Oct 13

A-League: John Aloisi roars at Adelaide’s fitness ‘myth’

Brisbane Roar coach says it was his own team’s lack of conditioning that proved decisive in the Reds’ 2-1 winBrisbane Roar coach John Aloisi believes it is a “myth” that Adelaide United are much fitter than other A-League sides, arguing it was his own …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/14/a-league-john-aloisi-roars-at-adelaides-fitness-myth

Oct 08

Newcastle off to a flier as Central Coast preseason’s fantasies prove short-lived | Jonathan Howcroft

Led by their creative trio, the impressive Newcastle turned their new coach’s tactics board into a counterattacking clinicThere’s something life-affirming about the giddiness that precedes the opening round of the season. The “it’s got to be our year!”…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/09/newcastle-off-to-a-flier-as-central-coasts-preseason-fantasies-prove-short-lived

Oct 08

Wanderers begin post-Popovic era with A-League victory over Perth

Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Perth GloryWellington Phoenix 1-1 Adelaide UnitedNo Tony Popovic, no problem for Western Sydney Wanderers as they opened their A-League season with a 2-1 home win over Perth Glory on Sunday. A week after it was announced co…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/08/wanderers-begin-post-popovic-era-with-a-league-victory-over-perth

Oct 06

Melbourne City 2-0 Brisbane Roar: A-League season opener – as it happened

  • Bruce Kamau brace settles first game of new campaign
  • City get their season off to decent start at AAMI Park

12.05pm BST

It might not have been the exciting season opener wanted by A-League executives, but Melbourne City fans won’t be complaining after commencing their campaign with a comfortable two goal victory over Brisbane Roar on Friday. An edge-of-the-box strike from Bruce Kamau on the stroke of half-time gave City the initial advantage, before the silky winger doubled his tally late in the second stanza.

Kamau was frustratingly inconsistent throughout the night, combining the two goals and several other chances with poor first touches and dead-end runs. But he was ultimately the difference, combining well with emergency loan signing Ross McCormack and midfielder Nick Fitzgerald to regularly trouble Brisbane. City’s Dutch signing Bart Schenkeveld was calm and collected in defence, ensuring a few half-chances from the Roar were just that.

11.49am BST

90 + 4 min: Peep! Jarred Gillett brings proceedings to a close. Not the most glamorous opener to A-League season XIII, an ultimately comfortable win for home side Melbourne City. Bruce Kamau with his first career brace.

11.47am BST

90 +2 min: The result is very much sorted, but don’t tell City’s Bruce Kamau, who is everywhere trying to complete his hat-trick.

11.44am BST

89 min: Brisbane make one last throw of the dice … with a defensive substitution, Luke De Vere on for Avraam Papadopoulos.

11.42am BST

Unless there is a dramatic turn-around in the final minutes, Melbourne City fans will be going home happy tonight.

11.39am BST

83 min: Brisbane boss John Aloisi rolls the dice, bringing on youngster Rahmat Akbari for Nicholas D’Agostino. The Afghan-born attacker is immediately in the action, forcing the first save of the night for City keeper Eugene Galekovic.

11.38am BST

82 min: Bruce Kamau with another nice run towards the Brisbane box, but the double goalscorer is brought down. Melbourne City make two substitutes: marquee Marcin Budzinski on for Ross McCormack; Nick Fitzgerald for Scott Jamieson.

11.34am BST

More insight from the twittering class.

One of the strangest individual games by Bruce Kamau, turns it over, can’t stand up, loses the ball, scores twice #MCYvBRI

Maccarone is cooked #MCYvBRI

Seagulls look fresh after the long offseason. Terrific work rate. #MCYvBRI

11.29am BST

73 min: Goal! Bruce Kamau gets a brace. Nick Fitzgerald with a slicing pass from the left finds Kamau in the box, and even a deflection can’t prevent the 22-year-old from finding his second of the night. All over for Brisbane Roar?

11.28am BST

72 min: Bruce Kamau lobs in a ball to Ross McCormack, who plays it to Stefan Mauk to blaze over.

11.27am BST

71 min: Bruce Kamau wins a corner for Melbourne. City fans – thoughts on your Kenyan-born winger? He has been single-handedly the most frustrating and most exciting player tonight. As is often the way, I guess.

11.25am BST

69 min: Another opportunity for Brisbane, before City counter quickly through Bruce Kamau. Closed down by the Roar at the top of their box, but Melbourne regather. Dangerous stuff.

11.24am BST

67 min: Brisbane’s Petros Skapetis takes the ball on the right-hand side, dances down the flank and along the byline, before hitting it straight at Melbourne custodian Eugene Galekovic.

