Aug 01

Giant killers Heidelberg United stun Perth Glory in FFA Cup

Victorian Premier League side beat A-League club 1-0Wins elsewhere for Melbourne City and Western Sydney WanderersHeidelberg United have become the fourth state-level side in FFA Cup history to knock off an A-League opponent, downing Perth 1-0 in the f…

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Jul 31

‘Stranger things have happened’: Rovers prepare to meet Sydney FC in Darwin | Helen Davidson

The FFA Cup draw has thrown up a classic David and Goliath encounter between part-time players from the tropics and the three-time A-League champions

On a Tuesday evening Darwin Rovers are getting some extra training in at a suburban Darwin oval. They started late because some players hadn’t finished work, and they’re sharing the dying light with a few other sporting groups.

But every session helps ahead of the biggest game of their lives this week, against the reigning A-League champions, Sydney FC.

Related: Football in Australia: as big as it’s going to get? | Paul Connolly

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Jul 19

David Squires on … Arsenal’s pre-season trip to Sydney

Our resident cartoonist looks at the fallout from the Premier League club’s tour to Australia where they faced Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers

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Jul 15

Olivier Giroud helps Arsenal breeze past Western Sydney Wanderers

Arsenal wrap up pre-season tour of Australia with 3-1 winGiroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny net for GunnersArsenal capped their pre-season tour of Australia with a comfortable 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers, thanks to goals by Olivier Girou…

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Jul 13

Alexandre Lacazette scores for Arsenal in friendly win over Sydney FC

Sydney FC 0-2 Arsenal

Mertesacker 4, Lacazette 83

New signing Alexandre Lacazette took only 15 minutes to score on his first outing in an Arsenal shirt as he helped to complete a 2-0 friendly victory over Sydney FC.

Related: Sydney FC 0-2 Arsenal: Lacazette scores in pre-season friendly – as it happened

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Jul 13

Sydney FC 0-2 Arsenal: Lacazette scores in pre-season friendly – as it happened

Goals from Per Mertesacker and Alexandre Lacazette gave the Gunners victory on their tour match at the ANZ Stadium

1.02pm BST

Job done then at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Arsenal will face much tougher opponents in the next few months, but they looked very sharp for a first hitout.

Coquelin, Nelson and Ozil stood out in the first half in which all Arsenal’s players did their bit. Wayward final balls and the absence of a strong presence in the box meant the scoreboard never fully reflected the balance of play, but this isn’t the first or last time you’re going to read that about Arsene Wenger’s side.

12.55pm BST

A good night for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal. Full house, strong performance and a debut goal for Alexandre Lacazette.

12.49pm BST

88 min: In a match that mattered Arsenal may well have howled louder for a penalty as Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the turf, but they’ll settle for a corner. That move the end product of another raking pass from the back. A noticeable change of approach between halves for Wenger, neat and central in the first half, direct and wide in the second.

12.48pm BST

87 min: 2-0 still flatters Sydney but they’re still plugging away, winning a corner and then almost fashioning a chance after it’s swung into the box.

12.45pm BST

That’ll do. Debut goal for Alexandre Lacazette. Swift attack down the right hand side, Lacazette times his run into the box to perfection to sidefoot home from eight yards. Exactly the kind of finish Arsenal have lacked all night. All about the timing of the run, no chance of marking that kind of movement.

12.42pm BST

81 min: Talking earlier about players maybe carrying an ounce or two of extra timber – Oliver Giroud doesn’t look as mobile as the rest of his teammates. Lacazette is one of those and he shows some nice footwork to buy a free-kick on the corner of the box. It comes to nought.

12.40pm BST

79 min: Ooooh, corner on the right for Arsenal and it’s clipped onto the post by Nketiah, lovely effort from the young substitute. Not long afterwards the ball pings around the Sydney box but the home side just about do enough to smuggle it clear.

12.38pm BST

77 min: The latest clip in Redmayne’s showreel comes courtesy of a diving save to push Oxlade-Chamberlain’s free kick away towards the corner flag.

