Why Sydney’s best is yet to come

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Sydney FC delivered their greatest derby win on Saturday night but they still have another gear they’re yet to show.

“Someone is going to cop a hiding one of these days,” said a confident Graham Arnold after his team’s 3-1 defeat of Brisbane Roar in late November.

Even though the Sky Blues sat top of the ladder with just one loss and one draw to blemish their record, Arnold was aware that the team was without a signature win so far during the season. The champions had been consistent and comfortable for the most part but they hadn’t shown a ruthless streak to kill off lesser opponents early.

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That changed on Saturday night with a thrashing of their hapless rivals in a game in which the 5-0 scoreline actually flattered the Wanderers.

“I expected that. If not more,” said Arnold, post match.

“If you give our quality players that much space then I thought we could really make a statement tonight.”

Despite this statement the best is yet to come from a Sydney team that was without its greatest player Milos Ninkovic. The Serbian had missed the previous two games with a calf injury and despite reports that he might play through the pain was sidelined again on Saturday night.

Sydney’s ability to cruise without their marquee man is a testament to the depth Arnold’s squad and to the class of Adrian Mierzejewski. The Polish international took the role of play-maker in Ninkovic’s absence and distinguished himself in doing so.

Yet, if the Moore Park side are scary without Ninkovic on the pitch then what they’ll be when he’s back to health is downright terrifying. Aside from the fact that much of the side’s recent success is due the play-maker’s class, a healthy Ninkovic also equips Arnold with a more dangerous bench.

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His addition in the squad relegates David Carney to the role of substitute and gives Arnold a dynamic option to turn to when they need to change the pace. Of late the Sky Blues have only had Matt Simon to use an alternative attacking threat, which severely limits what they’re able to do.

On the pitch the little Serbian’s return means opposing defences have the unenviable task of dealing with an attacking quartet of Bobo, Alex Brosque, Mierzejewski and himself, with Michael Zullo overlapping from full back for good measure. This embarrassment of riches is bound to create space for one of Sydney’s danger-men and now that they’ve found their scoring boots that could mean more thrashings are on the cards.

So whilst the fans will rejoice at Sydney’s first signature win of the season, opposition fans should worry that the best is yet to come for the reigning champions.

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Conan McGlone
Conan McGlone
Football fan, writer, and post-grad journalism student at the University of Technology Sydney. Joined the team in 2017 to cover Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.

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