After a successful inaugural A-League Men campaign last season in which the club reached the semi-finals, Macarthur FC will be looking to be a force again in the 2021/22 season.
Ante Milicic has assembled a new look squad for the club’s second A-League Men’s campaign with several of its veterans departing the club at the end of least season.
Macarthur’s maiden captain and defender Mark Milligan announced his retirement before the end of last season, with goalkeeper Adam Federici and the experienced Spanish duo of Beñat Etxebarria and Markel Susaeta also hanging up the boots.
The outgoing striker and the side’s leading scorer from last season Matt Derbyshire has been replaced by former Socceroo Tomi Juric.
Having brought in Craig Noone, Daniel De Silva and Ulises Dávila, the club seems to boast a strong side heading into the new season.
With attacking midfielder Denis Genreau not returning to Campbelltown having been sold in the offseason to French side Toulouse, the Bulls have filled the void bringing in the Mexican maestro Dávila from the Wellington Phoenix, signing the player on a three-year deal.
Dávila has made a splash in the A-League since arriving in the 2019/20 season where he was the standout performer for the Phoenix in the past two seasons.
The 30-year-old scored 19 goals and assisted 12 in his 50 appearances for the Phoenix, additionally being awarded the Johnny Warren medal last year and making the A-League Men’s team of the year in the past two seasons.
Having also previously played in Europe and North America, he will bring valuable experience and flare to Macarthur in the upcoming season.
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Striker Matt Derbyshire was impressive in Macarthur’s maiden A-League Men season, with the Englishman finishing the year as the club’s leading striker with 14 goals.
After one season, the 35-year-old departed on a free transfer to Cypriot outfit AEK Larnaca, returning to play back in the Cypriot First Division.
His departure leaves a hole in Macarthur’s attack having been the side’s main source of goals with Susaeta being the second highest scorer last season with just five goals.
What to expect?
The expectation of Milicic’s men is that the club should be as strong this season as it was last season, given the strength of the side.
While the club lost valuable experience with several of its veterans retiring, the club have brought in the adequate replacements for the upcoming campaign.
In his first season as head coach Milicic preferred to position his side in the 4-2-3-1 formation as the structure allowed his side to be flexible and compact in both defence and attack. Given the success of the team last season it would be expected that Macarthur would play in a similar shape this season.
With the side liking to build up play from defence, Tomislav Uskok who comes across from Western United will be the likely replacement for Milligan as a ball-playing centre back.
Dávila will replace Genreau as the playmaker in midfield due to his clever passing and ability to spot weaknesses in the opposition defence.
Jordon Mutch who comes across from the Wanderers will replace Loïc Puyo as a central/defensive midfielder.
The lone striker will be Juric, who be the focal point of the Bulls attack. A physical presence due to his size, he will at times play as a false-nine, dropping back into midfield and creating space for the wide players to attack into such as Tommy Oar and signee Noone, who was a key player in Melbourne City’s premiership last season.
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