Goal Australia's match reporters provide insight and analysis from each weekend's action in the 2013-14 A-League season1. Ange leaving Victory in good shape (Michael Huguenin @ Etihad Stadium)
Since he was first mentioned as a possible replacement for Holger Osieck, Ange Postecoglou made it clear he believes he would leave Melbourne Victory in better shape than when he arrived in April last year. After three rounds of the 2013/14 A-League season, this Victory team remains a work in progress but there is no doubt Postecoglou is correct.
Friday night's 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar, who came into the game with two wins from as many games, was Victory's most complete performance of the season so far. While they still struggle at times with their striker-less 4-2-2-2 formation, recent arrivals Mitch Nichols and James Troisi both produced their best performances of the season against Brisbane. Fittingly the former started the move for the only goal of the match, while the latter finished it from the tightest of angles.
For Brisbane, concerns remain over where their goals will come when Besart Berisha is unavailable.
2. Mariners will keep getting better, Adelaide top-six material (Hamish Neal @ Bluetongue Stadium)
In a match which saw the champions score their first win of the season and the visitors record their first loss both coaches preached upside afterwards. With Daniel McBreen to return for the Mariners the competition for spots will keep Graham Arnold's men, young or old, enthusiastic. Josep Gombau's side has already shown they can beat Perth and if you add their missing players (Marcelo Carrusca and Jeronimo Neumann) to this team they should account for the likes of Sydney, Newcastle and Melbourne Heart based on early evidence. This will have them well in finals calculations.
3. No Del Piero, no goals for Sydney FC? (John Greco @ Allianz Stadium)
The notion that Sydney FC just aren't up to it without Alessandro Del Piero gained further weight after another limp showing in the derby. While the Sky Blues were made to pay for a couple of defensive lapses, they failed to create any genuine scoring opportunities despite enjoying the majority of possession. Wanderers keeper Ante Covic was forced into only one save – and that was a speculative long-range effort from defender Marc Warren late on. If Frank Farina can't find a way for his side to produce without their veteran talisman, who turns 39 next month, it could be a long season. After showing glimpses of their potential in the opening fortnight, the Wanderers produced their best performance yet and with coach Tony Popovic insisting they have plenty of improvement in them, there seems to be no chance of second-season syndrome affecting Western Sydney.
4. When and how will the Jets score? (Emma Stoney)
The Newcastle Jets need to start finding the back of the net - and soon. Three games without a goal is not a statistic that will please coach Gary van Egmond, nor is the fact they have yet to win. The Jets created enough chances against the Wellington Phoenix on Sunday but lacked the finishing touch and composure in the box. Getting star striker Emile Heskey back from injury cannot come soon enough. The Phoenix continue their slow but steady improvement under new coach Ernie Merrick but, like the Jets, have yet to win and need to start converting their chances.
Carlos Hernandez has had his moments since his return to the A-League, but still drifts in and out of games. The defence out wide also needs to tighten up as the Jets, like the Wanderers last week, were able to get in behind the fullbacks too often on Sunday.
5. A timely win for Perth Glory, Heart still struggling (Ben Cameron @ nib Stadium)
After two tough weeks on the road to start the season with just one point garnered from the fortnight, Alistair Edwards' summation of Sunday's 1-0 over Melbourne Heart as "crucial" could not have rung truer for the Glory. On the flipside of the coin it was also a crucial a loss for the Heart. They now just have two points from the opening three rounds of the A-League season and have a tough match up with top-of-the-table Brisbane Roar awaiting them next week in Queensland. Perth Glory will front up against Sydney FC after their Sydney-derby loss, but will again be in the comfortable surrounds of NIB Stadium.