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  • Writer's pictureChristian Marchetti

Three conclusions as Wanderers steal the points in Gosford

The Western Sydney Wanderers have nicked all three points against the Central Coast Mariners thanks to a late strike by Nicolai Muller, going top of the league in the process.

Below are our three key conclusions from the 1-0 win.

Tactical Masterclass

I have continuously raved on about how dangerous the Wanderers wing-backs are over the past week, and with good reason.

Tate Russell, in particular, was a menace down the right-hand side against both Newcastle and Sydney.

Thomas Aquilina has also been dangerous, but he got no such joy tonight due to Alen Stajcic's use of Joshua Nisbet.

The central midfielder essentially became a right fullback out of possession.

The Mariners formed a 5-3-2 without the ball, with Stefan Nigro tucking inside.

The 21-year-old was then allowed to roam wherever he pleased once his side regained possession, which caused the left-hand side of the Wanderer's defence some problems.

He was unlucky not to give the home side the lead when he struck the bar after halftime.

The same was the case for Daniel De Silva on the left, who enjoyed his freedom for much of the first half.

This tactical tweak showed that the Mariners and Stajcic are more flexible this season, as they changed from the defensive 4-4-2 that they used in the first two rounds.

It is also an excellent example of game management.

Managers sometimes have to deviate from their favoured system to match up against a particular opponent.

All credit to Stajcic for doing his homework, even if it did end up being futile.

Welcome back Ziggy

I won't get into the reasons why Ziggy Gordon was being booed tonight.

They have been well documented and debated at length.

I will say that it seemed an obvious ploy from the Mariners tonight to make sure they got under their ex-players skin.

Alou Kuol welcomed back the Scot with a nasty late tackle that got him booked right from the get-go.

Then there was Mr Central Coast Matt Simon bringing out all of his usual antics.

You can watch the veteran forward absolutely berate Gordon for what he thought was a lash out in the first half below.

Just peak Matt Simon.

Credit to the experienced Gordon for not losing his temper and getting involved in a nasty melee.

The Wanderers travelling fans should receive plaudits for nullifying the Mariners fans boos with cheers of their own.

That's how you support your players.

An embarrassment of attacking riches

All three of the players involved in the Wanderers winner tonight were substitutes.

Bruce Kamau made the run in behind, Kwame Yeboah thumped the ball across, and Nicolai Muller was on hand to tap home from close range.

They made the desired impact off the bench, and their influence speaks volumes of the dangerous attacking depth the Wanderers have at the moment.

Muller, Yeboah and Simon Cox are players with years of experience in Europe, whilst Kamau and Bernie Ibini have been apart of championship-winning sides in the past.

Sometimes it can be difficult for a manager to handle so much attacking talent.

However, Robinson seems to know already what role each of these players should have when they play.

Even Kamau, who made his first appearance of the season tonight, came straight in and used his pace to make forward runs through the middle and down the channels.

Many sides can have all the quality but not know what do with it, but right now the Wanderers are getting the balance right going forward.

It is even more critical in matches like this where Robinson's team weren't at their best.

However, sheer individual quality can always win football matches.


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