A-League’s ‘any given Sunday’ era the envy of Europe

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Despite all the pessimism that infiltrated A-League discussions over the offseason, the competition has entered an age that those in Europe could only dream about; the ‘any given Sunday’ era.

It’s the age of unpredictability, the age of drama. The age of thrilling finishes where anyone can beat anyone and the three points are anything but guaranteed.

In the first four rounds of the A-League only one of twenty matches has been decided by a margin of more than one goal.

This statistic proves what many a player or coach will tell you: take nobody for granted.

And last weekend alone was testament to that.

First up was Saturday afternoon where Brisbane Roar picked up their second point of the season in a draw with Western Sydney. Before the match Bankwest Stadium had been heralded a fortress, with the most imposing fans in the country.

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Yet it was the Roar, with 18 shots on goal who played like the undefeated top of the table team. The Roar had 56.9% of the possession and looked the more likely to score late. This had many experts after the game saying that Brisbane deserved all three points.

However, one-week prior it was the Wanderers who broke a 980-day winless streak against bitter rivals Sydney FC. They’ve already won three games this season, when all of last year they only managed six.

Then on Saturday night Melbourne Victory lost for the first time in their history when leading 2-0. Worst of all, the 14-year record fell in the first ever derby against Western United.

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One things for sure, the newbies won’t be a pushover in year one. Instead, they’ll be wildcard, adding even more unpredictability to the competition.

But let’s not forget how Western faired in their first derby against Melbourne City the week prior, going down at home in a classic derby despite City playing the final 30 minutes when only ten men.

Then came Sunday afternoon, where the ‘any given Sunday’ principle was fittingly in full effect.

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Against all odds, the Central Coast Mariners made the long trek over to Perth and pulled off the biggest upset of the season, stunning last year’s premiers Perth Glory 2-1.

The Mariners, who finished bottom of the table the last season seasons now find themselves inside the top six, despite having played one less game than those above them.

Moreover, with seven of the eleven teams sporting new head coaches this season, optimism at club land is at an all-time high.

The playing field is more level now than ever before. Fans can watch or go to games not knowing what to expect.

This is best captured in two matches between Melbourne City and Adelaide United. Played 72 hours apart, Melbourne won the first game 2-1 before Adelaide flipped the script in the FFA Cup Final running away with the victory.

As such, the age of unpredictability is most certainly here.

It is the age of hope. And there’s no room for pessimism.

Bring on the upsets!

Feature Image Credit: Vision Inspired Photograph

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Michael Patane
Student at Monash University and lover of all things football covering Melbourne City in 2019/20.