12.37pm BST

75 min: Iwobi again with the chance, shooting from a narrow angle into the remarkable Redmayne. Where the first half was all possession and incisive through-balls, this half has been rapid, direct counterattacks. Still, only the one scrappy goal from a corner to show for it.

12.35pm BST

73 min: of the subs, Iwobi has been the brightest, operating to the right of the forward line and looking like he has a point to prove.

12.32pm BST

70 min: Lacazette, wearing the number 9 shirt is doing his best to get involved, dropping deep linking play, allowing fellow sub Giroud to lead the line.

12.29pm BST

68 min: I think that was all ten outfield subs for Arsenal. All you really need to know is Alexandre Lacazette is now on the field. What will he reveal in the final 20 minutes or so?

12.28pm BST

67 min: Saves at both ends, Redmayne’s routine, Martinez’s a bit tastier to keep out Lokolingoy.

An avalanche of subs on the way…

12.26pm BST

65 min: Decent spell for Sydney, fashioning some decent field position without creating a clear chance.

More subs: Iredale and Green on for Carney and Ryall for Sydney.

12.23pm BST

62 min: Not as many subs as you might expect. Lacazette still going through his paces, no sign he’s making an appearance any time soon.

12.22pm BST

60 min: And that man Redmayne’s at it again. Arsenal have had more joy down the left than the right this half and from that source Walcott enjoys time and space in the box but he can’t beat the diving yellow-clad superhero.

12.21pm BST

58 mins: This is probably Andrew Redmayne’s best ever game. A journeyman A-League benchwarmer turned one-man army. Well done young man.

12.17pm BST

Redmayne dives low to his right and keeps out Welbeck’s firmly struck spot kick. Cliche klaxon – it was a nice height for the keeper – but it was still a good effort from the Sydney stopper.


12.16pm BST

And it’s a howler! Seb Ryall dived across to make a miraculous save as Walcott looked set to tap the ball into an empty net. For some reason Shaun Evans points to the spot, presumably thinking the ball hit the sliding defender’s hand, but it smacked into his back!

12.13pm BST

53 min: Redmayne again called into action, this time repelling Bramall’s volley.

12.12pm BST

52 min: Sydney have their second decent opportunity of the match, sub Zuvela shooting sharply from just inside the box, forcing Martinez into a smart save low to his left. Zuvela, by the way, is a big Arsenal fan, he shaves his legs the morning of each game, and his last meal would be lobster mornay. Now you know.

12.10pm BST

50 min: First decent chance of the half falls to Nelson after he’s picked out by Ozil’s panache. His shot is deflected, leading to the latest in a series of dangerous corners. That’s somehow cleared but Arsenal continue to press resulting in Walcott firing over when he should hit the target.

12.08pm BST

48 min: Really just on Lacazette watch now as the second half begins in pedestrian fashion, I’ll keep you updated.

Arsenal sub – Martinez on for Cech.

12.07pm BST

The disjointed second half has begun.

12.06pm BST

The second half is almost upon us, which means the cavlcade of substitutions is about to begin.

Sydney FC get us underway with a couple – youngsters Kuleski and Zuvela on for the more senior Zullo and Brosque.

12.04pm BST

A little bit on Reiss Nelson here – definitely worth the hype, based on one half of a preseason friendly against a sluggish Australian team.

Related: Next Generation 2016: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

12.02pm BST

So it’s @mertesacker‘s goal that gives us the lead at half-time – but which player has impressed you most?#ArsenalinSydney

Nelson, Coquelin and Ozil for mine.

11.54am BST

One for State of Origin fans:

@JPHowcroft Second night in a row a NSW team has failed to do the basics right. This is going to get messy

11.50am BST

Arsenal dominated from whistle to whistle but only have one goal to show for it. Plenty of positive signs for Arsene Wenger though, not least the lively Reiss Nelson on the right hand side.

11.47am BST

44 min: Walcott accelerates from his marker and shoots from range, but it’s a scuffed dribbler. That final ball and shot letting Arsenal down on what has been an otherwise excellent showing.

11.45am BST

42 min: The timing of Arsenal’s runners is beautiful to watch. Both the run and the weight of the pass in behind has been spot on time after time, allowing Arsenal to turn Sydney’s defenders and threaten in the final third.

