Byline Banter: Contenders and pretenders

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The cobwebs have well and truly been blown out this week with goals flying past keepers from all over the park. Some teams are starting to look like title contenders, while others are appearing to be pretenders.

Byline Banter wades through the wash-down and gets you pumped for this weekend’s action using some words that start with B!

Bombs
Every year when the new FIFA video game arrives, the internet and social media saturate with commentary on how hard it is to score goals. Well it may need a complete overhaul after last weekend because the A-League did it easy; unless you’re Awer Mabil, that is. A total of 16 goals were scored last weekend, 17 the weekend before, bringing the season total to 47 from 14 games.

Not only has there been a quantity for fans to rejoice over, but the quality is at an all-time high. Marc Janko’s strike for Sydney FC must be an early contender of the goal of the season.  Some would say that it wasn’t that impressive as Roar keeper, Jamie Young would have saved it if he had not just distributed the ball. Well the fact is he wasn’t in his goal. Credit goes to Janko for not only his ability to hit the target from 25 yards out, but also for his vision and desire to hit it from there in the first place.

Honourable mentions:
– Milos Dimitrijevic curling effort against the Roar, SFC have scored some beauties so far this season.
– Besart Berisha derby hat-trick.
– Melbourne City using their heads when David Villa let them down.

Bore
That’s Brisbane Bore. They’ve gone from the penthouse to the outhouse, or maybe that should be without-a-house as they’re still looking for their first points this season. The champions only have Western Sydney Wanderers below them on the ladder, but the Wanderers have a game in hand and a hugely exciting opportunity to win the ACL, so they won’t be that concerned.

Sydney FC proved that possession isn’t everything last weekend as the Roar enjoyed nearly 70% of the ball. You could be forgiven for thinking the Sky Blues smelt like Sydney Harbour as Brisbane focused on keeping the ball away from them. But the Roar looked confused when pressure was applied and couldn’t find the crisp balls we’re used to seeing them penetrate defence with.

There is a big difference between having possession and doing something with it; Brisbane seems to have lost the latter. Perhaps they should be looking between the lounge cushions during their weekend off.

Honourable mentions:
– Newcastle Jets, show us something, please!
– Perth Glory’s all white away kit.

Burn
Here Melbourne City, have David Villa for 10 games this season. Psych! Yeah, you can only have him for four games. A-League coaches that aren’t John van’t Schip and Josep Gombau breathed a collectively sign of relief to news that this weekend’s match against Adelaide United will most likely be Villa’s last for the Yarraside club.

While the reasons for the sudden news of Villa’s departure aren’t clear, there is speculation that it’s all Yaya Toure’s fault. Manchester City’s Ivory Coast international will leave during January for the African Cup of Nations, the same time Frank Lampard’s loan deal finishes at the Etihad. City boss Manuel Pellegrini is apparently desperate to keep Lampard around as the Sky Blues struggle to stay in touch with Premier League leaders Chelsea. Extending Lampard’s loan deal would mean there is nobody in the US to drum up New York City, cue Villa.

What’s that? David Villa’s 10-game stint would only keep him here until mid-December anyway, rendering this reason irrelevant? Well that is true, maybe that’s why they paraded Josh Kennedy around to distract us.

Whatever the reason, let’s not be bitter about it. It appears Villa has enjoyed his short stint in Melbourne and when future big names ask for his recommendation, maybe he’ll say the A-League is like sangria. It might not the prettiest looking drink, but it tastes great and packs one hell of a punch.

Honourbale mentions:
– Fans at the Adelaide vs Perth match; 35 degrees feels like 65 degrees staring into the sun.

Biscuits
That’s what the Wanderers will be looking to bring home from Saudi Arabia this weekend: biscuits and the Asian Champions League trophy. The Wanderers will have the upper hand against the 13-time Saudi Premier League champions, Al-Hilal, who have lifted the ACL crown twice before. Despite looking off the pace in the opening 45 minutes of the first leg at Parramatta Stadium, Western Sydney managed to steal a gutsy 1-0 victory.

A small contingent of commendable Wanderers faithful will be making the long trip the Saudi Arabia to support the team, but the wider Australian football community will be behind the Wanderers as they look to become the first Australian club to win the ACL. Good luck, boys!

Honourable mentions:
– Arnott’s Assorted Creams, everyone’s a marquee signing in that team.
– Wellington Phoenix showing their healthy appetite against Newcastle.

Bemusement – Observation of the week
Does Marcos Flores think A-League clubs are Pokémon?  He’s now played for Adelaide, Victory, Mariners and the Jets, gotta catch ’em all!

Get involved with the observation of the week by tweeting what catches your eye to @TheFootballSack and using #bylinebanter.

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