MELBOURNE CITY 3 ADELAIDE UNITED 1
NEWCASTLE JETS 0 CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 0
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 3 SYDNEY FC 4
PERTH GLORY 2 BRISBANE ROAR 2
MELBOURNE VICTORY 2 WELLINGTON PHOENIX 3
The Brisbane Roar Marathon Gets Warmed Up
Nine games in thirty one days. The Brisbane Roar will face a rigorous endurance test of a game every four days for a month thanks to a tumultuous season that has seen several fixtures postponed thanks to a cyclone, the Asian Cup, the Western Sydney Wanderer’s Asian Champions League fixtures last season and the Brisbane Roar’s Asian Champions League fixtures for this season.
The club’s resurgence under Frans Thijssen continued to slowly build with a 2-2 draw away to the league leaders. On paper, you’d expect the Roar to be happy with that result but the reality was that Brisbane lead the game with ten minutes to go and couldn’t close it out. Last season was defined by the number of times the Roar came from behind to win games. This season has been the opposite – they’ve been in the lead in games against Adelaide, Central Coast and Perth (twice!) and failed to pick up the win.
Some general observations about the Roar from the weekend:
- Jean Carlos Solozarno is on fire, netting six goals in seven games. Few people give this guy the credit he deserves. Although he had an unremarkable spell at Melbourne Victory, he was responsible for netting ten goals in the Roar’s original championship winning season of 2011.
- Its early days but worryingly, new striker Adrija Kaluderovic isn’t really fitting into our system at the moment. Granted it’s only his third appearance but you could tell with other recent signings – Lustica, Polenz, Sarota – that they slotted into the Roar’s short passing game very naturally. Kaluderovic was benched at halftime against the Glory as he failed to make an impression on his opponents.
- Corey Brown made the exact same mistake in defence twice in three games costing the Roar a goal each time. He was caught out and red carded against the Glory when an cross-field through ball caught him out of position. I like Brown and hope he can bounce back and improve on his performance. The club seem to be investing in him as their long term replace to Stefanutto who surely is due for retirement soon. But repeat errors like that are a worry.
- It’ll be a tight contest between the Roar and Melbourne City for the sixth qualifying berth for the finals. I think Roar are in better form but City have the easier schedule. The two teams face one another at the end of March.
The Competition Finally Heats Up
To be honest, I’ve found the current season of the A-League to be a bit underwhelming at times. The Roar have been lousy for large patches of the season and they’ve also had a pretty wonky fixture list. Twice this season, the team has gone more than three weeks without a home game which is pretty deflating. The competition as a whole has also been a bit of a drag. I think Perth Glory could possibly be playing some of the least attractive football for a table topping team and for several weeks, it looked like they would be runaway leaders. The Summer of Football also seemed to bring about some serious burn out in the clubs with December producing far too many scoreless draws and one-nil games. The standard overall has been a step down from previous seasons.
The Asian Cup break seems to have paid off. The clubs have returned with renewed vigour and now we have a fantastic set up for the last eight rounds of the competition. Looking at the ladder, a whopping FIVE teams have a realistic chance at winning the competition. This round produced four thrilling matches (the less said about Newcastle vs Central Coast the better) and the goals are flowing freely. There’s a great race heating up for the golden boot too. The A-League has come alive again!
- It took a while for him to get going but Marc Janko looks unstoppable at Sydney FC. Just imagine what their team could have been like if they didn’t have four season ending injuries.
- The Phoenix finally, FINALLY!, got an away win against Melbourne Victory. They did in style and showed off their attacking flair which is some of the best in the comp.
- The beauty of how the finals race is set up is that the chasing pack are all currently in better form that Perth Glory who are now winless in six. Can the men from the West keep their composure and stop their slide in form?
- The Wanderers will bounce back but I have serious concerns for the health of Central Coast and Newcastle. Both clubs are in a pretty dire situation with fans turning away in droves and the on-field performance looking stagnant.
- I can’t believe the Victory tricked some cashed up Chinese club into paying over quarter of a million dollars for Adrian Leijer.