Each club’s biggest takeaway from the A-League Men season so far

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We’re only two weeks into the season, but we’ve already learned so much.

With another round of football on the horizon, it’s worth taking a second to step back, regroup, and revisit what has already transpired across the 12 games we’ve seen so far.

So here it is, the good, the bad and the ugly for the entire A-League Men’s competition as we look at the clubs from top to bottom.

Melbourne Victory: We’re back.

It’s no secret that it’s been a difficult past couple of seasons for Melbourne Victory, as they’ve spent plenty of time at the bottom of the table looking upwards to the rest of the league.

However, a new coach and a revamped squad seems to have done wonders, and Tony Popovic’s men find themselves as the lone 2-0 team in the competition.

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Melbourne City: Wasted opportunity

With 15 minutes to go in their match against Adelaide United, Melbourne City looked in excellent shape to join their cross-town rivals atop the A-League Men ladder with six points apiece.

But two goals to United, the second coming in added time, meant that they had to settle for just one point. The key message for Patrick Kisnorbo’s men? Play the full 90 (+5) minutes.

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Wellington Phoenix: Building confidence

Controversy at the penalty spot was not enough to prevent the Nix from leaving Wollongong with the three points, as they came away with a 2-1 victory over Central Coast Mariners.

The focus for coach Ufuk Talay was firmly on the positives, as he noted the importance of picking up wins early in the season to build confidence and cohesion amongst the group.

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Macarthur FC: Defence wins games

After 180 minutes of action, the Bulls have managed to hit the scoreboard on just two occasions. Yet, some outstanding defensive performances have allowed them to sneak into the top four at this early stage.

They’ve yet to concede a goal in regular play and expect manager Ante Milicic to emphasise turning their defensive stops into counter-attacking opportunities going forward.

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Central Coast Mariners: Moral victories don’t earn points

The Mariners might be feeling a little hard done by to have not earned a point in their match against Phoenix with several chances going just awry thanks to deflections, saves, and near misses.

Unfortunately for them, you don’t get any credit for playing well without luck and they’ll need to find a way to trouble the scorers more regularly if they want to make their way up the ladder.

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Western United: Third time’s the charm

It was substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls who made the difference for Western United last weekend, as he nearly had them in front on two occasions in the second half before finally putting them ahead in the 78th minute.

The 23-year-old was just the spark the side need, which up until that point had been goal-less this season, and perhaps his tenacity can kick-start their 2021-22 campaign.

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Adelaide United: Never say die

Football games can turn in the blink of an eye, and this week, staring down the barrel of a 2-0 loss to Melbourne City, the Reds found something. In the space of 13 minutes Adelaide scored twice to earn a share of the points.

The big takeaway for Carl Veart’s charges is that if they want to convert draws into wins, they need to stop surrendering early leads, as in both games so far, they’ve been forced to play catch-up to eek out a solitary point.

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Western Sydney Wanderers: Moral defeats don’t lose points

The Wanderers somehow found themselves walking away with a draw in their match against the Jets, despite a performance which Carl Robinson described as “lethargic.”

The manager will be looking for his side to inject some purpose into their play in coming weeks, as relying on defensive blunders for goals is not a recipe for long-term success.

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Newcastle Jets: Pressure is key

Plenty of goals are scored in football purely from wearing down the defence with consistent and relentless attack, and this was the case for Newcastle. Going up 1-0 early gives a team a great deal of confidence.

Despite not being able to earn the full three points, this was a far more fruitful performance than their loss to the Mariners in round one.

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Perth Glory: What’s in a name?

The Glory made the biggest splash of the off-season when they signed English striker Daniel Sturridge, but so far, the 32-year-old has been a non-factor on the pitch.

With a grand total of nine minutes and two touches logged, not to mention a couple of injury concerns, it looks like Richard Garcia might have to look elsewhere for the time being.

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Sydney FC: No time to panic

The Sky Blues have been held scoreless so far this season, but last season’s runners-up aren’t going all hands-on deck just yet.

They’ll be getting some players back from injury in short order, and in manager Steve Corica’s view, we’ll get to see what the most successful club in A-League Men history is really made of then.

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Brisbane Roar: Murphy’s Law

Roar have been on the back-foot from first minute of this A-League Men season, and they will want to find something to turn it around quickly before they find themselves in an insurmountable hole.

Two straight losses wasn’t how Warren Moon’s men would have wanted to start the season and a 3-0 defeat to Victory last time out suggests they could be in for a tough campaign.

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Mitchell Turner
Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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