Running Mitch Nichols the key that unlocks Wanderers’ potency

The Western Sydney Wanderers seem to experience a squad overhaul every off-season, despite having only been in existence for four years.

In spite of their success as A-League Premiership and Asian Champions League winners, Tony Popovic has had to continually refresh and reformat his side, particularly in attack. The most dramatic transformation occurred last season, when he switched from the direct, high-tempo pressing style that characterised their initial years, to a Spanish-flavoured possession approach based upon fluent build-up play from the back and fluid attacking movement in the final third.

The key figurehead of this stylistic revolution going forward was Mitch Nichols. This season, while there have been inevitable changes in personnel around him, Nichols has been the familiar face. That consistency has paid dividends for both him and his club, as he has gradually become one of the league’s complete playmakers. He is the players that knits the Wanderers attack together.

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Hidden behind their strikers, Sydney FC’s midfield is firing

Six wins from six games, the most goals scored and the fewest conceded, through to the semi-finals of the FFA Cup and yet to be breached in that competition. It’s no wonder Sydney FC are the current favourites for the A-League.

There are several potential candidates in naming the key player behind this spectacular start. Milos Ninkovic has been the star playmaker, Alex Brosque has scored the goals and Rhyan Grant has been rampant down the right.

However, the two who really make Sydney tick, that give the side balance, are the central pivot pairing of Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill. They, above all others, are Sydney’s most important players.

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