A-League mid-season report card: Western United

-

We are at the halfway mark of the 2019/20 A-League season, so it’s about time The Football Sack takes a look at the performance of Western United.

Semester summary: United have had a rollercoaster start to their maiden season. Currently sitting fifth on the table, their results are a mixed bag split between five wins, five losses and two draws.

Embed from Getty Images

Their two most recent losses ultimately sent them from third place to fifth. Their loss against Wellington Phoenix in round twelve is concerning for United’s future performance, having lost key defenders Brendan Hamill and Aaron Calver to injury too.

With great gaps in their defensive line and missing forward Scott McDonald, it is unclear whether they can find the resilience to get back to their initial winning ways.

Areas of excellence: The Green and Blacks have had no issues marching forward so far this season with 17 goals in 12 games.

You can watch the A-League live for only $25 a month. Click here to read our review of Kayo Sports and to start your 14-day free trial.

With Alessandro Diamanti and Besart Berisha leading the helm of United’s attacking line finding the back of the net would not be difficult for United.

However, with McDonald’s absence, this may become harder.

One thing that may allow his to continue is coach Mark Rudan’s instance his midfield focus on their attacking movements, with Panagiotis Kone and Connor Pain taking their own goal-scoring opportunities.

Embed from Getty Images

Areas of improvement A lack of stability and cohesion have haunted United over their last three games.

Rudan has had no issues experimenting with United’s tactical formation throughout this first half of the season but it’s beginning to take its toll.

Shifting young players Dylan Pierias, Seb Pasquali and Jonathan Aspropotamitis off the bench into the positions of Calver, Hamill and Josh Risdon has not had the same impact it did at the start of the season.

While the young guns should not take the blame entirety, United’s lack of cohesion does mean the Green and Blacks have been forced to improvise.

Rudan shifting to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation against Melbourne City is a clear indicator of the missing stability in United’s tactical formation is lacking.

Top student: Alessandro Diamanti

Embed from Getty Images

Competing with the A-League’s ultimate goal scorer Berisha, it’s not an easy feat to win top student for United.

Despite only securing two goals compared to Berisha’s six, Diamanti may be one of the most technically gifted players in the A-League.

Diamanti seems to be in a different class to his teammates, expertly making runs through his opponents or taking his time with a long-range strike.

Effortlessly reading his opponents he can both ferociously move through any blocks in his way or delicately set up clear goal opportunities for his squad.

Class clown: Connor Pain

Embed from Getty Images

Stuck between and compared to Berisha, Diamanti and Kone, Pain has taken on a harsh evaluation. Especially when the standards at United are so high.

Trading in his Central Coast uniform at the start of 2019, Pain arrived at United to help their attacking half.

Yet with only one goal secured so far this season, Pain has not had a chance to show his full potential.

Grade: C+

Outlook: For a club mashed together in under 12 months before being thrown onto the big leagues, they have been a welcomed new addition so far this season.

With a slower, condensed style of play, they have been a breath of fresh air in terms of style of play, pace and power.

United’s key playmakers and goal scorers Berisha, Dario Jertec, Andrew Durante, Ersan Gülüm and Diamanti do have the experience yet have not been able to sustain a full 90 minutes.

Embed from Getty Images

With most of their replacements finding themselves injured this half of the season, United have had to rely on their others who are not 100 per cent ready to play at the level.

It’s not surprising United have dropped to fifth on the table with Lady Luck far from their side.

Whether they can bounce back in the second half of this season is dependant on three factors: the replacements Rudan can conjure up, the players returning from injury and whether the young guns can step up.

Feature Image Credit: Western United

Latest Articles

How Australian Soccer Players Are Coping with the COVID-19 Crisis Abroad

Various soccer leagues around the globe have been buying the best footballers from any team in the world to get an edge. Australia is not...

Brisbane Roar open Talent ID centre on Far North Coast

For the first time in the region’s history, players on the Far North Coast now have a direct pathway to the A-League and W-League...
Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season