Perth Glory 2018/19 season preview

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With Tony Popovic at the helm, three Socceroos at the back and Diego Castro in behind your defence, the Perth Glory of 2018/19 is revamped, refreshed and ready for a legitimate tilt at the A-League title.

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Last season
A-League: 8th
Finals:
FFA Cup: Round of 32

They’ll win the league because…

Of Tony Popovic. The Western Sydney native took a newly formed Wanderers side in their first A-League season and made them Premiers, and he will be hoping to have the same type of instant impact at the Glory this year.

Like any good side, Popovic has built out from the back, bolstering the Glory’s defensive stocks to solidify a backline that leaked fifty goals last season. If the Glory show the stinginess at the back characterised by Popovic’s Wanderers side there is no reason why they can’t climb the table and take the throne.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

There’s no place like home. The Glory are no strangers to a disappointing campaign, finishing in the bottom half of the table in nine of the thirteen A-League seasons. Their eighth-placed finish in 2017/18 is a prime example of the Glory fading away meekly into lower table obscurity.

Part of Perth’s problem last season was the hopes of victory often falling heavy on the shoulders of their mercurial Spaniard Diego Castro. Castro led the team in assists, shots, chances created, crosses and passes last season, while coming second only to the departed Adam Taggart in goals scored. There’s no doubt that Popovic will depend on contribution across the board this season if his side has any chance of climbing the ladder.

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Talk around the water cooler…Look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information.

With the signings of Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic and Matthew Spiranovic, the Glory now have three of the back four who started for Australia against Chile at the 2014 World Cup, and in the 2015 Asian Cup Final victory over South Korea.

The off-season brought…

Changes aplenty. The Socceroos trio of Davidson, Franjic and Spiranovic recently became a quartet as 23-year-old Chris Ikonomidis joined the side. He currently has six international caps to his name.

Tando Velaphi is back in town for his second stint between the sticks for his hometown side, along with former Wanderer Brendon Santalab, Tomislav Mrcela, Portuguese midfielder Fabio Ferreira and the 32-year-old Spaniard Juande. With nine signings and a new manager the Glory have shown their ambition to challenge for their first A-League title this season.

Key player

It’s strange that when you think of Perth you think of a small, bearded Spanish magician, but the talents of Diego Castro simply cannot be ignored. Castro has progressed through his mid-thirties at the Glory showing class, skill and guile all the way. He gets crowds into the ground, and then off their seats. This year Glory’s puppet master will have more strings at his disposal to orchestrate the show with the injection of Ikonomidis, Ferreira and Juande into the midfield and attack. Whether or not he can lead his side to success, the fans will be delighted to have him back on board for the 2018/19 season.

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One to watch

Chris Ikonomidis. Bought from Serie A side Lazio, Ikonomidis is a player of European caliber only just venturing into the prime of his career. The creative attacker will look to fill his boots this year in place of Adam Taggart, Glory’s top scorer last season.

Full squad list

Goalkeepers – 1. VELAPHI Tando, 33. REDDY Liam, 40. LEE Jackson.

Defenders – 2. GRANT Alex, 3. DAVIDSON Jason, 4. LOWRY Shane, 5. FRANJIC Ivan, 6. DJULBIC Dino, 13. SPIRANOVIC Matthew, 16. MRCELA Tomislav, 23. NEVILLE Scott, 25. SCOTT Walter.

Midfielders – 8. KILKENNY Niel, 15. WILSON Brandon, 17. CASTRO Diego, 19. IKONOMIDIS, Chris, 20. BRIMMER Jake, 21. ITALIANO Jacob, 22. FERREIRA Fabio, 27. JUANDE.

Forwards – 7. CHIANESE Joel, 9. KEOGH Andy, 11. SANTALAB Brendon, 14. HAROLD Chris.

 In – 1. VELAPHI Tando (Wellington Phoenix), 3. DAVIDSON Jason (HNK Rijeka), 5. FRANJIC Ivan (Brisbane Roar), 11. SANTALAB Brendon (Western Sydney), 13. SPIRANOVIC Matthew (Unattached), 16. MRCELA Tomislav (Jeonnam Dragons), 19. IKONOMIDIS Chris (Lazio), 22. FERREIRA Fabio (Syndey FC), 27. JUANDE (Spezia).

 Out – TAGGART Adam (Brisbane Roar), TORRES Xavi (Elche FC), GUERAO Andreu (Unattached), KNOWLES Joe (Unattached), MILLS Joseph (Forest Green), WALKER Jeremy (Unattached).

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Matthew Comito
Matthew Comito
Football nut, student journalist and firm believer that Berisha dived in the 2012 A-League Grand Final. Covering Perth Glory for the 2018/19 season.

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