It’s the time of the year when clubs look towards the home stretch of the season and The Football Sack critiques each club’s progress so far.

Do you agree with our assessments made in the return of our January report cards?

Semester Summary: After narrowly losing out to Melbourne Victory in the season opener Canberra made a statement winning their next three games on the trot.

The tables were turned after a poor finish to 2017 left Heather Garriock’s side winless in the next three and dropping to 6th place on the ladder.

Sunday’s demolition of Adelaide proved the girls in green are hungry to fight their way back into finals contention and United are well and truly still in the hunt as they sit just four points off Sydney FC (4th) and Melbourne City (3rd) in 6th place with a game in hand.

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Areas of Excellence: Already boasting two of the league’s strongest attacking threats in Michelle Heyman and Ashleigh Sykes there was little Garriock had to do after taking the reins.

The addition of Norwegian forward Elise Thornses may have been a last-minute decision but she looks to have provided the icing on the cake as the lethal front three trouble defences around the league.

Areas in need of improvement: Although United finished minor premiers last season the side struggled defensively conceding 21 goals in 12 games and Garriock’s side have struggled at the back again this season.

Defensive signings Laura Bassett, Toni Pressley and Young Matilda Ellie Carpenter have bolstered United’s stocks but a lack of organisation has led to the side giving away some cheap goals. Garriock has spoken of a need for further organisation and consistency at the back but Canberra still seems to be figuring it out.

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Top student: When Canberra picked up Ellie Carpenter at the start of the season there was no question about the raw talent the youngster possessed but the Cowra local has blossomed into one of the league’s best players.

Coming across from Western Sydney Wanderers as a defender, Carpenter has demonstrated her versatility within the squad playing out wide and further up the park using her pace, skill and bullish determination to make the difference in a number of United’s performances this season.

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Class clowns: Due to organisational issues in defence it is hard to pin the blame on any one player at the back but there is a significant statistic that is hard to ignore when looking at American recruit Toni Pressley.

Handed the difficult task of organising Canberra’s defensive frailties, Pressley has done an admirable job but with a tackle percentage of 50% compared to fellow centre-back Clare Hunt’s record of 80% it is a worrying statistic that will undoubtedly have led to a number of goals being conceded by the club.

Grade: C+

Outlook: Canberra were left with a large break at the end of 2017 to figure out just what had gone wrong in their previous three games and based on an incredibly dominant performance over Adelaide they may have figured it out.

A second consecutive home game against a struggling Wanderers outfit is a good opportunity for United to spring back into finals contention but the girls in green will have to stay vigilant if they are to challenge title contenders Perth and Brisbane in their remaining fixtures if they are to continue to make a charge for a top four spot.

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Recent Sports Media graduate from the University of Canberra. Love all things football and can't wait to be part of the growth of the game in Australia. Waiting for the day the FFA come to their senses and hand us an A-League team... but could be waiting a while.