Kewell's net-dodgers prepare to face free-scoring Roar
Aussie-based British journalist Paul Winslow on the latest action from down under...
There's a rule in football whereby if the media spot a trend, run or record and everyone starts talking about it, you can pretty much guarantee it will end at the first opportunity.
If someone works out that Team A hasn't scored away for 343 minutes, you can almost guarantee they'll score early in the next game. If it's noted that Striker X hasn't scored from open play in seven millennia, then you know that in his next game he will score, usually via a deflection from his backside.
So it was inevitable that, having seen Melbourne Victory fail to score in their first three games and deciding to wait one more week before writing about it, they would ruin the story by ending the drought in their next game, a fairly underwhelming 2-1 victory against Wellington Phoenix.
Harry Kewell's team fails to score in opening three matches is a story. Harry Kewell's team win one, draw two of opening four games is, erm, not. That's why I waited a week as early season trends are too easily jumped upon before they have chance to unravel, and it now means I can write about the real stars of this league, the Brisbane Roar.
While Harry's boys have struggled to find the net, the Roar have made it ripple seven times. In one game. They've scored 13 goals in four matches and have now gone 32 games without defeat. But now that everyone is talking about how many games they've been undefeated then by our law of football statistics they must inevitably lose this weekend, right?
And FourFourTwo.com offers absolutely no prizes for guessing who they're playing this weekend, none other than Monsieur Kewell and his pals. And they just happen to be the last team to beat Brisbane in September last year.
Not that this has any huge effect on who will win the Championship. Australia is a funny place where league tables may not lie, but they also only have a marginal influence on who picks up the silverware at the end of the season.
As an Englishman I have never understood the lack of prestige attached to finishing a league season at the top of the league in Australia. For the uninformed, a quick word of explanation. At the end of any football, Aussie Rules or Rugby season the top few teams in the league play in a series of play-offs. They are seeded and biased towards those who finish the highest, but ultimately the whole season always boils down to one match. Win the league and you get the 'minor' Premiership. Win the finals and you're top dog.
So, theoretically, Brisbane could pretty much do an Arsenal, go unbeaten throughout the league season, storm to the play-off final and still find themselves disappointed on the big day despite having been far and away the best team for two years.
They almost did it last season when they needed penalties to win the tournament. That does not make sense. League competitions denote who is the best team; cups are great but have a different role.
But enough of my whinging Pominess. The weekend is what the A League were dreaming of when Kewell (who I now promise will not gain so much as a mention in our next blog, lest it become all about him) came back to town. The reality is that if he and his mates had stormed the league it would have been boring. To have them struggling to keep up with the real top dogs and have a chance of ending a superlative run is more intriguing.
And it also means that the supposed superstar can go up against the real superstar of the season so far. That real superstar goes by the name of Besart Berisha, an Albanian with no real pedigree before his arrival in the A League, but one who has now alerted everyone to his presence by way of six goals in four games.
We'll talk more about him in the future, but for now all eyes are on whether the guy who arrived to the fanfare and has done nowt or the guy who slipped in the back door but has achieved a lot will take the plaudits and the points on the weekend. My money's on the Albanian.