In the first of a regular series every five weeks during the season, Guy Hand takes a look at the health of your sideBRISBANE ROAR
What's good: Winning at home. Winning away. Winning without Berisha, Miller, North and Stefanutto. They've proved they have depth. Their defence led by Matt Smith is rock-solid.
What's bad: A shocking injury list though you wouldn't know it. Two of their wins have been against a Del Piero-less Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart. But that's nit-picking really, considering they have started the season better than anyone else.
What's next: Shoehorning their stars back into a winning line-up. Play Newcastle away, followed by home matches against the Wanderers and Perth. At least seven points from those, and they'll have set up a neat break over the rest of the competition.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
What's good: Only unbeaten team in the league. Excellent defence. Now winning games without Youssouf Hersi. Still the best team in Sydney. Their fans continue to win friends – and perhaps games – with their incredible support.
What's bad: Striker Tomi Juric's knee injury sustained against Heart last weekend. Expect the talk swirling around out-of-contract Shinji Ono's future to build as the season goes on.
What's next: A massive fortnight, playing Victory at home, then top-of-the-table Roar away. Perhaps finding a striker capable of replacing the impressive Juric.
What's good: New signings James Troisi - the A-League's leading scorer - and Mitch Nichols have been excellent in midfield. Solid home crowds. Not entirely convincing so far, but still sit third.
What's bad: Losing the A-League's master coach to the Socceroos, and replacement Muscat is still on L-plates. Defensive frailties a concern. Couldn't beat 10-man Sydney FC, and should have.
What's next: Huge three weeks. The Wanderers away, Adelaide at home, then Mariners away. Real test as to how fair dinkum the Victory are as title contenders, or whether they are a rung below the best.
What's good: Giving a quiet middle finger to those who thought they'd struggle. Top four, and still under the radar. Three clean sheets in five matches. French star William Gallas is yet to be added. Brazilian winger Sidnei looks a player.
What's bad: Have not yet played a team in the top half of the table.
What's next: The Mariners in two weeks, the Roar away in round eight, then the Victory away in round 10. The next five weeks is the Glory's big reveal. We'll soon know if they're really any good.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
What's good: Have lost just once this season. Yet to hit full steam, but still getting results. Kept coach Graham Arnold in face of Socceroos speculation.
What's bad: Have twice fought back from two-goal deficits for draws, which is either concerning or gutsy – depending on your view of your glass. More brittle defensively than previous seasons.
What's next: A week off, with their match with the Phoenix postponed. So a 13-day lead-in to the tough road trip west for Perth Glory. Home games to follow against the Victory and Sydney FC. Huge month, and they won't want to give up any more ground on the top two.
What's good: Have put it together past fortnight after three weeks playing like a mid-table youth team. Excellent against Mariners, then really good away win over Adelaide. Heskey back from injury. Midfielder Andrew Hoole looks promising. And the goals are now coming.
What's bad: Look thin depth-wise. Still have a tendency to over-possess. With such a young group, confidence is critical. And it probably can't take too many more hits.
What's next: Top-of-the-table Roar then Heart at home in successive weeks. Heart match and game against Sydney FC the following week critical. Win those two, and the Jets build momentum.
What's good: Brave against Melbourne Victory, and aren't as bad a team as some have made out. Del Piero makes them a top six side. Coach Farina has weathered the storm, and it's clear his players are playing for him. Watch their reaction at fulltime last week if you have doubts.
What's bad: Look like a lightweight pub team without Del Piero. He will miss games at some stage, so must be better in how they compensate. Defence a concern, particularly on the flanks.
What's next: Winnable run of matches against Heart, Phoenix and Jets. Win all three, and they could go top four. Will be under far less pressure for next few weeks following win over Victory.
What's good: The style they are trying to employ under new coach Josep Gombau is pretty to watch when it's got right. Goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic remains the competition's gold standard – and he's been busy.
What's bad: The Gombau style may be too pretty to work right now. It takes a huge physical effort to do what he wants for 90 minutes. So far, the Reds haven't been able to do so. And their defence is suffering.
What's next: A run of three consecutive away matches – Perth, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart. Then the Roar and Mariners at home. Critical test of the Reds and their coach.
What's good: Playing well in patches, especially second half against Victory and against the Roar in round one. Just not for long enough. Carlos Hernandez, Jeremy Brockie and Paul Ifill all excellent attacking options.
What's bad: No wins. Defensively unconvincing. Playing some home matches around New Zealand robs them of their former Westpac Stadium fortress. All Whites commitments proving a test.
What's next: Week off for international commitments, and soon get the chance to play Wanderers and Roar in New Zealand.
What's good: John Aloisi has some very nice suits. He also lets you play golf if you've got the weekend off. Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and David Williams playing well, but not many others.
What's bad: Cannot get chances on target. Confidence looked shot against Wanderers. The Harry Kewell injury circus. They're winless, and right now are where they deserve to be.
What's next: Home clash against Sydney FC this week arguably the most important in club's history. A poor result could mean the growing unease turns ugly for coach and club.
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