The four most recent winners of the A-League Men’s are currently at the bottom of the competition ladder – and this is great for the league. 2021/22 Champions Western United are struggling at the bottom under John Aloisi; reigning champion Central Coast Mariners secured a first win of the season against the Jets, but with just three points from five matches, they are eleventh on the ladder. City’s group in 2023/24 looks disappointing, based on their performance in the opening month of the season. Sydney FC had an unexpected win against Adelaide on the road. New coach Ufuk Talay has a tough task of setting up Sydney to play finals football in 2024, and the critics of former coach Steve Corica’s decisions over the last few years have been proven correct, as the Sky Blues are in tenth spot after four losses.
All of this is cause for celebration because the A-League offers something unique and more competitive than the predictable European leagues. Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Inter, Juventus, and Milan are dominating in England, Germany, and Italy, respectively. In Australia, the Western Sydney Wanderers are returning to competitiveness and are sitting at the top of the ‘inverted’ league early on. Wellington and Adelaide United are also at the top without an A-League Championship, leading to a rejuvenated competition to enjoy. Brisane Roar, Melbourne Victory, and Macarthur FC are also performing well. The working salary cap is creating parity in the competition, something that other leagues can only dream of. Overall, the A-League is far more entertaining.