Short preview for Western Sydney Wanderes' 21/22 A-League Men season.

After a disappointing first season under Carl Robinson, Western Sydney Wanderers will be looking to bounce back and challenge for a spot in the top six.

20/21 Finishing Position: 8th (35 points, nine wins, eight draws, nine losses)

Robinson, who joined the Wanderers ahead of the 2020/21 season, failed to secure a playoff spot in his first campaign in charge. This meant that the club would miss finals for the fourth straight year.

Despite the early disappointment, the WSW board has clearly backed the Welshman, giving him the license to conduct yet another rebuild.

At the time of writing, the club has already secured nine new signings, while a total of 13 senior players left the CommBank Stadium, including 20/21 Player of the Year Bruce Kamau and ex-captain Mitchell Duke.

Biggest in:

The Wanderers have had an excellent off-season, signing players like Israel international Tomer Hemed and former Socceroo Rhys Williams. But of all 10 signings one name seems to stand out, that of Dimitri Petratos.

The ex-Newcastle Jets playmaker, who arrived on loan from Al-Wahda, currently holds the highest market value in the squad (as per Transfermarkt) and will be tasked to carry the creative burden from both open play and set pieces.

Despite growing up in Blacktown, Petratos will be part of the Wanderers for the first time in his career. He has previously played in the A-League Men for Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, and Newcastle Jets, amassing 204 appearances, scoring 42 goals, and providing 30 assists.

Dimi will wear the number 10 shirt during the 2021/22 season, previously worn by Simon Cox.

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Biggest out:

Bruce Kamau was a force to be reckoned with during the 2020/21 season. He scored nine goals in 23 appearances which saw him win the Rod Allen Media Player of the Year, Members’ Player of the Year, and Golden Boot Awards.

The 26-year-old who has been used in all sorts of positions throughout his career was deployed mainly as a second striker. Moving centrally helped him become more direct and able to drive at players using his speed.

Following his most productive season to date, the Kenyan-born forward attracted a lot of interest from overseas which saw him move to OFI Crete in the Greek Super League.

Replacing their top scorer and one of the most creative players will be a hard task but the ex-Vancouver manager will have to find a way if he wants to succeed.

Bruce Kamau celebrating a goal for WSW
Kamau celebrating after scoring a goal for Western Sydney Wanderers (PHOTO: www.wswanderersfc.com.au)

What to expect:

With a bunch of quality additions to the squad, Wanderers’ fans will have even higher expectations and will be looking forward to seeing their team play a more exciting brand of football.

The group is yet to play any sort of pre-season games due to the COVID situation in New South Wales. This makes it hard to predict how their XI will look in the derby opener against Sydney FC at CommBank Stadium.

Sticking to a 3-4-3 formation seems to be the most likely scenario, with the likes of Williams and Koutroumbis both being able to play in a back-three.

Players like Petratos, Najjarine, Troisi, and Ogawa are all capable of providing a spark on every pitch, but it will be up to Carl Robinson to find a way of utilizing their best traits.

The 45-year-old coach has excellent squad depth at his disposal which would allow him to switch between formations every now and then if results aren’t going his way.

Regardless of the line-up and the setup that they decide to use, a playoff place would definitely be the minimum for them in the coming season.

Predicted XI:

Carl Robinson will likely stick to his prefered 3-4-3 formation.

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