Why Sydney FC will win the A-League

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Sydney FC have won the last two A-League grand finals – so as the A-League finals series enters its penultimate week – it should come as no surprise that the Sky Blues are one game away from yet another appearance in the big dance.

A win over Adelaide will book Sydney’s place in a record seventh grand final. Here’s why they will win it all once again.

1. Big game experience 

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Knockout games are often highly tense affairs which are defied by key moments. In these matches, big game experience often proves vital, so players are not overcome by the emotions inherently involved.

If there is one thing that the Sky Blues are not short on, it’s experience in these games. In the last five years, Sydney have won seven major trophies. Skipper Alex Wilkinson has been involved in every one of these squads, as has head coach Steve Corica – who scored the winning goal for Sydney in the first ever A-League grand final.

When the finals series rolls round, all eyes turn to Sydney. To put it simply, the Sky Blues have developed a culture of success, and they know what it takes to win. The champions are the champions for a reason. They will be extremely confidently of overcoming the Reds this Saturday and will fear no one as they chase a third straight grand final win.

2. Star players

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Sydney’s experienced squad are also full of star players. The front four of Milos Ninkovic, Kosta Barbarouses, Adam le Fondre and Bobo is arguably as dangerous of an attack that has been seen on Australian shores.

Opposition defences are well aware of the quality that Sydney possess up front, but will be scratching their heads at how to stop them. The Sky Blue’s frightening front four could ultimately prove the difference in a tight finals game that may require a single goal to win.

3. Red-hot form

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The champions have won their last fives games on the trot and are the form side of the competition. Sides who peak ahead of finals series often go on to win grand finals.

While there is no debate that Melbourne City have been the team to beat for the majority of the season, they have won one only once in their last five matches.

4. Ability to adapt to loss of key players 

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Both Sydney and City have lost three key players to Socceroos duty, but Sydney’s experience means they know how to handle with the loss of key personnel better than Melbourne.

Redmayne, Grant and McGowan will all be missing for the Sky Blues. This means that Sydney have lost three of their starting defenders out of a five man back line (including their goalkeeper) which has the best defensive record in the league.

Despite this, defender Ben Warland would walk into any other A-League defensive line and is a like for like replacement for McGowan at centre-back. There is no debate that Sydney are a weaker side with Retre in at right back for Grant and reserve goalkeeper Heward-Belle is unproven at A-League level.

However, Sydney’s biggest title challenges in City have arguably been hit harder by players with Socceroos commitments. Jamie Maclaren is the the standout name in City’s departing Socceroos. Maclaren scored 25 goals this year and would have surely broken Bobo’s record for goals in a season had he stayed in Australia. They have looked a far weaker side since he last played two weeks ago and their ability to replace him will be telling. Curtis Good is also a massive loss for City at the back, with many pundits calling him the defender of the season.

Sydney’s entrenched culture of success means there is less concern in the club about replacing their star players than at City, who have never won an A-League championship.

5. Allure of the ‘three-peat’

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For a club that wins something basically every year, many from the outside may question how the club keeps demanding success and motivating its players season after season.

At Sydney, this all comes down to breaking records and this years record was an easy one to pick out at the club. No team in Australian domestic football history has ever won three grand finals in a row, which is dubbed in sport as a three-peat.

Sydney already made history when they won last years grand final to become the most successful side in A-League history, and winning the three-peat will etch their name even further into Aussie football folklore. The club and players have spoken numerous times publicly of their desire to achieve this feat.

Corica has been at the club since its inception and ‘Bimbi’ knows that a sixth grand final win will be the most important trophy in the club’s illustrious history. This message will drive the club to another championship season.

Feature image credit: Keith McInnes

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Adam Sheldon
Full time football addict. Passionate about any sport with balls. Covering Sydney FC A-League and W-League teams for the upcoming season.

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