Macarthur FC 2021/22 Season Preview

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Macarthur FC loved coming into an A-League campaign with a brand new squad so much, they’ve decided to do it again. Will fresh faces sink or swim the Bulls in their second season?

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Last Season…

A-League: 6th

Finals: Semi-Final

They’ll win the league because…

A sanguine segment of Macarthur fans will selectively recall how a core group of experienced professionals led them to a respectable finish in their inaugural season: Matt Derbyshire, Mark Milligan, Beñat Etxebarria, Markel Susaeta, Adam Federici.

An ensemble of knowhow and the sort of walkabout class around which a fine cast of supporting roles could quite happily toil to make up a well-oiled A-League squad.

This same philosophy has been entrusted this year, with veteran signings Jordon Mutch, Craig Noone, Ulises Dávila, Filip Kurto and Tomi Juric all boasting over 11 years of professional footballing experience.

Noone, Juric, and Dávila bring with them a combined 22 A-League goals from last season and paint a mouth-watering picture as Macarthur’s new attacking outfit.

As those who stayed on from the 2020/21 season grow with another year of A-League football under their belt, manager Ante Milicic will be hoping to build on last year’s impressive finals run and make a push for the big dance.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

There’s no denying that there has been a mass exodus of almost all established talent from Campbelltown Stadium.

The five, key, experienced players mentioned earlier, that quintet of touch and presence, have all left. Their names and footballing reputation perhaps clouding their very real value to the group.

Milligan was the club’s captain.

Derbyshire top scored with 14 goals and logged the most assists with five.

Spanish duo Etxebarria and Susaeta provided five goals and five assists between them.

And Federici, instrumental to Milicic’s philosophy of building up from the back, was announced as the captain for this season before his unexpected retirement.

A lot of things need to go Milicic’s way if his new recruits are to recreate the numbers and replace the figures that left the club in the off-season.

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

You cannot overstate the footballing significance of what Macarthur have lost since the 2020/21 campaign.

They have lost their top five goal scorers from last year: Derbyshire (14), Susaeta (five), Milligan (three), Denis Genreau (two), and Loïc Puyo (two);

Their top three appearance makers: Federici (26), Derbyshire (25), and Milligan (25);

And four out of their top five assist makers: Derbyshire (five), Beñat (four), Genreau (two), and Puyo (two).

The off-season brought…

The off-season saw the Bulls complete a knock-down rebuild of their squad.

Through retirements, contract completions, free transfers, or in the exciting case of Denis Genreau, a move to Ligue 2 side Toulouse worth around $780,000, an incredible 14 players left the club, whilst eight were brought in.

Amazingly, out of the 15 players that appeared for Macarthur in the 2020/21 curtain raiser, eight have left the club in this off-season.

With plenty of new recruits opulent in both talent and A-League experience, expect to see a very different Macarthur FC in round one this season.

Key Player

Tomi Juric.

Milicic will need standout seasons from a few of his new signings for his side to reach the heights of last year, but perhaps none have deeper shoes to fill than 30 year-old centre-forward Juric.

The depature of Derbyshire took with it 42 per cent of Macarthur’s goal tally from last season, and there’s no doubt that Juric has been brought in to fill that void. With 41 appearances for the Socceroos (scoring eight goals), he becomes the Bulls’ most internationally capped footballer, and all but secures his place at the top of Milicic’s formation for the upcoming campaign.

A repeat of last season’s numbers would see him score nine goals in 18 league games. So, with more appearances and the attacking nous of Noone, Dávila, Tommy Oar and fellow new boy Daniel De Silva around him, the Australian will be targeting a fruitful campaign.

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One to watch

Al Hassan Touré.

The 21-year-old arrives from Adelaide United with a quiet A-League record of two goals in 30 appearances across his two seasons.

However, his FFA Cup statistics speak for themselves.

Touré scored on debut in a 5-2 win against Melbourne Knights as he burst onto the scene at 19 years of age just two years ago. He would go on to score a brace in the round of 16 and once in the quarter-final, before his stellar performance in Adelaide’s FFA Cup final thrashing of Melbourne City earned him the Mark Viduka Trophy and a lasting spot in Adelaide’s history books.

Featuring a dissatisfying 18 times for Adelaide last season, and with plenty of demand for goal scorers at Campbelltown Stadium, Touré has crossed the state line in hope of more playing time and a stage on which to stake his claim in the A-League.

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INS: Al Hassan Touré, Craig Noone, Daniel De Silva, Filip Kurto, Jordon Mutch, Tomi Juric, Tomislav Uskok, Ulises Dávila

OUTS: Adam Federici, Beñat Etxebarria, Brian Sutomo, Denis Genreau, Ivan Franjic, Kyle Cimenti, Loïc Puyo, Mark Milligan, Markel Susaeta, Matt Derbyshire, Milislav Popovic, Walter Scott, Yianni Nicolaou

Full Squad List:

Goalkeepers: Filip Kurto, Nick Suman, Levi Kaye

Defenders: Aleksandar Susnjar, Tomsilav Uskok, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Anthony Golec, James Meredith, Jake McGing

Midfielders: Jake Hollman, Jordon Mutch, Antonis Martis, Liam Rose, Daniel De Silva, Charles M’Mbombwa

Forwards: Tommy Oar, Moudi Najjar, Craig Noone, Lachlan Rose, Michael Ruhs, Ulises Dávila, Tomi Juric, Al Hassan Touré

Featured image credit: Macarthur FC

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Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

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