Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Yeboah 48)
Leeds United 2 (Bogusz 9, Hernandez 95)
Saturday 20th July 2019 10:00am | Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Some thoughts on the game day from a WSW's perspective. It was our clubs first game back at our re-built stadium after 3 seasons, having played those three seasons at the Sydney Olympic Stadium (83,500 capacity) and the Giants Stadium adjacent to it - an AFL ground (24,000 capacity). It was 3 seasons of rubbish, and the life and blood was sucked out of our club in those 3 seasons due to the temporary venues we had to play in.
It was a pleasure to return to our home and christen it with a game against a club such as Leeds Utd. Plenty of Aussie history at Leeds as you all well know. Plenty of Aussie fans due to the Viduka, Kewell, Okon and Burns association as well as others.
The city centre of Parramatta was buzzing before the game, with a mix of fans from both teams. Certainly, plenty of Leeds fans around in the multitudes of pubs and restaurants in the city of Parramatta (25 km's from the centre of Sydney). Obviously outnumbered by WSW fans but there was no trouble and a carnival like atmosphere.
Leeds looked very sharp. Touches were great, ball movement was fast and precise, and created a lot of opportunities. Your work rate was high and the team looked very fit. As you'd expect this close to your season's start. However, the reality check is, we are 3 months away from the start of our season so most of our players have only just got out of holiday mode. Also, our squad is the same as last season, which finished eighth out of ten.
Leeds clearly dominated, although were seriously challenged on the break. We had several chances that we didn't take advantage of as well. Your finishing was poor (almost laughable at times). Your build up play to create chances was sharp and impressive. Our defence was slow to anticipate passes and were caught out far too easily at times.
The way Bielsa plays, with the high tempo high pressing game, will always leave you vulnerable. The telling stat from the match is from your 67% possession, you had 27 shots, 7 on target for 2 goals. For us, we had 33 % possession, from that 7 shots of which 3 were on target, for 1 goal. So your defence isn't the only concern. Your finishing leaves a lot to be desired.
None the less, you have players still to come in. You can't fault the work rate and effort of the team. However it needs to be converted into more goals scored and less conceded. The result probably flattered us in the end, but in reality, at times we played some impressive attacking football and that was proven with Yeboah’s goal and several other missed chances. We were impressed with some of our academy players that were thrust into the game for the last 15, yet ultimately, it probably cost us the match. It didn't matter. It was a friendly.
Also, we know you left half a dozen first team players back in England. We finished our season two months ago. Our new season doesn't start till mid-October and the team has only been back into pre-season training for two weeks, having played just one practice match against a local club. We are still searching for a marquee striker to compliment Duke and Yeboah, and still have 2 other spots available. Patrick Ziegler, our German CB, didn't play last night as well.
Marcus Babbel, god bless him, has put a broom through the place and seriously cleared out all the dross he was handed when he became manager 12 months ago. Our upcoming season is looking good. Last night was a good sign that it will be. Finally, thanks to all you Leeds fans. It was a great night.
Leeds Team vs Western Sydney Wanderers:
Casilla, Douglas, Cooper, Berardi, Dallas, Phillips, Bogusz (Oduor 82), Hernandez, Harrison, Roofe (Stevens 53), Bamford
Leeds v Western Sydney, A Wanderers View