Lachlan Wales (mid) Melbourne City; Victor Sanchez (mid) free agent;
James Delianov (sp) (gk) Adelaide United; Jonathan Aspropotamitis (sp) (def) Perth Glory; Valentino Yuel (sp) (att) Newcastle Jets;
In their first season since creation Western United immediately made impression and, thanks to vital contributions from 37-year-old captain Diamanti and A-League’s All Time Goalscorer 35-year-old Berisha, the play-offs were reached. It was exactly the goals of those two players after the COVID-break that brought this success, with the other standing out performer during the entire campaign the 38-year-old centre-back Durante.
Coach Rudan kept the transfer activity during off-season to a minimum and nobody important left or joined the squad. However, with all these ‘old dogs’ now being another year older it’s hard to see them able to carry the team on their shoulders again, especially considering the coming congested schedule due to the late start to the campaign.
Rudan knows that and he has high hopes that emerging stars Dillon, Calver, Skotadis and Burgess would be playing much more important roles this season. Neither of them has been able to find long-term consistency last term though and many unknowns regarding United’s strength in depth remain.
Rudan seems to be not sure about his starting XI either and in pre-season he used 6 different formations and over 20 field players.
If the likes of Diamanti and Berisha remain fit and sharp, Green and Blacks would be very tough team to face, but many pundits think it would be a big if, considering the players’ age.
Goal is to make the play-offs again, but considering that all the veterans will be an year older and there was no serious reinforcement activity this might be tall order to achieve. Still top 10 finish can be expected.