By Amelia Pepe
The A-League is currently on a break as the Asian Cup is being held. So it’s timely to have a recap of the teams’ season so far.
Perth Glory stands at the top of the A-League ladder having won ten games, drawn two and lost two. It has been a turnaround year for Glory as last year they finished eighth on the ladder. This year Glory kicked off to a dream start when they won five out of their first six games played, and also qualified for the inaugural Westfield FFA cup final held in December, narrowly losing to Adelaide.
Glory has had a lot to smile about as record membership was also recorded for them this season with a club high of 6,000 members. Along with this, their striker Andy Keogh is the second highest scorer in the A-League after scoring eight goals so far this season.
However, Glory’s smile was half wiped off when, in their last game, they were defeated by Adelaide United at Glory’s home ground, nib Stadium and had an unconvincing win against Melbourne Victory in the game before. So the question is; is this just a hiccup for Glory and can the team hang on and secure their position at the top of the ladder?
Wellington Phoenix sits at second on the ladder having won nine games, drawn one and have lost four.
The club is under the guidance of ex-Melbourne Victory dual Premiership coach ErnieMerrick.
The club’s striker Nathan Burns made Wellington Phoenix history on November 3rd when he scored a hat-trick against Melbourne City- the first player to do so.
Burns is currently the top A-League goal scorer with ten goals, and has been included in the Socceroos Asian Cup squad.
The club have scored the most goals and have conceded the least in the league so far, bringing Merrick some confidence of a third premiership as coach.
Melbourne Victory sits third on the ladder. They have won eight games, drawn four and have lost two.
Victory has introduced some talented players this year including French born Fahid Ben Khalfallah who has been their best player so far this year. Another player brought to the club this year was ex-Brisbane Roar and previous A-League top scorer Besart Berisha who is in good form, scoring seven goals for his new club.
They have been without their captain Mark Milligan for three weeks due to suspension. However, the club will be a much stronger side with his return in the second half of the season.
Adelaide United sits at fourth on the ladder, having won eight games, drawn two and has lost four.
United took out the inaugural FFA Cup Final in December beating top of the ladder Perth Glory in an enthralling final played in Adelaide.
Adelaide United also stopped top of the ladder Perth Glory in their tracks when they went head-to-head in the main season, by beating them 2-0 in their last encounter.
Reliable defender Jordan Elsey has injured himself by rupturing his ACL. However, there have been some positives for the club including Adelaide’s Captain Eugene Galekovic being selected for the Socceroos as the number two keeper.
Sydney FC sits fifth on the ladder. They have won four, drawn seven and have lost three.
Sydney has been very unlucky this season with injuries which include the team’s young striker, Corey Gameiro who ruptured his ACL when he was playing for the Australian under-23 team as part of a four-nation friendly tournament in China. Sydney has also lost midfielder Ali Abbas to injury and defender Sasa Ognenovski has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season after a hip complaint.
Some good news for the club is that Senegalese international Mickael Tavares will join the club to reinforce their injury-battered midfield.
Melbourne City sits sixth on the ladder. They have won four, drawn four and have lost five.
Melbourne City has a new name and new owners this year and commenced the season with the high-profile Spanish international David Villa playing for them, before going onto play in the Major League Soccer. However, he had little impact at the club having only played three games.
One of the stars for Melbourne City has been Slovenian midfielder Robert Koren who has been a key player for the club.
Brisbane Roar sits seventh on the ladder. They have won three games, drawn three and lost seven.
Last season’s A-League champions have had a bumpy ride this year. It began with the sacking of their coach, Mike Mulvey, and the loss of their captain Matt Smith as he was approached by the Thai Premier League club, Bangkok Glass and after much consideration was transferred.
Some other bad news dawned on Roar when key player Thomas Broich needed to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle.
The team will regain their strength when Broich returns.
Central Coast Mariners sit eighth on the ladder with two wins, six draws and six losses.
The Mariners are going through a restructuring phase with striker Malick Mane departing Australia to play in the Swedish league with IFK Goteborg where his career will be continued.
Mariners also terminated South Korea attacker Kim Seung-Yong’s contract by mutual consent. It looks like the 2011/12 A-League champions will struggle to achieve this year.
Newcastle Jets sit ninth on the ladder with one win, five draws and eight losses. The club are having problems on and off the field with their CEO Robbie Middleby and Chairman Ray Baartz both stepping down. Unfortunately it looks like the Jets year is over, and will be focusing on improving their club for next year’s season.
Western Sydney Wanderers are last on the ladder with zero wins, four draws and eight losses. They have had a very shaky start to the season after winning the Asian Cup Club Championship in 2014. The club’s coach Tony Popovic promises a renewed team in the second-half of the season with a fresher and rested team, and some major new signings during the break.
It looks to be an exciting finish to this tenth A-League season and it will come down to the top four teams. Whoever of the current top four is able to keep their injuries to a minimum will be well on their way in taking out the 2014/15 Championship and automatically qualifying for the lucrative Asian Club Championship.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia