1. Western Sydney Wanderers (3)
A fifth straight win sees the Wanderers emerge as THE form team of the competition. Despite the distraction off field, the Wanderers continue to get the job done on field. A 66th minute goal to substitute Brendan Santalab set the game into an attacking feast. The Mariners looked as though they would take a late point if not for a ridiculous save from Andrew Redmayne. Just minutes later Mitch Nichols was miskicking the Wanderers into a two goal lead, and three more points. 21 shots to 8 is proof that Popovic’s new attacking game plan is working wonders.
2. Melbourne Victory (1)
The Victory continue to set the standard in the A-League, and if not for an incredible five game winning streak by Western Sydney, would be leading the rankings too. A 2-1 win over old rivals Adelaide United, a huge home crowd, and a return to the top of the table with a game in hand cap off a great week in Melbourne for the champions. For most of the game it was business as usual, although Danny Vukovic was called into action having to make a brilliant save early on. The Victory’s record over Adelaide extends to 14 wins in 18 games in the Victorian capital.
3. Brisbane Roar (2)
The Roar will be happy to bank another away point, but they should have had all three given their efforts on the day. 180 more passes than their opponents and plenty of quality possession, yet they could only beat the in-form Birighitti once. 17 shots, six on target, is more than enough to win most games and their 84% pass accuracy shows they moved the ball around plenty. They’ll play worse than this yet win games this season.
4. Melbourne City (5)
Each and every week the City write up reads very similar. Aaron Mooy is head and shoulders above anyone else in the competition right now. He had a hand in each of City’s five goals, and pulled all the strings for almost 90 minutes. For the home side, five different players found their way onto the scoresheet, which should help convince fans they are not a one man side. They took the Glory apart at times and could have added to their incredible tally of goals. On their day they are fun to watch.
5. Sydney FC (4)
Sydney FC sit fourth on the A-League table but over the past two weeks they have been unable to bother the scorers. The positive is that they haven’t conceded either, and it’s their defence that has kept them in the top four. Anyone following the social media reaction would have seen the frustration amongst FC fans at their recent performances. Despite the lacklustre performance, Alex Brosque should have iced the three points in the final moments. As I’ve said before, a good side finds a way to win. Had that gone in, the way the performance was viewed would be looked at in a very different light.
6. Wellington Phoenix (6)
The Phoenix have a point to show for their fortnight stay in Sydney, but they would be by far the happier side of their most recent clash in the harbour city. On the night they didn’t register a single shot on target, which makes it incredibly difficult to win games. Moments of brilliance from the Phoenix attacking threats are sandwiched by moments of frustration. They’ll be looking forward to returning back across the Tasman after a frustrating trip. By no means have they been played off the park by either Sydney side, but they haven’t been able to break the shackles either.
7. Newcastle Jets (7)
The Jets have continued their up and down season to date, taking a point off the in-form Roar. Although it’s fair to say they were outplayed for the majority of the game, the way they fought back to level the scores was admirable. Jets keeper Mark Birighitti is in supreme touch, which is great, but he is being called into action far too often. Given they had 180 less passes than their visitors, they were reduced to spectators at times. That being said, a point under any circumstance against the Roar right now is a positive. David Carney almost broke the bar with his early strike, continuing his brilliant start to the season.
8. Central Coast Mariners (8)
The Mariners played their part in an entertaining contest at home but look a far cry from the side who beat Perth on their opening fixture of the season. To think they are seven games without a win is hard to comprehend given the way they set Bluetongue Stadium alight in week one. The stats on the day didn’t paint the prettiest of pictures, conceding 21 shots to 8, although incredibly they did manage to get four on target to the Wanderers three. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong but the Mariners need a win and soon.
9. Perth Glory (9)
The Glory had it all to play for in Melbourne, yet came away on the receiving end of an Aaroy Mooy inspired hiding. The table says they are not the worst side in the competition this season, but it’s not by much. There are games where score-lines such as this can be deceptive, but this was certainly not one of those games. The Glory did manage to create plenty of chances, but they lacked the quality in front of goal. It was in defence that they looked all at sea.
10. Adelaide United (10)
Adelaide, despite a successful recruitment drive and plenty of pre-season hype, face the very real possibility of being out of finals contention before playing ten fixtures this season. A improved effort against league leaders the Victory will encourage some plans and players but without points, their season is over. They did manage a goal and 12 shots, but no stat other than the one in the points column matters right now.