‘Invincibles’ possible, but it starts with defense says Arnold

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Sydney FC have extended their incredible A-League start with a tenth win of the season, running out comfortable 2-0 winners over a disappointing Brisbane Roar.

For Graham Arnold’s men the victory also marked their eighth cleansheet of the season, having conceded only five goals in 13 games – a record which Arnold believes will be crucial in sustaining come the pointy end of the season.

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“The character and the performance of the boys was outstanding,” he said.

“To win games like that, especially when you have to roll up your sleeves and fight and defend like we did at the end is quality.”

Goals either side of half time from Alex Brosque and Mlios Ninkovic had the Sky Blues cruising towards victory, but a second yellow card for Brosque following a nasty challenge on Luke DeVere ensured a testing final 30 minutes for the hosts.

While admitting Brosque’s dismissal was warranted, Arnold heaped praise on his team for their efforts in keeping Brisbane at bay in the final period of the game which helped seal the win and clean sheet.

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“It may not have been a game for the purists when we went down to ten men, but I coach my teams to know how to defend in case we have a player sent off.”

“We did it against Melbourne City where we had ten men for the last 15 minutes and outplayed them and didn’t concede, and we’ve done the same tonight,” he said.

Now ten points clear of old rivals Melbourne Victory (who have two games in hand) at the top of the A-League ladder, and with the season nearing halfway, Arnold isn’t dismissing the possibility of his team going through the undefeated.

“I believe we can go through the season as invincibles, I really believe it.”

“I know that we’ve got a target on our back, and I know that it’s getting bigger, but these boys are getting better so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do it,” he said.

According to Arnold, the possibility of an undefeated season lies with Sydney maintaining their quality and early season dominance in defense, and while he had general praise for his players’ defensive display in their 2-0 victory over the Roar, it was an unusual source that stood out.

“Alex Wilkinson is a wonderful leader and Danny Vukovic is a fantastic organiser as a goalkeeper, but it doesn’t start at the back four, it starts from the front. The defense from my teams starts up top, and tonight that was with Bobo and he was unbelievable.

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