The A-League has begun and it has given fans a lot to talk about in the opening months of the season. It looks as though we could be in store for a campaign to remember.
New managers have arrived, marquee signings have rocked up and in Western United the league has an 11th team. They boast some familiar faces ready to make an impact. So, it’s fair to say a lot has gone on and picking out one stand out team or moment so far would be difficult.
However, it’s hard not to look at the slow start endured by reigning Premiers Perth Glory with a real sense of shock. Tony Popovic’s side has been the outstanding team in the division for the past 12 months, running away with the title in the regular season before falling short in dramatic circumstances to Sydney FC in the grand final.
The nature of the defeat, on their own patch, will have hurt and we perhaps should have expected a hangover of sorts from The Glory but one win from their opening seven games was not what anyone expected. A 3-0 demolition of Melbourne City away from home was much more like it though and that victory showed signs that this side is ready to make a big impression once again.
Scoring goals has never been a problem for Popovic’s men, with the stylish 3-4-3 implemented by the boss ensuring that the attacking players are given freedom to perform. So, when they added the prolific Bruno Fornaroli to the ranks, you would have forgiven fellow A-League sides for fearing the worst.
Despite that, the Uruguayan, Melbourne City’s all-time top scorer, hasn’t been able to replicate that form for his new club – yet. But, that final word is the key one. Fornaroli has started to show signs that he is adapting to his new surroundings and when he does click with the likes of Diego Castro and Chris Ikonomidis we could be looking at one of the best-attacking trio’s the league has seen. It will certainly interest those who monitor the A-League betting and they will recognise the quality that this team has as they seek to put a good run together.
Of course, Popovic still has to get the balance right defensively and a few key individuals from the squad that shone last year have gone, so it will be tricky. Importantly though, the nature of this league means that you don’t necessarily pay for slow starts. Most teams will feel they can beat anyone in the division on their day and it’s ultimately about finishing in the top six to ensure you are ready to go when the serious games begin in the post-season.
So, there will have been no panic among the Perth Glory following and they will now feel they are ready to build some real momentum as they seek revenge for their heartbreaking grand final loss earlier this year.