11.23am BST

The seagulls are everywhere tonight. Perhaps one of the Melbourne teams should hire a bird trainer and put them to use as a collective 12th man. Innovative.

The seagulls are playing well….. #MCYvBRI

11.21am BST

65 min: City’s Nick Fitzgerald puts in a floating ball for Ross McCormack at the back post, but the Aston Villa loanee can’t control.

11.20am BST


‘Maccarone saving his legs.’ It’s R1!!! #MCYvBRI

11.18am BST

62 min: Brisbane marquee Massimo Maccarone dances through the Melbourne defensive line but ultimately comes unstuck. Maccarone has had a few dangerous moments, but generally been too anonymous for the Roar tonight.

11.15am BST

59 min: Petros Skapetis with an incisive run down the right-hand flank for Brisbane, but his cross can’t find an orange-shirted colleague.

11.13am BST

Brisbane gaffer John Aloisi, he of that famous 2005 penalty strike against Uruguay, has been touted as a possible replacement to current Socceroos manager Ange Postecoglou. Will Aloisi still be with the Roar come April?

11.10am BST

55 min: Some nice build-up play from Melbourne City, with Bruce Kamau again involved. Nothing comes of it, but the pressure is increasing on Brisbane.

11.08am BST

52 min: Brisbane are struggling to find the attacking chances they need to have any hope of drawing level with the home team. I wonder whether the Roar’s Afghanistan-born wonderkid, Rahmat Akbari, might be substituted on to add some flair.

11.02am BST

47 min: Fahid Ben Khalfallah collects the match’s third yellow for a nasty tackle on Osama Malik.

11.01am BST

46 min: Referee Jarred Gillett resumes play. Can Brisbane get back in the game? Asked this very question, Fox Sports commentator Robbie Slater offers an inspired answer: “With a goal”.

10.59am BST

Some statistics courtesy of the A-League. Second half about to get underway.

MATCH STATS | @MelbourneCity led all the stats in the first half. Did they deserve their 1-0 lead? #ALeague #MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/BoKqbrbG7f

10.57am BST

City’s Bruce Kamau unleashes his goal-scoring strike.

10.51am BST

Highlights from Sokkah Twitter.

When Maccarone meets Kevin Muscat in round 6 #MCYvBRI #Aleague pic.twitter.com/L7dQKBBugY

Ross McCormack really isn’t as exciting a signing as some unknown South American #MCYvBRI

When Kamau scored #MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/o8T6u6dYGi

10.48am BST

While you’re waiting for the second half, here’s some thought-provoking analysis from Ante Jukic of the Socceroos’ draw with Syria last night. And do write in to let me know your views on the first 45 minutes of the A-League season, via email or Twitter.

Related: Socceroos: Postecoglou’s tactical decisions leading to risky outcomes

10.46am BST

Well, a goal right on the edge of the half to Bruce Kamau has livened up the A-League season opener. Otherwise it has been a reasonably balanced affair, neither side controlling the game. Melbourne City has had 66% of the possession, but it had not showed until Kamau’s late strike.

10.41am BST

44 min: And Bruce Kamau immediately redeems himself! The resulting corner is headed back to a waiting Kamau, who slots in a slick shot from the edge of the box. Melbourne City with the first goal of the 13th A-League season.

10.40am BST

44 min: Bruce Kamau found himself alone in the Melbourne City box, with the offside flag down, but can’t make anything of it. A wasted opportunity there.

10.39am BST

43 min: Nasty collision between Nicholas D’Agostino and Luke Brattan causes a stoppage. D’Agostino comes off second best.

10.38am BST

41 min: More great defending from Jade North puts out a dangerous Melbourne City cross for the corner. Also, I keep almost typing Manchester City…

10.36am BST

39 min: Manny Muscat finds Ross McCormack in the box, who miscontrols and fires wide. That could have been the opener for City…

10.35am BST

37 min: Bruce Kamau creates a nice opportunity on the right-hand side for Melbourne City. The ball is then switched to the left before bobbling to Brisbane custodian Michael Theo. A very mixed night so far for Kamau – flashes of brilliance and flashes of ordinariness.

10.33am BST

City’s last-minute loan signing Ross McCormack of Aston Villa has had some nice touches tonight, but failed to threaten Michael Theo in the Brisbane goal.

10.30am BST

33 min: Petros Skapetis causing more grief for Melbourne City on the right-hand side of their box. Nothing coming of it, yet…

10.29am BST

Some of the Twitterati are not inspired with the A-League’s choice of season opener.

#MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/N1JtwzHHTd

So if its a draw at full time, we award the 3 points to whomever had the most possession right? #MCYvBRI

10.27am BST

Cam Melling has been in touch via Twitter. He wants to know whether Brisbane fans are happy with Massimo Maccarone as their marquee. “Surely too old now,” he offers. Thoughts, Roar supporters?

