01/03/2024

The Inner Sanctum's A-League Men TOTW for Round 4. (Photos: KEEPUP; Design: Will Cuckson)

In a week headlined by red cards and goals galore, The Inner Sanctum looks at the best performing players from Round 4 of the A-League Men.

Here is the very best XI from this weekend’s matches:

The Inner Sanctum’s Team of the Week for Round 4. (Design: Will Cuckson)

Goalkeeper and defenders:

GK – Filip Kurto (Macarthur FC)

Despite being part of a losing Macarthur side after a 3-2 loss to Sydney FC, the Polish shot-stopper is still deserving of his place in the team of the week. A total of 5.05 xG faced, Kurto made 10 saves throughout the night, seven of which were from close range inside the box. Although the Bulls lost on Saturday, the result could have been far worse if Kurto wasn’t between the sticks.

RB – Gabriel Cleur (Western Sydney Wanderers)

The new signing has continued his terrific form for the Wanderers with a classy assist in his side’s 2-0 win against Newcastle. He has been yet to put a foot wrong in Western Sydney’s unbeaten start to the campaign. With six duels won and two fouls drawn for Cleur on Friday, he is pushing to be one of the signings of the season.

CB – Marcelo (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Another TOTW appearance for Marcelo – the 35-year-old continues to shine. It was another clean sheet for him, he gave the Jets absolutely no chance in the air and passed the ball well all night – top shelf.

CB – Ben Warland (Adelaide United)

It was a third consecutive start for Warland in his United homecoming, and he contributed in a big way as the Reds found their first victory of the season. He produced an assist to help them go 2-0 up and defended well to ensure they held on for the win after some late pressure from Perth.

LB – Sam Sutton (Wellington Phoenix)

The young Kiwi enjoyed a top-class performance on Sunday at AAMI Park against the reigning premiers Melbourne City. He was locked into a tough battle with Marco Tilio and scored a screamer of a goal that kickstarted the Phoenix’s late comeback to take a point back to the cake tin.

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Midfielders:

RM – Brandon Borello (Western Sydney Wanderers)

As we near the World Cup, a strong performance from a forgotten Socceroo is sure to get the public talking. Brandon Borello didn’t disappoint with a classy goal for his first in the league in five years, as well as an assist on Friday night. He continues to build strong form in his A-League Men return, but may have left his Qatar run a little late.

CM – Luke Brattan (Sydney FC)

There were no extraordinary goals or assists for the sky-blue star, but just a really solid performance in central midfield as he guided his side to a gutsy win in Campbelltown. He finished with 90 per cent passing accuracy, three successful tackles and was not dispossessed once in his 106-touch game.

CM – Romain Amalfitano (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Another Wanderer in this team, and it is another new recruit. We may look back on the off-season just gone as a history shaping one for Western Sydney, which sits on top of the table. The experienced Frenchman bagged his maiden A-League Men goal and passed at 90 per cent in midfield, looking like a super signing.

LM – Connor Pain (Western United)

Pain was a standout performer in another disappointing outing for Western United this season. An early assist and then a lovely top-corner finish inside the first 30 minutes of the match earns him a spot in this side. He is having a very good start to the season, but needs to see the rest of his side’s midfielders lift with him.

Attackers:

ST – Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners)

It was a standout performance from a striker who has earnt the right to be seriously discussed as deserving a spot in the Socceroos’ World Cup squad. With a goal and two assists as well as another goal which was controversially disallowed, Cummings turned the game around after his side conceded two early goals.

ST – Patrick Wood (Sydney FC)

It was a second goal in as many games for Wood, who is taking his chance in lieu of an injury to Adam Le Fondre. It is great to see another young Australian striker find some form, and hopefully he can continue to start and keep his spot over the English veteran. He is fitting in very well between Sydney’s two dangerous new wingers and presenting well when they are attacking.

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