In July I spoke with Ben Sigmund about defending in the A-League.
With each passing week, it begins to get harder and harder for last season’s grand finalists.
Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers, once the envy of other clubs, are now the bottom of the league and it’s hard to imagine things will get any easier any time soon.
Welcome back for your weekly A-League wrap, first of all let’s take a look at last week’s burning questions.
“Who will come out on top: Adelaide or Sydney?”
This match had drama, controversy, and was highly entertaining, but the only ingredient it was lacking was a goal. Both sides had their chances time and time again and both sides could have easily taken the three points but a draw was a fair result.
The highlight for me this match was the atmosphere and crowd that was in attendance. With 16,015 rocking Coopers Stadium, it was great to witness the type of support a successful Adelaide United could garner.
“ACL is over for now, so can the Wanderers re-focus and get their A-League season back on track?”
Western Sydney continue to suffer as their ACL campaign looks to have taken a toll on the well travelled side. Tony Popovic is not one to rely on excuses, but there is no denying the schedule and mentally draining task of professional football has taken its toll.
It’s no easy feat winning the ACL as other campaigners have discovered, but with those commitments out of the road, the side will have to get back on track very quickly or, as many coaches have found out before, past achievement count for little when money makes the football world go round.
Popovic shouldn’t stress though, that monkey should stay firmly off his back for at least a few more weeks. The positive for Wanderers fans is that after their Round 6 clash against Perth Glory, they’re set to play four home matches in a row.
“Will Roar become the first team to lose four in a row to begin the season?”
Yes, and as frustrating as it is to see my side planted firmly in last place, there were some slight positives to come out of that match. For me, this match appeared to be their best performance this season, but there remains those that will continue to heap the media pressure on Mike Mulvey.
Are there signs Mulvey is losing the dressing room? Is their player unrest? Is Mulvey not making the tough calls? Only time will tell, but like Popovic, this man deserves more time for he’s earned it.
“City have a squad full of promise. With each round passing without a win, does the pressure mount for John van ‘t Schip to prove his worth?”
Given a win against Brisbane Roar, John van ‘t Schip may have passed the heat to Mulvey as there are plenty of Roar fans, myself included who are looking to Mulvey for the answers.
Another win for City and the question that could be asked is if Villa had a positive influence on anything but off-field issues?
Team of the Round
Plenty of improvement is still required, but Newcastle took a step in the right direction on the weekend as it was only the defiance of a Victory outfit that prevented them from notching their first win for the season.
Playing their first home match this campaign, the Jets begun to show what they’re capable of when their players begin to work together well. Like any other side, when the team works well the right results will come, but for so many years the Jets have showed promise but have never been able to do much more.
Usually a side to provide youth with opportunities, the Jets have put together a good squad full of experience that if can be put right, will begin to fulfil the promising signs they’ve shown in recent seasons.
This week the Jets take on the struggling Roar and given they were able to beat them three times last season, Jets could hand out Brisbane another loss.
Player of the Round
Goalkeepers are easily criticised when their side concedes plenty of goals, just ask Jamie Young from Brisbane Roar. But not very often are goalkeepers credited for their side’s decent results, usually those plaudits are saved for the goal scorers.
Vedran Janjetovic on the other hand was near perfect in his performance this week as the Sky Blues keeper kept his third clean sheet in as many weeks. Adelaide United continued to heap the pressure on the Sydney goalkeeper but he stood tall to ensure his side remained undefeated to begin the season.
Supporters of the Round
This is an easy one and doesn’t require much justification – Adelaide United supporters.
With Adelaide having had their best start to a season since 2005-06 and expectations high, the response from the Adelaide public has great to see and is reassuring as it makes it clear there are still more fans out there to be won over.
Burning questions ahead of Round 6
Can Wellington Phoenix continue their good start to the season by upsetting a red hot Adelaide United?
Sydney versus Victory is shaping up as the match of the round, but who will come out on top?
Can Perth Glory’s near perfect start to the season begin to transpire into crowds that’ll exceed 10,000?
Once again, thank you for joining me and I look forward to a cracking round of A-League action. Join me next week for your weekly A-League wrap.