A-League mid-season report card: Perth Glory

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We are at the halfway mark of the 2019/20 A-League season, so it’s about time The Football Sack takes a look at the performance of Perth Glory.

Semester Summary: Glory’s slow start has made their mid-season position all the more impressive, hitting the back straight with five consecutive victories.

A home draw to Brisbane Roar took the air out of the reigning premier’s tyres and the club managed just one win from the first seven games.

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A 3-0 victory away from home against Melbourne City was the turning point, however, with fit defenders allowing Perth to return to the system that was so successful last season and sparking the current run of form.

Area of Excellence: The recent scoring spree has seen Perth equal their highest goal tally after 12 A-League games, 24 goals, thanks to a front three as clinical as any in the league.

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The 6-2 victory over Newcastle Jets at home epitomised the strength of Diego Castro and Bruno Fornaroli and sent a stern message to defenders nation-wide as well as starting a run of 12-goals in three games.

Areas in need of improvement: An injury to Juande in the home fixture against Adelaide United exposed Perth’s shallow midfield group.

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Jake Brimmer was given his first start of the season but his minutes have been few and far between and with Brandon Wilson now departed, the next player into the midfield is not apparent.

The two-man midfield Tony Popovic has employed limits chances for the younger crop of midfielders, which may restrict Perth down the line.

Top Student: Expectations surrounding Fornaroli were mixed when he was announced as a Glory player midway through last season.

On one hand, he was one of the league’s most prolific goal scorers but on the other, his falling out with Warren Joyce at City had led to an extended break from competitive football.

His performances were not as strong as the home fans would have hoped through the first month of the season, but the current scoring spree has been led by the Uruguayan, who has formed a formidable partnership with Castro.

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As the season wears on Castro has shifted wider with the confidence that Fornaroli can finish in the middle. They have found a rhythm and are giving each other the space they both require.

Class Clown: Outstanding contributions from Joel Chianese have meant that after an interrupted pre-season Chris Ikonomidis’ starting spot is up in the air.

With the expectation being that he would spend one more year in Australia before seeking opportunity elsewhere, an opportunity at his current club is becoming scarcer.

The Socceroo finds himself in a battle for his spot, one he has not experienced before in his A-League career and will need to make the most out of his minutes in coming weeks to win it back.

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Jacob Tratt earns himself an honourable mention with some shaky looking defending at times and his fellow centre-back Osama Malik has teased fans through an injury-riddled year.

Grade: B+

Outlook: A period of two halves, Glory’s season thus far has produced A+ and D grade performances just weeks apart but the side has found stability and rhythm and look like one of the great attacking threats in the league.

They will create nervous afternoons for defenders and should have an impact at finals time. The question will be if they can maintain their form and remain in the top half of the ladder.

Feature Image Credit: Darren Speedie

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