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Opinion

Australian football edges towards the 'new normal' while the EPL goes bonkers!

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Expert
5th October, 2020
29

The news that A-League players and owners have finally managed to find some common ground and look likely to forge a new collective bargaining agreement was welcoming.

Such a move will bring a much needed sense of calm within the current climate; one where a new season looms amidst an exodus of talented players and those remaining seemingly destined to earn a little less from the game than they have in past.

In the most abnormal of years, where uncertainty and indecision have reigned, the new agreement could potentially trigger a shift to the new normal; a chance for the A-League to reset, start strongly and showcase its domestic talent with fans back in stadiums.

However, any sense that Australian football’s early steps on the long road to recovery will be mirrored around the globe is far from reality. World football appears to have been turned on its head. And it is beautiful.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool machine hit the skids on Sunday night, suffering a humiliating 7-2 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa; a team destined to battle away, hopeful of remaining well clear of the relegation zone in the most competitive of leagues.

As someone rather cynical when it comes to the continued dominance of a select few in the EPL, I found the result astonishingly hilarious. As I did Tottenham’s 6-1 thumping of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Mohamed Salah

Mo Salah. (Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Some hours earlier West Ham United secured their second consecutive win with three impressive goals against the ever-promising Leicester. Oddest of all, West Ham manager David Moyes once again called the shots in remote control from his COVID-induced isolation.

There is something so West Ham about that scenario, you know, that doing better without the manager in the stadium thing!

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Australia’s favourite English club Leeds United held Manchester City to a draw and with their fourth win to start the new season, Everton moved three points clear at the top of the ladder. Frankly, it is utter madness and in turn absolutely outstanding for supporters of teams happy to see the mighty struggle and potentially, fall.

After four rounds, Everton, Villa and Leicester sit top three, Liverpool and Man U have each conceded eleven goals and Man City hold down 14th. Teams predicted to battle in 2020-21, Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham, Southampton, Crystal Palace and Wolves all sit above both Manchester clubs.

I can’t stop giggling. This is great.

Elsewhere in Europe, nine-time defending champion Juventus looks to have a serious new challenger in the shape of Lombardy-based Atalanta. Their 13 goals in three matches have set the league alight.

Juventus sit eighth early on, although are likely to move further up the ladder after Napoli failed to show up for their clash in Turin amidst COVID concerns.

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Could this get any weirder?

If there ever was a time where Juve’s reign at the pointy end of Italian football was to come to an end, I guess 2020-21 would be that time.

It is a shame that some countries missed the memo. Rangers and Celtic hold sway early and will battle out the ever predictable two-way race for the title in Scotland and I am not sure who prevents Bayern Munich from snatching a boring and ninth consecutive Bundesliga title in Germany.

Frankly, few outside those countries will probably be watching; potentially more captivated by the bizarre and refreshing turn of events taking place in England.

Connor Metcalfe and Milos Ninkovic

The A-League offers more competitiveness than most Euro leagues. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

As Australian football fans hope for a return to something near normal, fans of usually mid to lower table EPL clubs are enjoying rare moments in the sun; chuffed at their own play, ladder position and enjoying firing off embarrassing memes towards the usual suspects, whose seasons have not begun in the manner which they had hoped.

Should the pattern also emerge in the upcoming A-League season, who knows what we will witness. A Mariners championship run? A bumbling Sydney FC? VAR consistency? Massive television ratings and booming crowds?

I’m not sure what to predict, yet one thing is for certain. We cannot head back folks. Football and life has changed forever and perhaps that is a good thing.

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