Socceroos Winners and Losers heading into the Asian Cup

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Australia may not have lost a game, but not everyone walked away from the international break a winner

Graham Arnold has continued building his Socceroos squad ahead of the Asian Cup with Australia picking up a draw against Korea Republic and a win against Lebanon in the recent international break.

The green and gold have shown they'll be playing with a new attacking emphasis under Arnold but there's still plenty of work to do to get the Socceroos ticking in front of goal.

A number of new faces impressed when given the chance with Scotland no doubt kicking themselves for letting a certain winger slip through their grasp.

Check out our winners and losers below...

  1. Winner: Debutants

    After picking up an assist on debut, Martin Boyle went miles better in his first Socceroos start on Tuesday scoring twice and laying on another against Lebanon.

    The winger has quickly shown a lot of promise for the Socceroos and brings with him a new edge to Australia's once blunt attack.

    Awer Mabil also earned his first start against Lebanon and showed why he could be a real asset for the green and gold in the future.

    While his end product still needs some work, the 23-year-old's confidence in the final third is refreshing to see and he has all the attributes to wreak havoc in the years ahead. 

    While Josh Risdon may have done enough to lock down the right-back spot, Rhyan Grant didn't do much wrong on his debut and is a handy back-up to have. 

    After years in the wilderness, Mustafa Amini also got his first start and was determined to make an impact - though a number of fouls meant it was potentially not the one he was hoping to make. 

  2. Loser: Strikers

    With the number nine spot up for grabs, neither Jamie Maclaren or Tomi Juric convinced they are the man for the position.

    While both worked well without the ball, they never looked likely of finding the back of the net with Maclaren yet to register a shot on target for the Socceroos. 

    Arnold made note of praising Maclaren after his performance against Korea Republic, but his omission against Lebanon was potentially telling. 

    Juric started in his place yet spurned his best chance with a heavy touch and looked short on confidence having not scored for Australia in over 12 months. 

    There's been talk of Mathew Leckie potentially being shifted to the number nine position and his well-taken goal on Tuesday suggested he could be capable of stepping up.

    Andrew Nabbout is also waiting in the wings and was lively in his short appearance against Lebanon. 

  3. Winner: Josh Risdon

    Arnold admitted the right-back spot was an area he wanted improvement in and Risdon responded in emphatic fashion on Saturday.

    The Western Sydney Wanderers defender was the Socceroos best against Korea Republic as he all but locked the right-back spot down.

    Having been in mixed form for club and country, Risdon looks set to relish the attacking freedom he'll have under Arnold.

    "As a fullback [Arnold] wants us to get really high and getting those runs and balls into the box," Risdon said.

    "That's really enjoyable, the way I want to play. I like going forward a lot. It's a lot of work but I really enjoy it."

    Rested against Lebanon, Risdon seemingly did enough to convince Arnold he will be the man to start at right-back in January. 

  4. Loser: Robbie Kruse

    He deserves far more credit than he gets for most of his performances in the green and gold, but Kruse faces a fresh challenge to keep his starting spot. 

    While excellent at reading a game and providing defensive cover, Kruse's shortcomings in attack were on full display against Korea Republic.

    A shot that went out for a throw-in indicative of an attacker who has scored just five goals across 69 Socceroos appearances.

    Rested against Lebanon, new wingers Martin Boyle and Awer Mabil pushed their cases for a start with the former particularly impressing. 

    Craig Goodwin is also knocking on the door for Kruse's spot with his left foot a potential handy asset for Arnold. 

    With Mathew Leckie nearly unmovable on the right flank, that leaves four players fighting for one spot and Kruse looks like he'll struggle to walk away a winner leading into the Asian Cup. 

  5. Winner: Graham Arnold

    While both scorelines could have been better, the new Socceroos coach has very quickly left a positive mark upon this Australian side.

    Though far from the finished product, the green and gold have quickly embraced Arnold's attacking emphasis.

    From constant pressing without the ball, to his now trademark use of full-backs, Arnold has wasted no time leaving his mark on the Socceroos and he'll be bouyed to see how quickly he's rubbed off on them.

    His encouragement from the sidelines has been hard to miss too as he looks to organise his side and give them the confidence to play a new brand of football. 

    While Arnold's true first test will come at the Asian Cup, the early signs have been promising. 

  6. Loser: Shooting

    With the strikers struggling to get involved on the ball, the Socceroos had real trouble with accuracy in front of goal against Korea Republic and Lebanon.

    Despite dominating play on Saturday, only nine of Australia's 22 shots were on target as they had to wait until injury-time to equalise in scrappy fashion. 

    It was a similar story against Lebanon with only seven of the Socceroos 21 shots landing on target. 

    Arnold has backed a number of players to step up and score goals in Tim Cahill's absence, but it's clear most still need to find their range in front of goal.

    Tom Rogic was arguably too ambitious with his shooting against Korea Republic - something a number of Socceroos were guilty of across the two games. 

    For a side that has struggled for goals, Arnold might be encouraged to see his side at least having a crack but it will take time for them to fire with accuracy.