Willock the latest to force a save from Redmayne after a slaloming run through the middle of the park.

11.43am BST

39 min: Sydney have enjoyed a decent couple of minutes since that unexpected chance, retaining possession and forcing Arsenal back into their own half. Graham Arnold is growing visibly frustrated on the touchline though at the volume of errant passes.

11.41am BST

11.39am BST

35 min: Hang on! Out of nowhere Josh Brillante breaks the lines and darts past Mertersacker, forcing Cech into a good save low to his right. The rebound just forces Simon wider than he wanted and he fires the second chance into the side netting.

Arsenal go down the other end and force Redmayne into a couple of sharp stops.

11.36am BST

31 min: Big cheer for Alexandre Lacazette, um, warming up. He could still score a dozen in the second half mind you, Arsenal bossing this. Nelson again looking the business but his Ronaldo-like dazzling feet can’t fashion an opening.

11.33am BST

29 min: Another half-chance for Arsenal with Welbeck seeing his shot blocked after some incisive passing through the centre of the field. The pressure continues though and a Walcott drive forces a fumbly save from Redmayne at his near post. The resulting corner again causes mayhem in the Sky Blue box but Bielik can’t convert.

11.31am BST

27 min: Not a lot for Sydney to shout about so far. Last season was built on forcing turnovers high up the field but they just don’t stand a chance of getting Arsenal in their half. Coming out from the back the front two are isolated, slowing the game to walking pace just to retain possession.

11.27am BST

23 min: This is men against boys stuff despite the scoreline only showing one goal between the sides. Arsenal have looked very sharp for a first hitout, nipping into challenges with purpose and shifting the ball easily. The final pass remains a problem though, Walcott the latest offender.

11.24am BST

21 min: Another corner, another soft chance for Arsenal, Bielik this time. Quickly followed by a break down the left and a ball across the edge of the six yard box that’s just cut out by Jordy Buijs.

11.22am BST

19 min: Coquelin is another Arsenal player to have started brightly. His reading of the game to break up play and instigate counterattacks has stood out. From one such moment Nelson again shows his promise, jinking one way then the other before opting to pass when a shot was on.

11.20am BST

16 min: Almost a second for Arsenal. Reiss Nelson is a handful on the right hand side and he wriggles his way into the box only for Welbeck to take over and see his shot deflected wide. From the ensuing corner Walcott almost doubles the lead as Sydney again fail to defend confidently.

11.17am BST

14 min: Anyway, back to the live action, you haven’t missed much but Sydney are starting to get a foothold but they’re unable to string any passes together. The game already at walking pace.

11.16am BST

I knew I’d heard of this somewhere before – there’s even video evidence!

11.15am BST

A correction of sorts on Arsenal’s history in Australia.

@JPHowcroft Last time Arsenal were in Oz was 1988. I was there. Rocastle,Thomas, Lukic, Smith, Davis, etc @guardian

11.13am BST

9 min: This could be a cricket score. Welbeck and Walcott are stretching Sydney’s defence like that gloopy sticky stuff you threw at the walls in school only for it to get covered in lint and lose its adhesiveness. Bramall and Nelson are the primary beneficiaries but the final pass is just lacking for now.

11.11am BST

7 min: Arsenal knocking the ball around like a training drill, building from the back, Kolašinac taking plenty of responsibility to bring the ball out. Further forward Sydney are chasing shadows, all Arsenal’s attacking players finding space and looking purposeful.

11.08am BST

Eurgh, that is ugly for Sydney FC. An Ozil corner is not dealt with and in the ensuing scramble the giant praying mantis Mertersacker smuggles the ball beyond Redmayne. Very very soft way to open proceedings here.

11.07am BST

3 min: First shot on target is a speculative long range effort from Welbeck. Arsenal settling into their passing nicely, Nelson and Bramall offering dynamism on the flanks.

11.05am BST

1 min: It takes just 40 second for Arsenal to carve open Sydney’s defence. Lovely work down the left from new boy Kolašinac creates a shooting opportunity for Walcott but it’s blocked.

11.04am BST

Arsenal, kicking from left to right for those playing along at home, get us underway.

11.02am BST

Out they come; Sydney in their recently released all-sky blue uniform (currently without a sponsor, which is a tad disappointing), Arsenal in their third strip of all black with fluro pink trim.

The referee tonight is one of Australia’s full-time refs, Shaun Evans.

10.59am BST

Not long to go before kick off now. Way more red and white in the olympic stadium than sky blue. It’s vital the A-League figures out a way of converting these football fans who have affiliations overseas into engaged supporters of local teams.

10.46am BST

TONIGHT’S blockbuster is officially a SELLOUT! The seats are filling up ahead of warm ups here!! #SydneyIsSkyBlue #ArsenalinSydney

10.44am BST

The last time Arsenal were in Australia was for the World of Soccer Cup in 1977. This was a four-way tournament featuring an Australian XI, Red Star Belgrade, and eventual winners Celtic. It would be the last trophy won by Jock Stein in club football.

Terry Neill’s squad for that trip: Rimmer, Rice, Nelson, Powling, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Hudson, Macdonald, Stapleton, Armstrong, Rix, Mathews.

10.43am BST

You may notice a similarity between Sydney FC’s coach, Graham Arnold, and Bill Murray’s portrayal of the Wes Anderson character Steve Zissou. If you hadn’t, you now can’t unsee it.

10.39am BST

The Sky Blues starting XI is around half-strength from the settled side that dominated the last A-League season.

Arsenal’s centre-halves will be delighted the combative Matt Simon is starting up front – he will test the ‘friendly’ nature of this exhibition.

LINEUP | Here’s how we shape up for our first pre-season clash v @premierleague giants @Arsenal! Thoughts? #SydneyIsSkyBlue #ArsenalinSydney

10.37am BST

The headline news is Lacazette will begin on the pine, which is a bit of a shame.

There’s an early look at Bosnian international Sead Kolašinac who will start on the left of a back three as Wenger persists with the formation that Antonio Conte so successfully trolled the Premier League with last season. Cohen Bramall, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock all make their senior debuts.

The teams are in – let’s do this, lads #ArsenalinSydney

10.36am BST

10.33am BST

We meet again. Just 47 days since Arsenal brought the curtain down on a turbulent campaign by lifting the FA Cup, the Gunners are in action again.

Arsene Wenger’s 21st preseason in charge begins against Sydney FC at a sold out ANZ Stadium. It may seem like the first and most insignificant step in a marathon of a season to residents of N7, but to Australian-based Arsenal fans this is their first opportunity in 40 years to see their heroes in action.

2.06am BST

Jonathan will be here shortly. One man who isn’t in Sydney tonight is Alexis Sánchez, the want-away striker who hasn’t travelled to Australia amid something of a transfer standoff. Have a read of David Hytner’s analysis of that particular situation:

Related: Arsenal, Alexis Sánchez and the question of who will blink first

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Jul 12

Red and Black Bloc threatened with closure as Wanderers run out of patience

  • Open letter issues stern warning to ‘rogue element’ of supporter group
  • Club asks true fans to step up and lead group into future

Western Sydney Wanderers have threatened to disband their active supporter group, the Red and Black Bloc, if a “rogue element” among its membership steps out of line once more. In an open letter to fans, Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas said the RBB was on borrowed time and called for new leaders to step up within the group amid concerns over the suitability of those currently in charge.

“As a club we are looking to bring forward a new era in active support,” Tsatsimas said in the letter. “This has come about due to the number of incidents in our short history which have compromised our club, our values and our culture.

Related: Banned Western Sydney fans are ‘juvenile idiots’, says Ange Postecoglou

Related: David Squires on … the Red and Black Bloc’s homophobic banner

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Jul 10

Alexandre Lacazette poised to make Arsenal debut in Sydney

  • Club’s record signing named in Gunners’ squad for trip to Australia
  • Saed Kolašinac and Olivier Giroud also on plane for two friendlies

Arsenal’s most expensive signing is poised to debut at ANZ Stadium this week after Alexandre Lacazette was named in the 25-man squad to play Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Lacazette, who last week signed for a club record £52.7m from Lyon, has boarded a plane bound for Sydney with his new Premier League side and manager Arsène Wenger.

