Three conclusions as Western and Adelaide play out stalemate in season opener
Western United and Adelaide United opened the 2020-21 A-League season with a goalless draw on Monday night.
Below are our three key conclusions from the 0-0 draw.
Back with a bang
As is always the case with season openers, there is a worry that both sides will be conservative and the general quality lacking.
But that was not the case in Geelong, as both sides looked to take the initiative and start the season in the right way.
Western still showed signs of favouring a more defensive approach, but they were more than willing to commit numbers on the break too.
Meanwhile, the Reds continued to use their attacking, possession-based 4-3-3 that they deployed last season, trying their best to stretch Western and press high wherever possible.
Those who did not watch the game will think it was a bore draw, but both sides put on an entertaining display, just lacking that key cutting edge.
Many would have overlooked Joe Caletti when he was at Brisbane due to a lack of size and physicality.
The 22-year-old laughed off those concerns with his performance here, displaying ball-winning and combative abilities associated with more experienced defensive midfielders.
To say he pocketed Alessandro Diamanti would be a stretch.
However, the Italian certainly did not have a moments rest against his direct opponent.
Many Adelaide fans would have expected Louis D'Arrigo to start in the number six role.
He was more advanced though, with Caletti holding the fort in midfield.
Based on this display, he will continue to feature in that role, and for Adelaide's sake, we hope that is the case.
Where was Besart?
Did Besart Berisha play for Western tonight?
The 35-year-old is arguably the greatest goalscorer the league has ever seen, but he was nowhere to be seen in Geelong.
The league's all-time top scorer barely touched the ball, and I can't recall a shot on goal either.
He was rightfully hooked after 60 minutes by Mark Rudan.
Archie Thompson suggested in the commentary that the 60 minutes was pre-planned.
However, I'm sure his manager would have kept him on longer had his performance been up to scratch.
The ex-Victory man should find his feet sooner rather than later anyway, but this far from the best start.