We are at the halfway mark in the A-League Men’s campaign now.
Well, kind of the halfway mark. With COVID-19 and recent weather conditions in NSW affecting the schedule, every side in the competition has played between 13 and 17 matches.
As a result, Kick360‘s journalists have come together in order to pick the best performing XI for the first part of the A-League Men’s season.
As our formation, we have picked the league’s most frequently used setup – the 4-2-4 with a double-six and two strikers.
Here is our A-League Men’s Team of the Season at the halfway point.
GK – Mark Birighitti (Central Coast Mariners)
There is an old saying that a good goalkeeper is half of the team. That definitely applies to Birighitti who once again has been instrumental for the Mariners, leading their young backline by example.
The 30-year-old Socceroo has averaged the third-most saves per 90 (3.8) in the whole league and has conceded only 22 goals from a grand total of 26.2 xG against, which is a very solid record.
RB – Josh Risdon (Western United)
When looking at the best right-backs in the league, it really is hard to go past Josh Risdon. After missing the majority of last season due to a series of injuries, Rizzo has been back to his best under Aloisi.
The ex-Perth Glory full-back has started 13 of United’s 15 games, helping them keep the most clean sheets in the competition (8), while also leading the way for the most ball recoveries (110) and successful tackles per match (3.0).
CB – Leo Lacroix (Western United)
Lacroix has been the standout defender in the country and for many even a candidate for the Johnny Warren medal. Just like Risdon, he has contributed massively to WU’s good run of form and exceptional defensive record.
And not only that, but the Swiss giant has also been a big part of the way Western United build from the back, more often than not starting attacks by stepping out of the backline and progressing the ball further up the pitch.
CB – Nuno Reis (Melbourne City)
Melbourne City has struggled defensively from time to time this year, but Reis has been nearly faultless and has even excelled amidst the chaos in their back-four.
The former Levski Sofia man is arguably the best ball-playing defender in the league and has the stats to show it. According to InStat, he has completed the most passes out of any player in the competition (1035) while also having 89% pass accuracy.
LB – Jacob Farrell (Central Coast Mariners)
At the start of January, Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery described young Farrell as the “best left-back in the A-League” and after 13 starts, one goal, and one assist, it’s hard to argue with him.
Farrell has cemented a spot since coming into the side and has impressed massively. The Gosford-born currently leads the team for most tackles made, most air challenges won, and most chances created by a defender while also ranking in the top three for ball recoveries and interceptions.
CM – Angus Thurgate (Newcastle Jets)
Thurgate makes our team just ahead of Brimmer and Metcalfe due to his consistency throughout the season and overall influence on this Jets team.
The 22-year-old has four goals and one assist in 13 appearances and has elevated his game to new heights under Arthur Papas who has given him the license to go up and down the pitch starting in his natural box-to-box role.
CM – Florin Berenguer (Melbourne City)
After the summer signing of Manuel Pucciarelli, most City fans expected that Berenguer’s minutes would be limited and didn’t really see the Frenchman as the main man in midfield. Four months later, things have drastically changed.
The elegant number 10 is currently the front-runner for the Johnny Warren medal, alongside Lacroix, and after 17 games has already delivered his best season in terms of goals (five) and assists (three).
RW – Daniel Penha (Newcastle Jets)
It was absolutely impossible to have a (halfway) TOTY without Daniel Penha in it. The Brazilian wunderkind has taken the Men’s competition by storm, leading the way for Newcastle in almost every attacking metric.
After 14 appearances, Penha has scored two goals, provided eight assists, and dazzled a ton of defenders with his silky footwork and beautiful one-touch play.
LW – Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
Goodwin has been the most consistent left winger in the league and the Reds’ best player once again. The Adelaide Raiders’ youth product has scored six goals and assisted another two, which recently earned him a Socceroos call-up.
All of this seems even more impressive when you take into consideration the fact that he missed almost six months due to an ankle injury before the start of the season.
ST – Beka Mikeltadze (Newcastle Jets)
Beka Mikeltadze is the third and final Jets player to make the Kick360 halfway XI, following his impressive start to life in Australia.
After signing on a free from AO Xanthi, Beka has taken the league by storm and shown that he’s not just a luxury number nine but a really hard-working forward. He has scored eight goals, provided two assists, and has impressed greatly with his link-up play and work with back-to-goal.
ST – Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City)
Top goalscorer, Socceroos number nine, and a real A-League legend. Jamie Maclaren partners Beka at the top end of our team.
J-Mac has once again been Mr. Consistent for City and Patrick Kisnorbo, scoring 11 goals, providing two assists, and spearheading the champions to the top of the table where they currently sit with 32 points and two games in hand.
Wellington Phoenix’s goalkeeper Oliver Sail and winger Reno Piscopo, Melbourne Victory’s full-backs Jason Geria and Jason Davidson, and midfielder Jake Brimmer, Central Coast’s centre-back Kye Rowles, and Western United striker Aleksandar Prijovic comprise the substitutes bench for our team, all narrowly missing out on the main XI.