A quarter of the season has been completed in the 9th Hyundai A-League, with no clear leader at this stage. The top five teams all remain within 4 points of each other. However, after the top of the table clash between Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers on the weekend, the Roar are seriously starting to look like title contenders with a convincing 3-1 win against last season’s minor champions.
Brisbane Roar is the team to beat at the moment and will be looking to chase their third championship in four years. The Roar have been in great form and the emergence of teenage sensation Kawme Yeboah and the return of Bersart Berisha from injury is a major reason that Brisbane must be taken seriously.
The Western Sydney Wanderers are continuing their great form from the end of last season, suffering only their second defeat in 20 matches this past weekend. The whole team is assisting each other with nine goals coming from six different players and a solid defensive line keeping more goals out than in. Shinji Ono is again the marquee player making a difference, using his experience to attempt to guide the team to the top.
For Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners, changing of the guard has not given them the start they would have liked in the 2013-2014 season. Ange Postecoglou was named as the Australian Socceroos coach while Graham Arnold is now the manager of J-League club Vegalta Sendai. They currently sit in 5th and 6th spot on the ladder respectively, and the teams are starting to slowly adapt to the new style of football under the new managers.
Melbourne Heart are still struggling under former Socceroo John Aloisi. With marquee signing Harry Kewell having been injured for all but one game they are struggling to keep up with the rest of the league and it may soon all be over for Aloisi. Heart are uncompetitive, well out of their depth and at some times embarrassing. The management need to step in quickly otherwise it could be a similar case to the North Queensland Fury, which would be a disaster for the A-League.
The quality of football in Australia is improving as every season goes by and in return the fans are showing their support for the world game down under. The second highest attendance was recorded for a regular round robin game this season in game one when Melbourne Victory played Melbourne Heart in front of a crowd of 45,202 people. The average crowd attendance is currently over 15,300, which is at an all time high and 3,000 more than last year, and if this continues, the crowd attendance will exceed more than 2,000,000 fans for the first time in the A-League.Image credit: Getty Images