Just in case you missed it, here is everything of importance from the A-League Round 16 in Tribalfootball's Press Rewind.
It's amazing what good the league can bring every now and again. Sometimes it's like the little engine that could, other times it's just simply unbelievable. This week, credit simply has to go to Adelaide United for their effort against runaway leaders Sydney FC.
United, who are in the middle of a depleted squad crisis, held off the champions for a 0-0 draw despite missing 10 first team players to injuries and international duty. It's enough to have coaches fuming, but Marco Kurz knew what lay ahead of them and braced the squad accordingly, which paid off in moral and getting a point out of what seemed the impossible.
In the same week that Liverpool scuppered Manchester City's aim of an undefeated season, have Adelaide discovered the blueprint to knocking the champions off their perch? And with a couple of teenagers and untried players, it's easily an impressive feat.
The rest of the competition will be eyeing up their next encounter with Sydney, hopeful of being able to keep the star-studded squad at bay themselves.
Under new gaffer Ernie Merrick, the Jets have shown to be an attacking powerhouse. They've scored their way past almost every team that's stepped up to the plate to challenge them, and they now sit comfortably in second place behind Sydney FC.
It's Newcastle's best campaign for a long time, and the most remarkable thing is they've done it with bad luck working against them.
First, their star off season signing Ronald Vargas suffers one of the ugliest injuries of the season, and is put out for an extended stint on the sidelines recuperating from his injury.
Now, they worry again about the fitness of their star replacement, Patricio Rodriguez.
In only his second match for the club, Rodriguez was the victim of a bad two footed challenge from Roar's Jacob Pepper. Although he finished the game, there are now concerns that their new signing will have to spend some time on the injury table as well.
Having scored in his debut, the loss of Rodriguez would be one that the Jets could not afford. Despite these troubles however, they still won against Brisbane on the weekend, and they continue to perform in spite of their apparent lack of good fortune.
George, who is a Dutch native, signed a one-year deal at the start of the season, and has proved to be one of the best signings of the season for any team.
On Saturday night against Perth Glory, Melbourne Victory won 3-2. George provided all three assists to help the Victory to the three points, and was the key man in the match. George was able to create 5 chances, take 4 shots, win 11 duels, provide 13 crosses and 36 passes from 82 touches. He was everywhere, and without him the Victory could not have won.
These statistics above are anticipated considering George's track record this season. George is number one in the league for number of crosses (156), second in the league for chances created (48), equal eight for shots on goal (25), and first for number of assists (11).
Leroy George earned player of the round this week, and with his performance its unsurprising. George is a hot commodity, and the only question now is: Will Victory be able to resign him?
Melbourne Victory currently sit 4th, 3 points behind rivals Melbourne City. However, at the first sign of a lacklustre performance or questionable tactics, the fans seem ready to throw Kevin Muscat out the window.
Despite coming off a hard-fought win over Perth, Muscat is hardly making himself a popular figure with his supporters. The nature of unattractive football and squad selections leave fans baffled almost every matchday. It seems any result of the season will be enough for the Victory faithful to be calling for his head, even at the early stages of this campaign.
With Champions League football on the horizon, and a squad that barely gets rotated, Muscat will have plenty to think about as his hands get full with more commitments on the way and whether his formula is one for success as we draw closer to the race for finals places.
They say football is a fickle game. I tend to agree and disagree in a sense, but the saying rings true for the fans in this case.
Goal of the Week
Off the back of a stunning upset home win against traditional powerhouses Melbourne Victory, Wellington would have entered their match against the Wanderers with a spring in their step.
Wellington capitalised on a 10 man Victory side with a dominant display of attacking prowess, as they exploited the giant Rhys Williams sized gap in the Victory defence.
Once again playing at home, the Phoenix would have been hoping to continue on their winning ways, with a win against the Wanderers potentially moving them off the bottom of the table.
While the Wanderers took an early lead through veteran Brendon Santalab, Wellington were able to strike back and steal a point through an absolute screamer from Matija Ljujic.
His first A-League goal was a beauty, check it out.
Ljujic, take a bow.
What a STUNNING equaliser!
: Fox Sports pic.twitter.com/OKu6BZS9iV
— Hyundai A-League (@ALeague) January 13, 2018
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