Once Were Wanderers, The Sudden Decline of Western Sydney
January 03, 2015
They came they saw and they conquered but the champions of Asia are now Australia’s worst team. Western Sydney were forgiven for losing A-League matches while they were taking down Asia’s powerhouses, but two months on from their Asian triumph the gloss has certainly gone and the club is in turmoil. Loyal supporters are showing their frustrations while players are poised to leave and their stars have also set off on international duty. Tony Popovic has refused to write off season 2014/2015 but can last year’s grand finalists really make a run at the finals this year? On current form…. They’ve not a hope in hell.
Old Habits Die Hard in New Year
A New Year’s Day fixture against fellow strugglers Central Coast provided the Wanderers with a perfect chance to begin 2015 with a bang. However as has been their story this season, the party poppers fizzled rather than exploded as the Wanderers fired another blank in front of goal. At least then nil nil draw means they’re undefeated this year… But draws won’t send the misfiring Wanderers up the A-League ladder and while a clean sheet can be admired, at the other end things are becoming almost embarrassing.
Western Sydney has now gone 7 hours without finding the back of the net, nearly 5 matches. Their last A-League goal coming against rivals Sydney in a 1-1 draw at the end of November. It’s no wonder they’re the lowest scoring side in the competition with a measly 6 goals all season. Tom Juric and Mark Bridge are the club’s leading scorers but with just 2 each there’s certainly no honour in being at the top. The latter hasn’t beat a goalkeeper since round 2. Juric is now on international duty giving Tony Popovic further headaches in attack. Early season signing Nikita Rukavytsya has yet to find his form up front with the former Socceroo striker goalless in 9 appearances so far. Oh how the Wanderers need a forward to fire.
Supporters show their Displeasure in Ugly Post Match Scenes
Western Sydney will argue they have the best fans in the A-League but even the Wanderers most ardent supporters are appearing to lose faith. An unsavoury post match incident after the club’s dull draw with the Mariners saw fans voice their displeasure at the players and things nearly escalated further when fullback Shannon Cole responded to the Black and Red army. Stewards were forced to prevent one spectator entering the pitch to continue his argument. An investigation into the ugly scenes is ongoing while the passion and unity shown by the team and fans is starting to titer.
Imports on their way out?
The January transfer window may mean a shake up for Western Sydney with some of the club’s high profile signings set to depart. Brazilian Vitor Saba hasn’t hidden his frustrations at being a bit part player in recent weeks and the attacking midfielder looks likely to leave. Saba signed for the club in June and despite his obvious talent on the field it appears coaching staff aren’t thrilled by his attitude. He was left out of the Wanderers squad completely for the home game against Central Coast.
Seyi Adeleke is also on the outer. The Nigerian who signed ahead of the new season before didn’t link up with the club until 6 weeks after putting pen to paper due to Australia’s strict quarantine rules surrounding the Ebola Virus. The Defender who transferred from Italian Club Lazio has failed to make an impact in Sydney is another that isn’t expected to be at at the Wanderers after the transfer window.
While the Wanders aren’t mathematically out of the finals race the side sitting bottom of the table is more than 10 points off the top 6. Western Sydney may have one game in hand on the competition but they’ll need some sort of turn around to even go close to making a challenge for the finals. Winless in 11 matches the cellar dwellers haven’t tasted success in more than 250 days. It’s by far the worst run in the club’s brief but successful history. After successive grand finals in their first 2 seasons and that remarkable Asian Cup success, the next trophy the Wanderers look set to win is the wooden spoon.
Next up is the high flying, free scoring Melbourne Victory. Do Western Sydney stand a chance?