Tony Tannous, "The Round Ball Analyst", is a Sydney-based freelance football writer of all things technical and tactical, and has been covering Australian and international football for over 20 years. Tony is a pioneer of football analysis downunder, having started Australia's first football blog, "The Round Ball Analyst", in 2006, and has been an integral part of The Roar since 2009.
- Member Since:
- May 2009
- Based In:
- Sydney, Australia
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If the A in A-League stood for ‘ambition’ at the start of the 2012-13, when Alessandro Del Piero, Emile Heskey and Shinji Ono were paraded around Parramatta Stadium to hundreds of journalists and photographers at the season launch, then ahead of tonight’s Season 11 kick-off, the A now stands for ‘austerity’.
There may be a degree of the unknown in what awaits the Socceroos in the first phase of qualifying for Russia 2018 after Tuesday’s draw, but there’s also a sense of anticipation that wasn’t there at the beginning of the past two qualifying cycles.
Tony Popovic has struggled this season to get the Western Sydney Wanderers playing proactively. But last night, by playing Japanese playmaker Yujiro Takahagi deeper in midfield as one of his two holding midfielders, the Wanderers arguably looked the best they have this season.
This week might have been all about players misbehaving, on and off the pitch, but given that the A-League is generally struggling to hit the heights of a couple of seasons ago, is any publicity good publicity?
It wasn’t so long ago, only 2012 in fact, that football fans were pulling their hair out about the length of the A-League off-season.
It might have been mission accomplished for the Socceroos and Ange Postecoglou, who conquered Asia at only the third attempt after the most tense, thrilling and fitting of finals at Homebush on Saturday night, but, like any good manager, he was already looking to build on it.