ACL MD6 - Sydney FC vs Yokohama - 4/12/20

Let’s get out of this with everyone in one piece. More Hof though, please.


Would like to see Swibel get some proper time here.

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Milos will be rested with ABJ coming in for him.
One of Kosta or Buhagiar to be rested, probably Buhagiar although I would prefer it to be Kosta.
Zullo in for King?
Retre to start in place of The Hof.
Wilko to be rested as well.

           Kosta         Swibel
  Caceres                       ABJ
         Nathan         Retre
Zullo    Warland    Flottman      Grant

I’d keep Trent on. Keep him scoring in preparation for the a-league

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It’s 2 weeks training in quarantine after this. Unless someone is a serious danger of injury after the last outing, he’ll give our strongest available 11 an airing. He’ll want to ask them to test themselves against the team that might win the whole thing.

Wilko got an early finish the other night so will play, Bratts was eased in so he can do 90 this time. Zullo is our usual greatest danger of injury but he didn’t play midweek so will start. Grant is a perpetual motion machine. Milos got half an hour off which I expect would be so he can play this one. Kosta is not allowed to be dropped.

I think it’ll just come down to which other 2 midfielders Stevie chooses to do the job. Does CN get a rest at the expense of either Retre or Caceres, and does ABJ get a start?

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Behavioural economics curriculum around the world could use this as a case study in “sunk cost fallacy”.

$$$ + marquee status = “too valuable” to bench.

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I don’t wanna crucify the guy, more than anything I want him to come good and deliver for us, but there’s been next to no improvement in the sync / gel, timing or decision making in runs in the entire time he’s been here. I remember one of his earliest hit-outs for us, mid week at Leichhardt vs Hakoah or Dunbar or someone?, hoping he was just trying too hard and that he would come good, but he still hasn’t and we’re getting to that point where somethings gotta give.

There was plenty of criticism of Trent’s finishing the other night, it is an art-form and the hardest part of the game, but I always think it’s way too simplistic to say “score goals = good, miss goal = bad”. All strikers will go through patches of red-hot form and droughts, and it’s always possible to have an absolute stinker of a game and still bury a goal or two. For me it’s always more important to be creating those chances, and more important still to be making good decisions when chances come… because over the long term better composure and decision making will lead to more goals (and assists).

With that said I re-watched the Kayo mini. Trent butchered 3 first half chances, but in all 3 he made the right decision and his first touch let him down more than anything (1. trying to round keeper but didn’t drag it enough allowing keeper to tackle him, 2. first touch took him too wide to the left resulting in cross-shot to back stick, 3. carbon copy of 2. but to the right side). That last one in particular, what was the perfect indicator of where the two of them are at, was Kosta almost switching off in a 2-on-1 situation after he played it and Trent went wide. He needs to be screaming for that ball to be played back to him when Trent draws the keeper, or busting his arse to get on the end of the cross-shot, as Trent noticeably took some pace off it compared to the previous one.

Almost an identical situation then came in the second half after Ivanovic took the piss and skinned about 6 of them, the ball went a little too wide for Trent to realistically score, so he instead curled a delightful ball around their CB and back into an area Kosta should’ve been attacking but again didn’t anticipate.

TL:DR, Trent was definitely off in his touch, finishing and maybe over-hit 3 that could’ve found Kosta if super accurate or if the latter anticipated better. But there remains daylight between them in terms of link-up, anticipation, decision-making and composure, and I know which one’s more likely to hit the ground running after Xmas and challenge Maclaren for the golden boot.

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Trent was on fire prior to his injury though. I remember he was almost scoring for fun in the FFA Cup before he got injured.

Kosta has been a major disappointment since his signing though. For someone with his pedigree, he should be banging them in for fun, but he’s managed 8 competitive goals so far…

It’s unsettling to think that this is the first time since 2015-16 that we won’t have a player challenging for the league’s golden boot. Holosko got 10 in that infamous season after Brosque got injured and Smeltz mutated from footballer into his middle evolution as a coach (before reaching his final evolution of populist right wing politician).

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you got a crystal ball or something? season hasn’t started yet…ye of little faith.

If Buhagiar stays fit and starts all games he has every chance of golden boot imo, Kosta would need to turn it around but obviously same goes for him.

Ivanovic and Swibel have goals in them too if given the chance. Buhagier, Barbourses, Ivanovic and Swibel could potential make up ALF/Barbarouses goals of last season

Some serious thought needs to be given from the coaching staff into what is to become of Kosta. I know its the ACL and the standard is higher, but Kosta has looked slow a number of times, and as previously mentioned, poor in anticipating potential scoring positions or situations. Can he still even beat players? If he can, he really has to be playing wider than he is. Take on players, beat them, and whip in a cross. I really don’t see him scoring in double figures this season, so I think he needs to start focusing more on creating.

This could be a season where we really need Ninko and Baumjohann to get a hatful of goals to help out, because as much as Buhagiar is improving, it would worry me to rely on him to score 20 goals a season. After all, this will be his first season where he is likely to be regularly starting (20+ starts) for an A-League first team if he stays fit.

Trent is decent but 9/10 times the person who wins the golden boot is an experienced striker. I think its unfair and unrealistic to expect him to just come in and replace ALF in terms of goal output. Also notice how the team that wins the league in most seasons usually has a player who is scoring a lot of goals. There are some exceptions to this but its been true in the majority of the past A-league seasons. The young kids aren’t going to come in and make up a deficit of of 21 goals. If Swibel and Luke managed 5 goals between them I think that would be a great outcome for this season. And its pretty clear Kosta is declining rapidly. 2015/16 all over again imo.

This isn’t going to be a popular comment, but if Victory go further in the comp , being in the last 16, it could mean the A-league keeping more ACL spots. I think thats how it works anyway. I hope they do, just not win it.

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We had 21 from ALF, 8 from Barbarouses, 3 from Buhagier and 1 from Ivanovic (33 goals) last season. If in theory we had Buhagier with 10, Barbarouses with 8 again, Ivanovic 5 and Swibel 3 thats 26 goals thats a similarish return. Few extra goals from midfield or a few more from the young strikers and it could be alright.

Its too late to save the rankings for the ACL in 2022. We’re getting some AFC Cup spots to replace some of the ACL spots we’ve lost.

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If you go through the previous 11 A-league seasons (where 26+ games were played) the mean goals scored by the top team is about 49. So if we say you need to score around 50ish goals to win the league. Thats still another 24 we have to score give or take a few. And that would be with Kosta being at least as good as last year (seems unlikely) and Luke and Swibel getting a decent amount of game time and exceeding expectations. Couple that with how half the A-league teams in the past two years seem to basically have the tactic of playing an extremely low block and get as many men behind the ball to make it difficult for us to create good chances. I just don’t see it.

Yea, but it must help towards the future. We’re still in next years already are we not?

2021 ranking is unaffected, so yes we’re in, along with Melb City and Brisbane (highest-ranked loser of the two qualifying finals??). The changes kick in for 2022. If we want to qualify for the ACL group stage, we have to win the league again.

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Brattan blazed a lot over the crossbar last season.

If he can bring them down a bit (like his thunderbolt last game), we’ll pick up a few more goals from him.