Paul Okon has rebuilt a sinking ship in his own possession-based image
It is one of the A-League’s great traditions that each new season starts with teams copycatting elements of the previous season’s winners. After Sydney FC’s extraordinary success in 2016-17, this season is no different.
Sydney’s defensive record this season is astonishing, so how do you score against such a mean, stingy defence?
There is no right or wrong way to play football, but it is near-unanimous that Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar had an attractive style of play. Five years on from that groundbreaking era, John Aloisi has forged a new but still unmistakeable identity for Brisbane.
This season represents a period of transition for the Central Coast Mariners. Paul Okon is rebuilding from Tony Walmsley’s reign with a squad pieced together by the cast-offs of other A-League clubs combined with several promising but very raw youngsters. Results, and the style of play, have marginally improved, but these are the first steps in what is a long-term plan.
Melbourne City have utilised an intriguing back four/back three hybrid formation this season, with great tactical flexibility when playing out from the back
Besart Berisha deserves all the plaudits for his tremendous goal-scoring record, but his defensive work should not go unnoticed
Mitch Nichols has gradually evolved into the Western Sydney Wanderers key player, and one of the A-League’s complete playmakers
It feels like the same old story at Adelaide United. The start of this season has mirrored the disaster of last year, with Guillermo Amor’s side anchored to the bottom of the table without a win in the opening eight games. However, there may be reason to believe Adelaide can pull off another miraculous turnaround, just as they did last season.
While Melbourne City have been tactically fascinating and entertaining in attack this season, there is the nagging feeling that they are not the sum of their parts, but rather, the sum of the parts of the stars.
Milos Ninkovic and his fellow attackers may be getting all the headlines, but it is Sydney FC’s understated midfield duo that deserves the plaudits for the side’s fantastic start
On paper, it suits Wellington’s key players, but on the pitch Ernie Merrick’s tactical setup currently lacks balance and solidity both structurally and strategically at both ends of the pitch.