After taking a break over the festive period, Highlights & Lowlights is back as we head in to the second half of season 9 of the A-League. Remember to get involved each week by tweeting @FootballCentAu or by using #HighLowFCAU
It’s hard to disagree with anyone that tells you Brisbane have one hand on the Premiers plate and Championship trophy, and those titles are theirs to lose. Currently sitting 7 points clear at the top of the table and coming off a resounding 3-0 win over the Victory in Melbourne, can anyone stop the Roar juggernaut? They have a goal difference of +16 and have defeated 4 of the other 5 sides in the top 6. Two of their three defeats this season have come from their bogey side Newcastle. With a favourable draw this month to extend their advantage at the top, it’s hard to see Mike Mulvey’s side not finishing top come April.
Despite back to back wins, Wellington still sit second last but have shown that they are an improving side under Ernie Merrick. Their New Years Day performance was seen by many Phoenix supporters as one their greatest victories. Not only did they defeat the reigning premiers at home (their first defeat of season 9), they scored three goals after going a goal down. I was in the away bay at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday night, and you could get a sense from the other 40 or so away fans there that this game was an important one for their side, and could give them a much needed kick start in the New Year.
Round 13 coincided with an important time in the world football calendar, the ‘transfer window’ opening. While the period isn’t as busy here in Australia, clubs domestically are still scouting for players that can strengthen their squads as we head in to the second half of the season. For most fans Down Under, eyes are on the big European clubs, and regardless of who you support overseas, January is always an exciting time.
Another season over:
Marcos Flores’ ACL injury sustained at training midweek, adds him to the list of A-League players that will now be watching their respective sides from the sidelines for the remainder of the year. Flores was seen as the Mariners big name signing in the off-season and his injury comes at a terrible time for the club, who’s other midfield maestro, Michael McGlinchey, departs on loan to Japan. It will be interesting to see who Phil Moss can get in to cover the number 10 spot, despite being highly unlikely there is talk that former Mariners, Tommy Rogic or even Mustafa Amini could return on loan. Mariners fans can only hope.
If you sat someone down yesterday (who had never seen an A-League game before) and watched the Mariners v Heart clash, then told them post-game that Central Coast were third, they would’ve called you a liar. There is plenty of talk this year amongst fans that the standard of the competition has certainly dropped this year compared to more recent seasons. Reading through a number of the official hashtag timelines on twitter, has provided myself, and many, a good laugh at the performances of players, teams, and officials. Yet while providing great humour, sadly most who make the jokes or comparisons are spot on with their 140 character assessments. Hopefully the New Year brings a higher standard, which is desperately needed come finals time.