10.27am BST

29 min: Petros Skapetis fizzes a ball across the goal mouth, but Nicholas D’Agostino cannot convert for Brisbane.

10.22am BST

24 min: 22-year-old Bruce Kamau has been active for Melbourne City, but his first-touch is looking shaky. I’m told Kamau wants to be a rapper. Who would win a rap battle among the A-League clubs?

10.20am BST

Ron Smith, a respected coach and technical analyst, doesn’t think much of the Brisbane strip.

That has to be the worst strip Brisbane Roar have ever had to wear. #MCYvBRI

10.18am BST

21 min: City’s Manny Muscat collects the first yellow card of the A-League season with a reducer on Fahid Ben Khalfallah.

10.17am BST

Brisbane’s bald-headed marquee Massimo Maccarone has had some nice early touches during his A-League debut.

10.15am BST

18 min: Luke Brattan plays a nice slicing pass to Stefan Mauk on the right-hand flank, but Brisbane’s Jade North cuts it out. Moments later some nice build-up play unleashes Nicholas D’Agostino for the Roar, who comes close to an opening goal.

10.12am BST

No prizes for guessing who Tim Cahill is cheering for, as he watches the game with his Socceroos team mates in Sydney.

Let’s go CITY ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/oGb2xQt54t

10.11am BST

14 min: Luke Brattan has been involved in plenty of the early action for Melbourne City. He’s also had a haircut.

10.09am BST

12 min: Bruce Kamau goes on a marauding run through the Brisbane Road midfield, although it comes to nothing. Moments later Iacopo La Rocca lays off for Stefan Mauk on the edge of the box, but Mauk blazes wide.

10.06am BST

9 min: Nothing too exciting to report – the ball gets bogged down on one flank and we have about five consecutive throw-ins. Meanwhile, AAMI Park’s seagulls are enjoying themselves in the City half.

10.02am BST

5 min: End-to-end football so far, with Brisbane and City both creating some nice attacking movement. The Roar’s bright orange new playing strip is causing controversy on Twitter. Thoughts, fashion critics?

9.59am BST

2 min: Brisbane’s new signing Maccarone already in the thick of the action, holding the ball up near the City box before picking out team-mate Caletti who shoots just wide.

9.56am BST

1 min: Peeep! Referee Jarred Gillett commences proceedings at AAMI Park. Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar – the 13th A-League season is underway!

9.55am BST

Can someone take the memes away from the A-League? Okay, I’ll admit I am a little excited too.

The wait is almost over!!! Kick-off to season 2017/18 is only moments away #MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/R6Z53rrt9F

9.53am BST

9.46am BST

What are your predictions tonight? I’m reliably informed that there has NEVER been a goalless encounter between these two teams, so a 0-0 tip would be brave. Let me know your thoughts via email or Twitter.

9.40am BST

It will be interesting to see how many Melburnians turn out for the A-League season opener, after a sport-packed past month. Journalist Vince Rugari is in the stands:

Not too many bodies in at AAMI Park at this stage #MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/ruQUxyxH9X

9.36am BST

While we’re waiting for kick-off (7.50pm AEDT), have a read of the best A-League pre-season analysis in town: Jonathan Howcroft’s three part preview. The contenders, the outside chances and the underdogs are all put under scrutiny by Jonathan. Recommended reading!

9.31am BST

Team news is in – McCormack up front for Melbourne City and Brisbane’s marquee Maccarone also starting.

Our first team is in for the new @ALeague season! #MCYvBRI Kick-off 7.50pm. pic.twitter.com/yQbHLch8cA

TEAM NEWS | The wait is over! @ALeague season 13 kicks off tonight as we take on @MelbourneCity at @AAMIPark #FEELTHEROAR #MCYvBRI pic.twitter.com/xTolveuOEU

9.24am BST

Lucky 13? The latest season of the A-League begins tonight with Australian football on the brink of crisis. The enigmatic Socceroos are in very real danger of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while the brawl between Football Federation Australia and other stakeholders (A-League clubs among them) shows no sign of detente. Amid the gloom, will the domestic league emerge as a ray of hope?

Player recruitment has been sensible, if not splashy, and administrators have revamped the competition’s marketing. The likes of Xavi Torres (Perth Glory) or Tom Hiariej (Central Coast Mariners) might not improve gate receipts, but they do bring European quality to the pitch. With little to separate the top six or seven sides, fans could be in for a riveting season. As the off-field drama inevitably continues, perhaps some actual football could do everyone a world of good.

4.09am BST

Kieran will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a read of Jonathan Howcroft’s season preview.

