We feel for you Apostolos Giannou. While it's not that long a flight from Larnaca, Cyprus to Dubai, who would want to arrive at 1am, only to be picked-up at the airport, driven for two hours in the wrong direction to the wrong city and wrong hotel, and then to have to turn around and make his way back to the right place? Yes, it happened folks. While disappointed not to be in the squad in the first place, he said it was “the perfect start to the year” to receive a call asking him to join the squad. Even though he did not arrive at the team hotel until five hours after landing (!), he says he is ready whenever Graham Arnold needs him. 

Arnold says Giannou is more of a “Plan C” if he needs to change the shape of the team to a more traditional 4-4-2, saying “he's a penalty box type 9” and gives the squad something different.

Arnold says he expects Tom Rogic to be “nearly player of the series”, after seeing him crack a ball into the back of the net during training. Arnold dubbed Rogic the “f*#%ing Wizard of Oz” and said he is a player who just like to “play what he feels”. One version of this story appears here and here. And another version is here.

Another story picking up the spin ($) that it will be a “miracle” if we get to the Final of the Asian Cup, let alone win it. Almost everyone is writing this but, frankly, we don't get it. The same story is repeated here ($).

Question marks about the Socceroos, Australia's acceptance in the Asian Football Confederation, and the fact that Al Ain (where the Socceroos are based) is not the same as Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but they are only 90 minutes away, are just some of the points touched on in this piece.

Asian Cup

A brief rundown of the six groups in the Asian Cup. You can read our detailed preview by heading to our 'Asia' section

What do you think? How will Australia go in the Asian Cup? Vote in our poll!

Sydney FC, 5 v Central Coast Mariners, 2

It was the Alex Brosque (pictured) show at Jubilee Stadium before 12,053 fans, scoring the first A-League hat-trick of the season within 15 minutes of one another (and with an Adam Le Fondre goal squeezed in-between) after Central Coast went into the break up 0-1. After half-time it was all Sydney, helped by Kalifa Cisse being sent off for a second yellow card offence in the 26th minute. Here's how the experts saw it.


The headline is about Perth Glory, but the article also includes Ray Gatt's take on who is in contention for a title run this season. He notes that Perth Glory is “primed” for an A-League title under Tony Popovic, and that he was the obvious coach for Perth which is hungry for success in the A-League after being one of the powerhouses of the NSL towards the end of the NSL. Gatt says that it will be interesting to see how Melbourne Victory fares without Keisuke Honda (see below); that “Sydney FC have yet to put 90 minute performance together”; Melbourne City and Adelaide are “steady without being spectacular”; Wellington Phoenix is the “surprise packet”; Newcastle Jets are disappointing and they, along with Western Sydney Wanderers, Brisbane Roar and Central Coast, are not likely to make the finals.

Melbourne Victory

Mystery surrounds Keisuke Honda's injury which is described as a one-in-30-year injury ($) in that the specialist treating Honda has only seen it twice (including Honda) and the radiologist not at all. Muscat says they cannot be definitive about how long Honda will be off as they don't know enough about the injury.

Fairfax reports that the injury is a “myofascial injury connected to lower back soreness”, with Kevin Muscat again stressing that Melbourne Victory used “extreme caution” in bringing Honda back from the original injury. 

Thomas Deng visited Parkville Youth Justice Centre and came face-to-face with someone he knew from childhood, reminding him of the “fork in the road” many young people face. Deng's brother, Peter, teaches PE at the centre and says that many of the young men lack a father figure. Thomas spends some of his down time visiting the centre and encouraging people to play sport as a means of being focussed on something positive, as well as potentially making a career out of it.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Kwame Yeboah says he didn't have to think twice ($) when asked by Markus Babbel to join Western Sydney. After being considered something of a standout as a teenager in Queensland, and signing with Borussia Dortmund as a 19-year-old, Yeboah has languishing in lower German leagues on a series of loan deals. The 24-year-old says that Babbel has a great football mind, and he's pleased to be closer to his family. Yeboah also says he has come back to Australia a better person. 

Tarek Elrich has said he won't cop the “graphic abuse” he is receiving from so-called Western Sydney Wanderers fans. He doesn't want to repeat it, but he says it goes far beyond disappointed fans expressing their dissatisfaction with the team.

Tom Smithies on how it all came to this ($) - being fans in revolt, the captain bemoaning a lack of fight, the Chairman's intervention letter during the week - with Western Sydney Wanderers when they had been riding so high. In part, Smithies says, they are victim of their early success and perhaps too great expectations too soon. He also looks at some of the decisions taken by the club, including signing four players after Josep Gombau had gone and before Babbel had come on board and the impact that has had on squad balance and the capacity to move under the salary cap. (It would be interesting to know who made those decisions. The CEO? Chairman?) There is unlikely to be a “significant overhaul” until next season.

Dominic Bossi has a piece along the same lines with the headline that “Wanderers at a loss after fan walkout”. Many of the club's problems are associated with the move away from Parramatta Stadium while it was being rebuilt, with attendance dropping by one-third. However, the RBB wants “more representation” and, despite being active supporters who are there through thick and thin (that's the theory anyway), a winning team playing good football is also vital.

W-League - Melbourne Derby

It's the W-League Melbourne Derby today at Epping Stadium, and Melbourne City will aim to control possession and neutralise Melbourne Victory’s potent attack. Both coaches, Rado Vidosic for City and Jeff Hopkins for Victory, identified Melbourne Victory's Natasha Dowie as a key player. A win for City would put them equal top with Victory and Perth Glory (at least temporarily), while a win for Melbourne Victory would see them three points clear of Perth Glory. 

socceroos, a-league, w-league, #asiancup2019, 2019 asian cup, apostolos giannou, tom rogic, western sydney wanderers, keisuke honda, alex brosque

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