Western Sydney must build from the back

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Is attack truly the best form of defence? The answer for the Western Sydney Wanderers and Tony Popovic right now is clearly no.

Despite a dangerous looking attack, conceding seven goals in three games has seen the Wanderers embarrassed in the Sydney Derby and somehow squander a win against the Jets.

Despite dominating in attack for much of the match against Newcastle on Sunday, poor defending and a goalkeeping howler combined to hand the Jets a draw.

Having fielded three different back fours in their first three A-League games and with three of their back four against the Jets not at the club last season, it’s easy to see why the Red and Black are struggling defensively.

So while excusable, these defensive frailties need to be addressed sooner rather than later to ensure efforts going forward aren’t wasted.

A key first step to this is by choosing and sticking with the same back four where possible going forward. Obviously Aritz Borda’s red card in the derby made this impossible for the first three games but moving forward it’s something that needs to be done to ensure cohesion at the back.

Though switching off with the whole team in the last 30 minutes, that back four against the Jets looked decent enough for 60 minutes and should be trusted to do so again.

Both Scott Neville and Jack Clisby are great going forward on the wings and also do what’s required of them in defense. Clisby might not be on Scott Jamieson’s level but he’s clearly a better option than Brandan Hamill at left back.

The two centre backs of Robert Cornthwaite and Aritz Borda are certainly tall and experienced enough to do their jobs but both are still acclimatising, something Cornthwaite admitted after the Jets loss.

“He’s (Borda) got a lot of experience, obviously our first match together in the derby wasn’t great… we’re both still finding our feet,” he said.

Once they have settled, Borda and Cornthwaite should be a very solid pairing for Western Sydney with Borda’s headed goal against the Jets proving his ability at either end.

Behind the Wanderers back four for the opening games has been Andrew Redmayne. A talented keeper at times, Redmayne is prone to some very strange and costly mistakes. His inability to stop Andrew Hoole’s freekick against the Jets has fueled calls for him to be dumped in favour of Jerrad Tyson.

This is something that needs to happen for a number of reasons. From appeasing frustrated fans to giving one of the best blokes in football a chance, Tyson needs to be handed a starting spot.

Though a question mark remains over his actual ability in goals, the foundation keeper and fan favourite can help rally fans behind the team each match day and give the Wanderers backline some much needed support both from the goals and the stands.

A clash with the Mariners on Saturday is an ideal way for the Red and Black to start building from the back this season. Without a goal in 180 minutes, the Mariners must be kept scoreless so the Red and Black attack is allowed to have a true impact on the final result.

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Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas
A football fanatic and journalism student who won't leave you wondering about any Wanderers news this season as I cover all things Red and Black for The Football Sack.

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