We preview the A-League’s so-called ‘glamour club’ ahead of the new season.
The Sky Blues made a late charge into the finals last season after an abysmal start to the season, but all in all is was yet another disappointing year.
Back-room politics became a major issue with rumours of a rift between star player Alessandro Del Piero and coach Frank Farina.
The fans began to protest against Farina, however it wasn’t until the end of the season that the former Socceroos coach was dismissed.
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New coach Graham Arnold has transformed what was a defensive rabble into a highly cohesive and organised unit, as was expected.
Alessandro Del Piero may be gone, but the additions of Marc Janko, Bernie Ibini, Shane Smeltz and Alex Brosque mean that the Sky Blues have the firepower up front to make up for his loss.
Sydney FC destroyed Melbourne City in their Round of 16 FFA Cup clash in Ballarat without Janko, Smeltz or Brosque, as well as comfortably defeating English Premier League side West Ham United 3-1 in a pre-season friendly.
There are high expectations around Sydney FC this season, but it remains to be seen if they can deliver.
Bernie Ibini (Shanghai Dongya/CHN), Shane Smeltz (Perth Glory/AUS), Alex Brosque (Al Ain/UAE), Alex Gersbach (AIS/AUS), Marc Janko (Trabzonspor/TUR)
Alessandro Del Piero (Delhi Dynamos/IND), Brett Emerton (Retired), Terry McFlynn (Retired), Richard Garcia (Perth Glory/AUS), Marc Warren (APIA Leichardt/AUS), Blake Powell (APIA Leichardt/AUS), Mitchell Malia (Blacktown City/AUS), Joel Chianese (Sydney United 58/AUS), Ranko Despotovic (Alaves/ESP)
Goalkeepers: Vedran Janjetovic, Ivan Necevski, Anthony Bouzanis
Defenders: Sebastian Ryall, Rhyan Grant, Pedj Bojic, Alex Gersbach, Sasa Ognenovski, Matthew Jurman, Nikola Petkovic
Midfielders: Milos Dimitrijevic, Nick Carle, Peter Triantis, Hagi Gligor, Terry Antonis, Ali Abbas
Attackers: Bernie Ibini, Alex Brosque, Shane Smeltz, Marc Janko, Corey Gameiro, Chris Naumoff
Even without Del Piero, Sydney FC are a much stronger unit this season.
Their attacking quality is amongst the best in the league, while the centre-back pairing of Sasa Ognenovski and Nikola Petkovic will be more solid this season with a better defensive structure as a whole.
A top four finish is certainly achievable for the Sky Blues, and Graham Arnold should lead them into the finals with ease.
From there, who knows?