The demise of the A-League title race

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The thrill of a title race is alluring, infectious and yet here in the A-League there has not been an inkling of a title race for two seasons on the trot.

Hopes of a dramatic end of season title race were all but dashed on Friday night as a depleted Newcastle Jets side were clinically put to the sword by Adelaide United 5-2.

The fleeting chance of the A-League title race re-emerging was in the air before round 24 with just five points separating Sydney and Newcastle and just 90 minutes later it was gone.

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Not since round 12 had Sydney’s advantage at the top of the ladder been that narrow and they had been nailed on as regular season premiers months ago and deservedly so.

For everyone bar fans of the Sky Blues this was not the way anyone would’ve wanted the season to unravel, for the neutral even less so for the basic reason that the title race was over before it even started.

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With three matchdays remaining it’s expected that Sydney will finish the home and away season as top dogs for the second year running, the only unknown is by just how many points over second place Newcastle.

Last season Sydney asserted even more dominance, clinching the regular season title by 17 points over Melbourne Victory.

Although full credit must go to Sydney for achieving these feats – it is no easy task to do this let alone with such aplomb – but the lack of other clubs not being able to match it with Sydney over the past two seasons does not make for the most memorable of A-League story-lines.

Think of the most memorable moment in the modern era of the English Premier League.

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Most would assumably list Sergio Aguero’s last minute title winner in 2012 as the standout moment of recent memory.

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Now compare that moment with Manchester City’s impending runaway title this season and much like our own domestic scene the attention and emotion is not with the league leaders but with the sides battling for secondary positions, in the EPL this attention is firmly focused on the relegation battle.

The jubilation and sheer excitement of a title going to the wire has clearly been lost amongst City’s outright domination of an entire league.

Right across the world the semblance of a title race is fast becoming a rarity.

Bayern Munich are on the verge of their sixth consecutive title in Germany, in Belarus BATE Borisov have not lost a title since 2006 and up in Scotland the sight of Celtic lifting silverware has become routine.

So what’s behind these dynasties?

A differentiating factor between some of the clubs mentioned above and Sydney is the financial aspect.

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Thankfully Sydney is not able to open the cheque book and stalk the transfer market for the league’s best players like Bayern Munich do and in the same vein they’re not financially dominant over any other club due to the salary cap system used in the A-League.

So quite simply it’s up to the other clubs to step up and take it to the Sky Blues over an entire season.

Newcastle’s late dash at Sydney was a small reminder of the excitement that a title race can provide.

It’s this enthralling suspense and the anticipation of the unknown that breathes life into the regular season.

So when a title race does eventually come along just make sure you appreciate the roller-coaster of emotion and excitement that football can deliver.

Here’s hoping the A-League title race provides one hell of spectacle next season.

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Josh Davies
Josh Davieshttps://joshdavies.journoportfolio.com/
Josh is in the final stages of a journalism degree at The University of Queensland. In the meantime, he'll continue praying for Arzani's knee.

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