Western Sydney Wanderers 2 - Adelaide United 1
Sometimes I will often speak about how a solid defence is a good way to win a football match. Adelaide United have now had two disappointing away trips to the Central Coast and now to Western Sydney which show that but whilst it is fair to say that they've met with probably the best set of defenses in the A-League, tonight they were beaten by more optimistic football.
Adelaide went into this match trying to play a new system of 4-5-1. Western Sydney on the other hand were far more positive with a 4-3-3. Carrusca's goal before the hour mark was basically proof that whilst it is possible to eek out a goal by a patient build-up, Western Sydney had vastly different ideas.
Even if you just plot the two basic formations on a piece of paper, you can see that Adelaide's 4-5-1 is wider and more expansive. This is all good and well if you happen to be playing on a nice expansive pitch like Hindmarsh Stadium which is 120yds x 87yds but at Parramatta Stadium which is 120yds x 75yds, it suits a more compact formation.
Adelaide like to swing the ball out before arcing it back to the centre; this was in stark contrast to Western Sydney who through a mid and front section with only 3 in the line, play a punchier and more abrupt style of football. To be honest that lesson should have been learnt last season at this very venue when Western Sydney ripped them apart 6-1.
Jurić's two goals, the first which was a low level rocket and the second which was off a brilliantly timed header, were both scored within the 18 yard box. Again, if you were arranging a set of defences to deal with that, 5 in the back might have been better to cope with Western Sydney who can strike with 6 players all playing very high up the line.
Western Sydney's danger and this was apparent a fair bit, was that particularly Aaron Mooy would be caught out by trying to be too eager and running into an offside position; even when there was no trap being set.
I will say this though, this was the first time that I have seen Awer Mabil on the park and he is as fluid and natural a player as you are ever likely to see. Even before his first touch, he is in position and is playing the ball off the chest and head like he's playing in a World Cup Final.
The 18-year-old Adelaide United attacker needs the official paperwork to appease FIFA's international status regulations.
"I don't know about the situation,'' Mabil said.
"They (Australian authorities) haven't rang me yet so I hope they're in the process of doing it.
"I hope so because I want to go to the next Young Socceroos camp.
- The Adelaide Advertiser, 23rd Oct 2013
In all seriousness, I hope that he isn't picked up by the Young Socceroos, I hope that Ange Postecoglou picks him up immediately for full Socceroos' duty. If he doesn't, I suspect that Awer won't be playing in the A-League for much longer but be picked up by a European club. Ange needs to make sure that Awer's ticket to Rio next year is sorted and sorted quickly, he's simply that good.
The downside to Western Sydney's game tonight is that they were clumsy. Too many two-footed sliding tackles resulted in five yellow cards. Whilst there's a place for enthusiasm, being sent off doesn't help one's cause.
Western Sydney were worth their 2-1 win tonight and they've achieved something new. Unless I'm very much mistaken, I think that that's the first match that they have ever won after going a goal down. Admittedly they've only been around for one season and so there weren't that many stats for me to check but I think I'm right with that one.
At least for the moment, there'll be dancing on the streets of Pirtek tonight (yes, Pirtek have paid for the naming rights to the suburb; I'm sure that Pirtek City Council will be happy about that) as this win puts them for the moment at the top of the league... how I hate it so very much*
*I'm sky blue.