Jonathan Howcroft

Author's details

Name: Jonathan Howcroft
Date registered: October 26, 2015
URL: http://www.theguardian.com/football/a-league

Latest posts

  1. Melbourne City’s desperately timid ending is a microcosm of their slump | Jonathan Howcroft — April 23, 2017
  2. A-League premiers plate proves Graham Arnold to be an oblique strategist | JP Howcroft — April 16, 2017
  3. Western Sydney emerge as unlikely title contenders with Antonis pulling strings | Jonathan Howcroft — April 2, 2017
  4. Melbourne City give reminder that for football to flourish it has to entertain | Jonathan Howcroft — March 19, 2017
  5. Graham Arnold the architect builds impressive Sydney FC machine | Jonathan Howcroft — March 5, 2017

Author's posts listings

Apr 23

Melbourne City’s desperately timid ending is a microcosm of their slump | Jonathan Howcroft

Six wins in 20 games tells its own story, but even those damning numbers hide constipated play and an uncertainty in tactics and selection

Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar progressed from contrasting elimination finals to move within one game of the A-League championship decider, but it was Melbourne City’s abject capitulation against the former that grew into the story of the weekend. Uncertain in possession, apathetic without the ball, the home side looked overawed by the occasion at AAMI Park. It was a desperately timid end to a campaign that could hardly have begun with greater fanfare.

Related: Perth Glory post rare away win to move within a game of A-League grand final

Related: Brisbane Roar knock Wanderers out of A-League finals on penalties

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/24/melbourne-citys-desperately-timid-ending-is-a-microcosm-of-their-slump

Apr 16

A-League premiers plate proves Graham Arnold to be an oblique strategist | JP Howcroft

There is nothing much left to say about Sydney FC’s winningest A-League season, but Graham Arnold’s methods are worthy of unconventional appraisal

Congratulations Sydney FC. The runaway premiers enjoyed the first of what should be two presentation ceremonies this season on Saturday, hoisting the premiers plate aloft after a typically methodical dismantling of Newcastle Jets.

It’s good manners in moments like this to laud the best team in a competition, especially one a record margin ahead of its nearest challenger. But what more is there to say about the winningest team in an A-League season that hasn’t been said already? We’ve talked up the coach, drooled over the marquee No10, and marvelled at the collective ability to seize the moment. Anything else you care to factor into Sydney’s peerless achievement has been raised somewhere between October and now during the 27 unbroken weeks the Sky Blues have topped the ladder.

Related: A-League: 16 goals as Glory beat City and Brisbane pip Wellington

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/apr/17/a-league-premiers-plate-proves-graham-arnold-to-be-an-oblique-strategist

Apr 02

Western Sydney emerge as unlikely title contenders with Antonis pulling strings | Jonathan Howcroft

Heading into the finals, the Wanderers are the only team with both the current form and the head-to-head record to suggest Sydney FC can be stopped

Only Sydney FC have picked up more A-League points than Western Sydney Wanderers since Terry Antonis first appeared on one of Tony Popovic’s teamsheets. The three points earned in Newcastle on Saturday keep the Wanderers in the hunt for an Asian Champions League qualification spot, a remarkable turnaround after winning only two of their opening 15 matches.

The Bankstown-born Antonis, on loan from Greek Superleague side PAOK, is not the only variable to factor into the Wanderers’ upturn in fortunes. The anguine Vedran Janjetović has corrected a glaring pre-season oversight in goal, while Brendon Santalab’s finishing has deserved the many headlines. But it’s Antonis’s role greasing the wheels in between that has provided the platform for the Wanderers to emerge as an unlikely championship contender.

Related: Canberra City: a blueprint for current A-League expansion hopefuls | Joe Gorman

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/apr/03/western-sydney-emerge-as-unlikely-title-contenders-with-antonis-pulling-strings

Mar 19

Melbourne City give reminder that for football to flourish it has to entertain | Jonathan Howcroft

Watching City briefly reach a level comparable to last season brought home how many A-League teams have stagnated or declined year on year

On Saturday night, a funny thing happened: Melbourne City entertained their home crowd for a full 90 minutes. The 4-0 rout of Newcastle Jets was only the second time City have scored more than twice at AAMI Park this season and the first occasion they’ve won at home by more than a single goal.

Related: A-League: Tim Cahill sparks Melbourne City rout of Jets

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/20/melbourne-city-give-reminder-that-for-football-to-flourish-it-has-to-entertain

Mar 05

Graham Arnold the architect builds impressive Sydney FC machine | Jonathan Howcroft

The Sky Blues coach deserves credit not only for his tactics but also his squad-assembling after his side effectively secured the A-League’s Premiers’ Plate

The best team in the A-League defeated the second-best on Friday night to, barring the most spectacular of late-season implosions, confirm the destination of the Premiers’ Plate. The premiers-elect have won the most games this season, scoring the most goals and conceding the fewest along the way. The latest win was the third time in 18 weeks Sydney FC have overcome Melbourne Victory.

Related: A-League: Bobo strike seals Sydney FC victory in Big Blue

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/06/graham-arnold-the-architect-builds-impressivel-sydney-fc-machine

Feb 12

A-League is providing the thrills, but FFA’s inertia is cause for serious concern

A-League should be gearing up for all-action climax to the season, but the absence of hype is demoralising and momentum is being lost

Living near Australia’s east coast, the first thing I do in a morning is pour myself a steaming hot mug of bias. This fuels the daily search for A-League news, which consists of an exhaustive trawl through sources from Victoria all the way to New South Wales. But today, to my surprise, I was confronted by a disturbance in the force, the unavoidable presence of Perth Glory.

Under the cloak of west coast anonymity Glory have won four of their past six matches to move level on points with fourth-placed Melbourne City, just two behind next week’s visitors to nib Stadium and occupants of the third and final Asian Champions League qualification spot, Brisbane Roar. During this run Glory have scored at least twice in every match, culminating in the season’s biggest shellacking on Friday night.

Related: A-League: Castro nets twice as Perth Glory thrash Adelaide

Related: Sydney FC looking like A-League Invincibles after emphatic Phoenix win

Related: Depleted Melbourne City come back to earn draw against Brisbane Roar

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/feb/13/a-league-is-providing-the-thrills-but-ffas-inertia-is-cause-for-serious-concern