How majestic Mierzejewski has become Sydney FC’s main man
It takes a special player to outshine Milos Ninkovic but, in his first Hyundai A-League campaign, Sydney FC team-mate Adrian Mierzejewski has done just that.
While the exceptional Ninkovic had to wait until his sophomore season to win the Johnny Warren Medal, Mierzejewski has needed no such time to acclimatise.
The 31-year-old has been Graham Arnold’s lucky charm ever since an enterprising debut in the opening-round meeting with Melbourne Victory.
He helped secure three points in that match and has been on the winning side in 14 of his 17 Hyundai A-League appearances, drawing three.
His importance was illustrated by his absence from the 2-0 defeat to Central Coast Mariners in November.
Indeed, in the three matches Mierzejewski has missed, the all-conquering Sky Blues have won only once.
They managed three goals across those fixtures, a significant reduction from their usual average of 2.8 per game in the Poland international’s presence.
Falling shy of usual scoring standards is understandable when you consider Mierzejewski has notched 10 himself.
And the former Trabzonspor star’s game is about more than dominating the limelight.
Team-mate Michael Zullo and Victory winger Leroy George are the only two players to have contributed more assists than Mierzejewski’s seven.
A truly versatile wide-man, his understanding of when to drift and when to stay has helped Bobo feed on an average of 11 crosses per match (compared to just over seven without him).
The champions also relish an upswing in shots, possession and passing accuracy when their key recruit is on the pitch.
So long as they keep him fit, Sydney FC can have every confidence of reaping more rewards from Mierzejewski’s unbeaten streak.