Brisbane Roar have recorded not only their worst start to an A-League season but equalled North Queensland Fury’s similar start, after not recording a single point from their first three fixtures.
After the Roar’s third straight loss, rumours have begun to circulate of disharmony between the playing group and coach Mike Mulvey.
For a team known for a never-say-die attitude, coupled with conviction and effort, Roar look nothing like their former selves.
Can this be put down to complacency? Being satisfied with all they have achieved? Or can it simply be put down to the loss of key players Besart Berisha and Ivan Franjic and injury to Michael Theo?
Whatever the case, they had better utilise this extra week off and get back on track, for they not only have an A-League campaign to focus on but also their second crack at the Asian Champions League.
As for the side that brought Roar to their third straight defeat, all signs are pointing to a potentially successful season for Sydney FC.
Team of the round
For the second straight week, Sydney have taken out my team of the round. This week could have gone to any of the round winners as Melbourne Victory, Wellington and Adelaide all showed they mean serious business. But the way in which Sydney preformed for the whole 90 minutes, executing what can only be described as the perfect game plan, shows just how far the Sky Blues have come under the leadership of Graham Arnold.
I’ll admit it was not attractive football, but it was simple and effective. Roar, a team usually dominant in most aspects, had their very own strengths used against them. It should come as no surprise really. Although they didn’t finish in the finals last season, Newcastle Jets were able to defeat Roar on every occasion last season, executing a very similar game plan to that which we witnessed Sydney execute.
The 2-0 result was also the first time since Round 20 of season 2013-14 that Sydney did not concede a goal. Sydney, along with Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, remain undefeated and ahead of their fixture with the Mariners, you would almost back them as a certainty to take all three points.
Supporters of the round
As was the case last round in the Sydney derby, it was always going to be easy decision this week, as supporters from both Melbourne sides showcased the passion a derby can evoke. A season high 43,729 fans turned up to witness an amazing clash, and with seven goals scored, despite the result, both fans at home and at the game would have been highly entertained.
Players of the round
This was a very hard choice given the dominate displays by all winning sides, but taking into account all score lines, I couldn’t separate Besart Berisha from Melbourne Victory and Nathan Burns from Wellington Phoenix.
There were so many other players that deserve mention such as Michael McGlinchey, Kosta Barbarouses, Sasa Ognenovski and Milos Dimitrijevic, but a hat-trick from Berisha and two goals and an assist from Burns were good enough for me.
Last week’s burning questions answered
“Can Wellington continue their strong start to the season?”
Wellington Phoenix answered that with an emphatic 4-1 win over Newcastle Jets. The Jets were embarrassed by a much improved Phoenix as it appeared at times that all the Jets were able to do was ball watch. The passing, precision and vision were great to watch as Phoenix made a statement they mean business this season.
“Thankfully the Wanderers can now focus on the Asian Champions League final, but given their past two matches, what’s going on? Can they turn it around?”
Yes, they can and they did. Putting aside their poor displays in the first two rounds of the A-League, they turned their attention to Asian Champions League finalists, Al Hilal. Wanderers never do it the easy way but as they’ve done constantly throughout the ACL campaign, they found a way to win, defeating Al Hilal 1-0.
“What drama are we in for when the Melbourne derby takes place?”
Well David Villa is leaving, that’s no longer a secret, and he also went missing during the derby. But despite a great first half, Victory romped home, leaving their rivals with many questions. With the announcement that Villa was leaving early, that was all the drama needed as it somewhat detracted from what is becoming a must watch fixture.
“Has Brisbane Roar’s time on top come to an end?”
Well this is up for debate, but being a Roar fan myself, I feel a tad more entitled than others to provide opinion. My answer to this question is an emphatic yes. Despite predicting a sixth place finish, I believe the Roar will potentially be facing the prospect of a first wooden spoon. Things don’t look good but I guess that’s football for you.
Burning questions ahead of Round 4
Can David Villa help City to their first win of the season before he leaves to New York?
Jets coach Phil Stubbins talks a big game, but can the team show they can walk the walk?
Are we once again underestimating the Central Coast Mariners? Their match against Sydney may tell us more.
And finally, we know Victory are more than deserving of favouritism, but can the Phoenix notch their first win against them in Melbourne?
Enjoy the weekend of football ahead for I have other plans and will be getting married. With that said, I’ll have to press record and catch up to ensure I can bring you the Round 4 wrap next week.