End of 2020/21 season report card: Macarthur FC

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It’s that time of the year where clubs look back at their season’s performance to reflect and analyse successful areas and areas that need to go back to the drawing board.

Let us take a look at Macarthur FC’s 2020/21 season.

Season summary 

The Bulls had an impressive season – finishing sixth place on the table and making it to the semi-finals – considering it was their inaugural season in the A-League.

Their line-up of experienced, quality players such as Mark Milligan, Beñat Etxebarria, Markel Susaeta and Matt Derbyshire helped them give that threat to their opponents. 

Macarthur kicked off the season with a 1-0 win over their new rivals, Western Sydney Wanderers, but it was a roller coaster ride ever since. Their results have been inconsistent, which put them in a fighting position for the finals.

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Head coach Ante Milicic has already signed Mexican sensation Ulises Davila from Wellington Phoenix to add that extra boost that the Bulls were in need of this season, and perhaps take them a step further than this year’s semi-final. 

Areas of excellence 

There is no doubt that Macarthur had the best team in the league when it came to quality, experienced players. When a club has two players like Beñat and Susaeta, who have played in La Liga, you are bound to increase quality on the pitch. Beñat was the team’s conductor, creating multiple chances and changing the game’s pace, and Susaeta was a significant threat in the attacking third. 

Also, having Derbyshire scoring the second-most goals in the league at 14 and Adam Federici pulling off impressive saves demonstrates Macarthur’s quality throughout the squad.

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The Bulls have shown this season how dangerous they can be in away games with a 53 per cent winning average, having won seven games, two ending in a draw, and losing four.

In addition, they have made their opponents question themselves in their home ground by performing well and getting the results.

Areas in need of improvement

The Bulls defence has been inconsistent, causing them to make errors that have led to goals.

Individually, Antony Golec, Ivan Franjic, James Meredith, Aleksandar Šušnjar and Aleksandar Jovanovic are great defensive players. However, the chemistry needs to improve for next season.

Macarthur must also convert most of their chances in front of goal. There have been moments in this season that could have benefited them if they converted clear-cut chances. However, if they want to win any silverware next season, they need to make the most of their golden opportunities.

Unlike their away games, the Bulls struggled to find a winning rhythm at Campbelltown Stadium with only a 30 per cent win rate with four wins, four draws and five losses. Home games are meant to be where the team should be getting the most points, and the Bulls failed to capitalise on that. 

Top student 

Adam Federici.

Since day one, the shot-stopper performed his best, making incredible saves throughout the whole season and making it difficult for his opponents to get past him.

It’s not often that goalkeepers get praised, but Federici made sure to prove to his teammates and his coach that he is reliable and replacing him will be difficult.

Legendary goalkeeper Mark Bosnich spoke about Federici and said towards the end of the season, “when I was growing up, people use to say to me, ‘goalkeepers can’t win you games, but they can save you games’… well I tend to disagree. They can win you games.” 

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Class clown 

Moudi Najjar.

He is on loan from the new premiership and championship winners of the A-League, Melbourne City, and unfortunately did not perform the standard of his original club.

Although Najjar is a striker, he did not score a single goal in his 14 appearances for the Bulls and struggled to impact the team significantly. 

Grade: B

Outlook 

The pressure and expectations will now grow for Macarthur, now that they have experienced the challenges of the A-League.

Milicic will continue to build his team with the young and veteran players to create a powerful force but will need to focus on those areas that can cost them important matches.

However, they will not have their main captain Mark Milligan in midfield since he has retired, so it will be interesting to see who will get the captain’s armband.

Overall, the Bulls will look to go a step further next season, and perhaps some key signings will help achieve that goal.

Featured image credit: Macarthur FC

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Daniel Gualterio
Bachelor of Sports Media student from Charles Sturt University covering Macarthur FC. Passionate for the world game.

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