Related: Alexandre Lacazette: will the £52.7m signing propel Arsenal to the next level?

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Jun 18

Big-money Aaron Mooy move sets alarm bells ringing in A-League | Jonathan Howcroft

Manchester City will bank what is set to be an Australian record transfer fee as pure profit after they signed the midfielder for nothing from Melbourne City

The City Football Academy in Melbourne’s north is one of the most impressive sporting amenities in Australia. Architecturally, the complex funnels the attention of staff towards the training ground, as a permanent reminder of the site’s purpose. Those pitches use state of the art hybrid grass technology and their most recent occupants included Lionel Messi, with Argentina using the centre as a training base for the recent SuperClàsico. The facility cost its owners, the City Football Group (CFG), $15m. For context, they acquired City’s A-League licence for $11.25m.

On a tour of the centre shortly after it opened I was taken from the reception atrium into the inner sanctum. One of the first things to emerge behind the security doors was the communal lounge where staff and players ate lunch and played video games. In the corner of the room a noisy table tennis contest was taking place. Among the participants was Aaron Mooy.

Related: ‘We want to win it, mate’: Postecoglou aims high at Confederations Cup

Related: David Squires on … a busy week for Australian football and aeronautics enthusiasts

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May 31

Brisbane Roar to appeal AFC fine over lack of ‘international buffet’ for officials

  • Roar claim fine issued for not providing officials with lobster twice a day
  • AFC refutes those claims and accuses club of lacking respect for rules

Brisbane Roar will appeal a hefty fine from the Asian Football Confederation for not providing “international buffet style” meals for a group of travelling Champions League match officials.

But the AFC has refuted claims from Roar managing director Mark Kingsman that they were sanctioned because the six-man delegation, headed by match referee Wang Di, was unable to eat lobster twice a day, accusing the club of a lack of respect for the competition’s strict regulations.

Related: ABC defends Sydney FC v Liverpool coverage described by host as ‘train wreck’

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May 26

ABC defends Sydney FC v Liverpool coverage described by host as ‘train wreck’

Jules Schiller says technical issues partly to blame after Football Federation Australia expresses ‘disappointment’

The ABC has defended its decision to use Sydney FC’s friendly with Liverpool to broadcast “a different offering” to football fans after its coverage of the match was roundly criticised by fans and fellow broadcasters.

The show on ABC2 on Wednesday night was described by some viewers as cringeworthy and embarrassing on social media, and even as “a train wreck” by one of its hosts, Jules Schiller.

Pre-game, half-time & post-game coverage wasn’t to standard expected by @FFA & football fans. We’ve made that point to ABC management. (2/2)

Who thought this was a good idea at FFA!This is is unforgivable and I and every supporter of our game would like an answer ! #LIVSYD

How does ABC get coverage for Sydney Fc vs Liverpool and have hosts who don’t even know anything about football!?!? #livsyd #RedsInSydney

Love my Reds but this Liverpool v Sydney FC pregame show on the ABC is an absolute shocker. #lfc #sfc

Related: Liverpool make light work of Sydney FC on whistle-stop trip to Australia

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May 24

Liverpool make light work of Sydney FC on whistle-stop trip to Australia

  • Sydney FC 0-3 Liverpool, ANZ Stadium
  • Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher wheeled out to delight of fans

For Liverpool it was meant to be a celebration of the season just finished; for Sydney FC, a club also with good cause for celebration after their title-winning campaign, it was a chance to prove themselves against a grand old European club – albeit one that was tired, jet-lagged and understrength.

At the end of a predictably pedestrian close-season match in the harbour city, it was the visitors who most fulfilled their pre-match aspirations in a comfortable 3-0 win, much to the delight of the heavily pro-Liverpool crowd, after goals by Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno and Roberto Firmino set up the mother of all smash and grabs.

Related: Jürgen Klopp demands consistent Champions League spot for Liverpool

Related: Can the A-League learn anything from the US experience with the MLS?

