Wanderers defensive lineup still a mystery

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Fielding four at the back on consecutive occasions only once this season, Tony Popovic is yet to settle on the make-up of his defence.

Jack Clisby and Scott Neville have seemingly nailed down the left and right back positions however an ideal centreback pairing is still up in the air.

Though missing out on the win against Adelaide following his red card in the Sydney Derby, Aritz Borda looks to have earned his spot at the back.

A goal against the Jets, a passing accuracy of 82 percent and the experience to know where to position himself, Borda looks like a very solid choice for centreback.

But who should partner him?

After an error against the Mariners, Robert Cornthwaite was left out of the squad for ‘football reasons’ and replaced by Jonathan Aspropotamitis (Aspro) for the clash against the Glory.

Though unable to stop two goals being scored, Aspro will force Popovic to choose between the promise of his youth or wealth of Cornthwaite’s experience when they come up against a lethal Victory defence on Saturday.

A former Socceroo, 31-year-old Cornthwaite has been average since putting on the red and black.

An errant back pass against the Central Coast cost the Wanderers dearly a fortnight ago and a 78 percent pass accuracy so far this season is some way behind the 91 percent pass accuracy Aspro managed in his five appearances last year.

Cornthwaite’s height has proven inevitably handy in the air winning 73 percent of aerial duels however the defender has won just 58 percent of all duels.

Aspro hasn’t performed well in his two appearances this season, winning just a third of all his duels, in comparison to 61 percent last year.

At just 20 years of age Aspro is still a developing player and can only get better with every game while Cornthwaite is now past his prime. That said, experience has to count for something and with so much under his belt, Cornthwaite may just be the safer option at the back.

Ultimately, it does come down to choosing between the promise of youth or the reliability of experience. Popovic will have to make a decision when the Wanderers look for their first cleansheet of the season against a dangerous Melbourne Victory side on Saturday.

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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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