadly. He's best suited to playing as centrally as possible and going out wide when necessary - not playing almost exclusively in wide areas. Ninkovic out on the left wing is just not a good use of such a talented player. A player who won the Johnny Warren Medal playing centrally as an attacking midfielder shouldn't be pushed out wide - it's just bizarre to me. I have really high standards for Milos and him just not performing well enough really disappoints me - he's one of my favourite players I've had the pleasure of seeing live.
3) Brillante not so brilliant
Josh Brillante and Brandon O'Neill's partnership over the last three years at defensive midfield has been the bedrock for how the team has played - and when they were played out of a match usually we lost or at least failed to score. O'Neill has been much more consistent this season and less likely to straight up dumb moments, unlike his partner in crime. Brillante has been almost lost looking this season, partly due to the new 4-4-2 formation I'm sure. Going forward I think Paulo Retre or Anthony Caceres would be a better choice to start alongside O'Neill.
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I think Sydney can still definitely continue to challenge for the Premier's Plate, however I fear it is nearly out of reach if they fail to win the matches against Victory and Wellington coming up shortly. A lot of points dropped earlier in the season which have already started to bite us in the backside.
Never fear though, we still have an exciting Asian Champions League campaign coming up and I'm surprisingly optimistic ahead of it. Our young guns like Ivanovic, Devlin, Lokolingoy, and Joel King all have a good chance of making a name for themselves during the rotation in this period.
Thank you for reading this half-term report, and I hope you've enjoyed the article. I'd like to thank those who have donated to my ko-fi page. It is very much appreciated and helps me create more content.
Apologies for lack of match report after Saturday, but have had a weird weekend - normal service will resume on Wednesday.
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