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May 19

Wanderers not doing enough to fight homophobia, Matildas striker says

Michelle Heyman says the continued online display of the fan group’s offensive banner ‘kind of breaks my heart’

The failure of Western Sydney Wanderers to tackle online homophobic material among fans is “a joke”, Matildas striker Michelle Heyman has said, as images of an offensive banner continue to be shared from the club’s supporters’ social media accounts.

The banner’s resurgence online “kind of breaks my heart”, Heyman said.

Their action has to be swift and I don’t believe that to have been the case

Related: Western Sydney escape with $20,000 FFA fine for fans’ homophobic banner

Related: FFA condemn homophobic Wanderers fans’ banner in Sydney derby

Related: Fourteen Wanderers fans banned by club over roles in display of banner

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May 17

A-League footballer Mitch Nichols charged over drug possession

Midfielder allegedly caught with 1.1 grams of white powder in nightclubNichols is looking for a new club after being released by WanderersMitch Nichols, who will leave Western Sydney Wanderers at the end of the month, has been charged after allegedly b…

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May 10

David Squires on … Melbourne Victory’s innovative grand final plan to stifle Sydney FC

Our resident cartoonist signs off for the season with a look back at an eventful and at times combustible A-League grand final

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May 10

George Calombaris charged with assault after A-League grand final incident

The MasterChef judge was on the field after the match and became embroiled in an argument with fans, which allegedly ended with him shoving one man MasterChef judge George Calombaris has been charged with assault after he allegedly shoved a young man a…

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May 08

Newcastle Jets turn to experienced Ernie Merrick to fill vacant coach post

  • Merrick takes over at club following sacking of Mark Jones last month
  • Hugely experienced coach has 241 A-League games under his belt

Ernie Merrick has been confirmed as coach of the Newcastle Jets for the next two A-League seasons. The Scot had been a frontrunner for the Jets role since Mark Jones was sacked last month, one year into a two-year deal.

The 64-year-old will join the Jets as one of the A-League’s most experienced and decorated coaches. During 241 A-League games, Merrick won the 2007 and 2009 titles with A-League heavyweights Melbourne Victory.

Related: Sydney FC breathe sigh of relief as season of domination is justly rewarded | Sam Perry

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May 08

Police investigating A-League grand final fracas involving George Calombaris

MasterChef judge, who pushed a man, expressing regret for his actions, which he said were in response to abuse aimed at his family

New South Wales Police have said that they are investigating the fracas that saw celebrity chef George Calombaris shove a football fan in the stands at Allianz Stadium following Sunday’s A-League grand final.

Calombaris, the MasterChef judge and avid Melbourne Victory fan, was on the pitch at the conclusion of the match – which Victory lost to Sydney FC in a penalty shootout – when he reacted to something said in the crowd.

Related: George Calombaris’s restaurant empire hands staff $2.6m in unpaid overtime

Masterchef madness as Victory fan Calombaris boils over | : The World Game

Penalties on a Sunday never his thing.

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May 07

‘The thing is, I’m never happy’: Graham Arnold continues pursuit of perfection

  • ‘We can go higher, we can get better,’ says Sydney FC coach after grand final
  • Sky Blues beat Melbourne Victory in shootout to claim third A-League title

Graham Arnold is a difficult man to please. The Sydney FC coach might have been forgiven for revelling in the glory of winning the A-League title on Sunday night and perhaps allowing himself to relax and enjoy a rare moment of reflection on what has been a remarkable season.

Instead the 53-year-old, who became just the third coach to win the A-League title twice following his side’s dramatic penalty shootout win over Melbourne Victory, was already thinking of how to improve next season.

Related: Sydney FC crowned A-League champions after grand final shootout against Melbourne Victory

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May 07

Sydney FC breathe sigh of relief as season of domination is justly rewarded | Sam Perry

Following their grand final win, there can be no argument about the identity of the A-League’s best team, though there probably should not have been anyway

It is now incontestable. After an A-League grand final played at an unmatched intensity, Sydney FC emerged limping victors. In doing so, they applied the arguable but evidently necessary sheen to crown themselves undisputed champions, and can now safely enter the realms of A-League legend. After a bruising encounter that won’t be soon forgotten, the operative word in Sydney is surely, “phew”.

Related: Sydney FC crowned A-League champions after grand final shootout against Melbourne Victory

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