Perth Glory are enjoying a staggering record of now going five games unbeaten in six and are sitting 4th (equal 3rd with Newcastle Jets) on the table. With their first round loss to Adelaide United the only loss so far, this is Perth’s best start to the season since the inauguration of the Hyundai A-League.
This week’s counterparts, the reigning champions, Central Coast Mariners, are sitting three points behind the Glory in 7th position with a game in hand as the match versus Wellington was rescheduled due to a key number of players being away with New Zealand for their World Cup qualifiers.
With one win, one loss and a string of well fought out draws for the Mariners, they will be looking to stamp their authority on the league and start to move up the ladder.
They will play the remainder of the season however without long standing coach Graham Arnold who has accepted the head coaching role with Vegalta Sendai in Japan. This puts another Australian coach on the A-League landscape as Phil Moss will take over his first senior professional team.
A great sign for Australian coaches as more and more are getting the chance in our ever growing professional league.
Perth secured a vital point at home last week against Adelaide in absurd conditions, prompting coach Alistair Edwards to blast the FFA and A-League in his post game press conference about their lack of respect for the players’ welfare and Perth Glory in general, and rightly so.
Pointing out the basic absence of Perth Glory from all the A-League promotions over the years, questioned if people actually knew whether Glory existed – just going off the commercials and end of season montages.
Moving away from the negatives of the day, the biggest positive aside from the point gained was the debut of former French International William Gallas. The world class defender who previously played for Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal got a solid half an hour under his belt to the rousing reception of the Glory faithful, as every time he touched the ball it would be accompanied by booming cheers.
The match was a tense affair as both teams play similar styles of football. Adelaide were trying to stop Perth playing through the middle while Glory were stopping United from playing out from the back quite effectively, forcing centre backs John McKain and Osama Malik to play many ineffective long balls.
The introduction of William Gallas, Chris Harold and Cameron Edwards changed the game in Perth’s favour.
Harold’s pace was an immediate impact as he was gliding past defenders for fun and inevitably rescued a point with his header from a Steven McGarry cross. Gallas showed his class on the ball and in his reading of the game and the passing combination of both Edwards’ brothers with McGarry in midfield allowed Glory to get on top and dominate the rest of the game.
Central Coast suffered their first defeat of the season against Brisbane Roar in a high quality game. A stunning winner from youngster Kwame Yeboah breaking the Mariners’ hearts late in the game.
Perth will be looking to continue the way they finished the game against Adelaide and to be ruthless in front of goal, especially being at home.
On the other hand the Mariners will be looking to bounce back from the loss against Brisbane in style as Phil Moss will take charge for the first time.
This game will have significant importance for Perth as club captain Jacob Burns will make his 100th appearance for Glory. William Gallas is also set to start alongside Michael Thwaite, so it should be a cracking night!
Kick off is at 6.45pm WST