Another game another draw. It’s been the season of 1 pointers, so can we really be surprised our last match of the year finished 1-1?
The result aside, which I honestly think was a good one away to an in form Brisbane Roar, let’s take a look at what we can take away from the game.
Wanderers are a 1 man team
I don’t think a Wanderers team has ever been so reliant on 1 player as this team seems to be on Nico Martinez. Nico started the game on the bench and came on for Josh Sotirio just before the hour mark. The difference before and after Nico’s inclusion was almost indescribable but plain for all to see. It was a completely different side.
Without Nico, the Wanderers looked lost, tame, stale and headed for defeat. When Nico came on at 1-0 down, the impact was immediate. He took complete control of the midfield, held up and directed play and set up may chances. He is absolutely crucial to the Wanderers and needs to play as many minutes as possible.
The fans are starting to turn on Popa
As soon as the squad list was announced, the fans reacted and badly. There was particularly a lot of rage from the inclusion of Sotirio in the starting lineup in place of Nico. I have never seen so much #PopaOut pre game and so little push back. If we hadn’t taken a point from the game, I can only imagine how strong the calls would have gotten. Here’s a few examples which I’ll let speak for themselves:
However, Popa did explain the decision in the post-match press conference; stating that Nico was left out because he was “flat” during the week at training and there were concerns regarding his back during the warm-up.
Sotirio is not a footballer
Sotirio was awful. Not only did he not add anything, his constant errors and poor ball control ruined numerous promising attacks and lead to far too many counter attacks for the Roar. He could be forgiven if this was a one off but it has been constant over the last few years. How can Popa justify picking Sotirio over Cole, Lustica and Shabow?
Dimas can hit a mean free kick
Like many when Dimas and Nico both stood over the ball for a free kick on the edge of the area, I was praying Dimas was not taking it. When he did take it, I was pleasantly surprised as he sent the ball flying to the top left corner to make it 1-1.
Dimas now has 2 goals this season, the other being a penalty against Newcastle. Hopefully this wasn’t a fluke and we can expect more quality free kicks.
Tyson is fighting for his spot
Jerrad Tyson had a relatively good game, making some important saves including a double save to keep the game at 1-1. It was obvious that he is doing all he can, as he needs to, to show why Janjetovic isn’t guaranteed to walk into the club as first choice keeper. Although he didn’t get a clean sheet, it was a good performance where he was beaten by a very good goal. He’ll need to continue to improve in the coming weeks to retain his spot.
No Da Silva and no Mac
In pre-game and post-game interviews Popa confirmed that the FFA denied the request for a guest spot for Eduardo Da Silva 3 weeks ago and they have “moved on”. All but confirming that WSW won’t be dropping a current visa player to make room for Da Silva.
Unfortunately Popa also crushed dreams that the Wanderers could be signing Jamie Maclaren from the Roar in January. When asked if the Wanderers were pursuing a deal with Maclaren, Popa responded with a definitive “No.”
So what does this all mean?
Ultimately our chances at the title neither improved nor took a dive with this result. In the end it was a good and unexpected point away to a very good and in form side. The real test comes next round on 1 January 2017 against Perth at ANZ.
See you all there!