Western United

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Western United 4 - 1 Macarthur
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Season Guide
2020/2021

Western United

In


Lachlan Wales (mid) Melbourne City; Victor Sanchez (mid) free agent;

Out


James Delianov (sp) (gk) Adelaide United; Jonathan Aspropotamitis (sp) (def) Perth Glory; Valentino Yuel (sp) (att) Newcastle Jets;

In their first season since creation Western United immediately made impression and, thanks to vital contributions from 37-year-old captain Diamanti and A-League’s All Time Goalscorer 35-year-old Berisha, the play-offs were reached. It was exactly the goals of those two players after the COVID-break that brought this success, with the other standing out performer during the entire campaign the 38-year-old centre-back Durante. Coach Rudan kept the transfer activity during off-season to a minimum and nobody important left or joined the squad. However, with all these ‘old dogs’ now being another year older it’s hard to see them able to carry the team on their shoulders again, especially considering the coming congested schedule due to the late start to the campaign. Rudan knows that and he has high hopes that emerging stars Dillon, Calver, Skotadis and Burgess would be playing much more important roles this season. Neither of them has been able to find long-term consistency last term though and many unknowns regarding United’s strength in depth remain. Rudan seems to be not sure about his starting XI either and in pre-season he used 6 different formations and over 20 field players. If the likes of Diamanti and Berisha remain fit and sharp, Green and Blacks would be very tough team to face, but many pundits think it would be a big if, considering the players’ age.

Target


Goal is to make the play-offs again, but considering that all the veterans will be an year older and there was no serious reinforcement activity this might be tall order to achieve. Still top 10 finish can be expected.

Season Review
2019/2020

№5: Western United

Western United’s first ever season since creation was a memorable one with semi-final appearance achieved at the end of it all. Solid results throughout the campaign had the top 6 position under control pretty much all throughout. Then United edged Roar 1:0 in the Elimination Final before eventually running out of steam in the semis when tiredness played major factor in 0:2 defeat vs. Melbourne City. Making the most against those sides that didn’t qualify for the play-offs was key, 8 of the 12 league wins during the regular season were against teams that finished 7th and lower. Also vital for the successful campaign were the group of veterans – 38-year-old Durante was rock in defence, 37-year-old captain Diamanti was amongst the most creative players in the league, while 35-year-old Berisha showed everyone why he remains the A-League’s All Time Record Goalscorer. The ability to switch from defending deep to aggressive high pressing in a flash was amongst the main strengths during the campaign, with the other impressive thing in United’s displays this season their mental strength late in games with 7 of their 12 wins secured inside final third of matches. As much as the experience of the veterans was invaluable it was also major weakness especially after the COVID-break when the hectic schedule saw them tire a lot. This was the main reason in the end why nothing was left in the tank come the semi-final. Coach Rudan did well to achieve what he achieved with this completely new squad of players. On top of mentioned already veterans Burgess had memorable campaign, especially post-Christmas, he scored 6 goals in final 8 rounds of the regular season. Not yet clear how the COVID-situation will affect the team and also it’s unlikely that all those 35+ veterans will have another strong season in them, so United definitely need to look at many things and possibilities ahead of next season.


Player of the Season: Besart Berisha

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