Related: A-League: off-season recruitment augurs well for new season

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/oct/06/melbourne-city-v-brisbane-roar-a-league-season-opener-live

Oct 05

A-League: off-season recruitment augurs well for new season

Despite war between clubs and FFA and a summer full of big sporting events, A-League fans have much to look forward to

If the turmoil wasn’t so familiar it would be tempting to regard the 13th instalment of the A-League as cursed. On the eve of the new season clubs are at war with the governing body (again), the Socceroos are shredding nerves in a World Cup playoff (again), and the once clearish air of midsummer will be tested like never before with an Ashes series, an ascendant Big Bash League and the nascent AFLW competing for attention. Fortunately, the on-field product promises to be robust following one of the smartest off-seasons of player recruitment yet.

The season kicks off tonight with Melbourne City hosting Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park. City will be without Tim Cahill, who 12-months ago was almost single-handedly responsible for any hype around the competition. This time around he will be recovering from the first leg of Australia’s AFC playoff against Syria in Melaka and preparing for the vital second leg in Sydney on Tuesday.

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part three: the title contenders | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: Next Generation 2017: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/06/a-league-off-season-recruitment-augers-well-for-new-season

Oct 04

A-League 2017-18 season preview part three: the title contenders | Jonathan Howcroft

It’s the third and final instalment of our A-League season preview – AKA the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it edition. There’s no prizes for guessing which teams we reckon should be challenging for the championship and premiership during the 2017-18 campaign, with another Sydney FC vs Melbourne Victory ding-dong on the horizon.

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

Related: Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

Related: A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Related: David Squires on … the governance crisis threatening Australian football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/05/a-league-2017-18-season-preview-part-three-the-title-contenders

Oct 03

A-League 2017-18 season preview part two: the outside chances | Jonathan Howcroft

The second of our team-by-team guides looks at three sides with bags of talent but hamstrung by obvious frailtiesPart one: the teams bubbling underIns: Mitch Nichols (Wanderers), Scott Neville (Wanderers), Jacob Poscoliero (Mariners), Jake Brimmer (Liv…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/04/a-league-2017-18-season-preview-part-two-the-outside-chances

Oct 02

A-League 2017-18 preview part one: the teams bubbling under

Our team-by-team guide to the new season kicks off with the four sides least likely to make the finals this year

Wellington, Central Coast, Adelaide and Newcastle – if you support any of these teams you probably think what follows is a stitch-up or further evidence of some kind of bias. And the truth is, they could all equally go on to make the top four; this is Australian football we’re talking about after all, a universe about as reliable as a Trump administration spokesperson.

Yet there also happens to be some logic behind the decision to include them. This quartet occupied the bottom four spots on last year’s ladder, three of them have been hanging around there for the past two seasons, a pair of them for the last three years, and in the case of the Jets, seven seasons on the trot. So, while each can look forward to improved efforts, they still have plenty of ground to make up on sides above them.

Related: Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/03/a-league-2017-18-preview-part-one-the-teams-bubbling-under

Oct 01

Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season

  • Coach leaves to join Turkish Süper Lig club Karabukspor
  • ‘The timing is not great,’ Popovic says

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has quit the A-League club just a week out from the start of the new season.

After five seasons at the Wanderers, Popovic confirmed his resignation on Sunday and will join Turkish club Karabukspor.

Related: David Squires on … the governance crisis threatening Australian football

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/01/tony-popovic-quits-western-sydney-wanderers-on-eve-of-a-league-season

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…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/02/giant-killers-heidelberg-united-stun-perth-glory-in-ffa-cup

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/01/rovers-prepare-to-meet-sydney-fc-in-darwin

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/ng-interactive/2017/jul/20/david-squires-on-arsenals-pre-season-trip-to-sydney

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…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/15/olivier-giroud-helps-arsenal-breeze-past-western-sydney-wanderers

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/13/alexandre-lacazette-scores-for-arsenal-in-friendly-win-over-sydney-fc

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 pic.twitter.com/Y8fBKWlAZj

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. https://t.co/deSVDiEle8 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 pic.twitter.com/OtHOrrrPcq

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 pic.twitter.com/Nwkei46UlU

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 pic.twitter.com/qkxL7NtJto

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/jul/13/sydney-fc-v-arsenal-pre-season-friendly-live

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/12/red-and-black-bloc-threatened-with-closure-as-wanderers-run-out-of-patience

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?

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jul/10/alexandre-lacazette-poised-to-make-arsenal-debut-in-sydney

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/jun/19/likely-big-money-aaron-mooy-move-sets-alarm-bells-ringing-in-a-league

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’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/31/brisbane-roar-to-appeal-afc-fine-over-lack-of-international-buffet-for-officials

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

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/may/26/abc-defends-sydney-fc-v-liverpool-coverage-described-by-host-as-train-wreck