Adelaide United varied their play between full proactive and, at times and especially away, reactive by sitting back and countering, a huge change from last season.
Western Sydney Wanderers’ transformation is now stuff of legend
Brisbane Roar added strong counter attack and rapid attacking transitions to their armoury.
And Melbourne City? They smashed the record for most goals in a regular season.
No wonder we have all so enjoyed the latest campaign.
The finest tribute we can give Adelaide and Guillermo Amor, who has truly achieved something magnificent in his first year as a head coach (albeit with FC Barcelona Technical knowledge behind him), is that they did not really have a stand out player as such, they simply were all excellent.
Marcelo Carrusca was, I think, as superb as he has ever been in the penultimate round against Melbourne City. Utterly imperious. He did what all great players should, and that is take complete hold of a match and carry their team-mates to the promised land.
is so fascinating because City will need to find a plan to stop the great Argentine, as well as getting their attacking and creative weapons into the game.
Every single player at Adelaide has contributed beautifully. Craig Goodwin, outstanding. Isaias, excellent. Stefan Mauk, superb signing.
Bruce Djite, marvellous last few months. Michael Marrone, very impressive again, especially in attack where he has really improved.
For phenomenal individual performances, though, City have arguably the best two. Aaron Mooy has been so efficient with the ball it is quite unreal. A chance created with every 20 touches? Exceptional. Goals from free-kicks, long range, most crosses in the league, most chances created. Wow.
Then there is Bruno Fornaroli.
Maybe Bruna might be better but, why not? The Uruguayan has been a profound pleasure to watch this season.
City certainly need to keep hold of him and Fornaroli needs to realise that he may not find the same support elsewhere. Sometimes, when it is going well, it is better to maintain trajectory. Another move will not necessarily end well.
Like Besart Berisha, though, I wonder if other teams are trying to poach him for big money? That type of goal return is priceless, really, the same as having three normal players.
Andreu, Mark Bridge and Mitch Nichols have been magnificent for the Wanderers. Dimas also. Brendon Santalab, when you break it down you realise how many players need to have an outstanding season to get near the top of today’s A-League competition.
And for, , the Roar? Love Jamie McLaren, of course. Nice to see Matty McKay make a statement last week for the old guard and Dimi Petratos has come into his own under John Aloisi this season.
Tell you what, though, I really enjoyed seeing Corey Brown step up last week against Melbourne Victory. A magnificent performance of endeavour and courage with the ball, streaming forward. The value of a full-back that can pick the ball up in his own third and end on the edge of the opposing penalty area is considerable.
Superb players, four (mostly) attacking teams and two matches to come this week.
The climax to season 11 of the A-League could not be more highly anticipated.