Happy Australia Day, readers of the View from Avalon. Now, some of you may not celebrate Australia’s 225th anniversary but for those of you who do, this week’s edition of the Hyundai A-League Power Rankings is dedicated to you. Retaining the top spot in this week’s rankings are Melbourne Victory, who are continuing their chase of the Central Coast Mariners at the top of the ladder.
Let’s take a look.
1. Melbourne Victory
Ange Postecoglou’s Melbourne Victory needed to stand and deliver on Saturday against Sydney FC in the showdown known as Big Blue, and they did. A brace from Marco Rojas in the 23rd and 73rd minutes combined with the eventual winner from Archie Thompson in the 67th minute of play paced the Big V to a 3-1 win over the Sky Blues at AAMI Park. Up next for Melbourne is a match with Melbourne Heart in the City Derby on Feb. 2 at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
2. Central Coast Mariners
Graham Arnold’s Central Coast Mariners solidified their place at the top of the A-League ladder with a 3-1 rout of Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. Down a goal in the middle of the second hlaf, Mitchell Duke secured a brace in the 67th and 72nd minutes and Michael McGlinchey slammed the door shut in the 88th minute of play. Central Coast continue their season on Feb. 1 against the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
3. Western Sydney Wanderers
While Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC tangle it up in Big Blue, Tony Popovic’s Western Sydney Wanderers and the Melbourne Heart squared off in Big Red at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney. Shinji Ono was the hero, scoring a 73rd-minute penalty to give the Wanderers a 1-0 victory over the Heart despite going down a man early in the first half. The Wanderers continue their season on Feb. 3 against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.
4. Brisbane Roar
Mike Mulvey’s Brisbane Roar earned some form of respite on Jan. 26 when they faced Perth Glory at nib Stadium in Perth. James Meyer’s 16th-minute strike was all the defending A-League champions needed in their 1-0 victory. Now the question is, can they build on it? The Feb. 1 test with the Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium holds the answer.
5. Newcastle Jets
Gary van Egmond’s Newcastle Jets were spared blushes thanks to Emile Heskey in the 74th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Newcastle’s next match is on feb. 2 against Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium in Newcastle.
6. Adelaide United
John Kosmina was left fuming after his Adelaide United side were chased out of the park, 3-1, by the Central Coast Mariners. Daniel Bowles gave United an early lead in the 39th minute of play, but the second half left Adelaide unglued beyond all repair, with three goals surrenderered in the span of 21 minutes. The Reds will hope that a similar meltdown is averted when they host the Western Sydney Wanderers at Hindmarsh Stadium on Feb. 3.
7. Melbourne Heart
John Aloisi’s Melbourne Heart could not compete a city sweep of Sydney, as they were shut out 1-0 by the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium. Even more damning about the scoreline is the fact that the Heart played most of the game with a man advantage and still failed to finish. The Heart continue their season on Feb. 2 when they face City Derby rivals Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium.
8. Perth Glory
Ian Ferguson’s Perth Glory were left wondering how they couldn’t finish out of a wet paper bag in their 1-0 defeat to the Brisbane Roar at nib Stadium. Time is of the essence for the struggling Glory, who take on Wellington Phoenix on Feb. 2 at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
9. Sydney FC
Joel Griffiths was able to salvage a consolation goal in the 75th minute for Frank Farina’s Sydney FC, but the damage had been done at AAMI Park as they finished two goals down and two men down in their 3-1 to Melbourne Victory. Seems that they made the cellar-dwellers of our Power Rankings look even worse. Fittingly so. The Sky Blues return to action on Feb. 2 against the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.
10. Wellington Phoenix
Ricki Herbert’s Wellington Phoenix needed a victory in their pillow fight with the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium to gain any sort of ground on the top six. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Despite a 21st-minute goal from Louis Fenton, the Phoenix squandered all hope for a victory when Tony Lochhead was sent off in the 72nd minute of play. The end result: a 1-1 draw with the Jets.
Wellington are running out of time, miracles, chances and prayers. Not even a trip to Auckland’s Eden Park can save this hopeless Nix side. That’s where Wellington will be playing next, in another pillow fight on Feb. 2 with Perth Glory.