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A-League Winners and Losers: Why Sydney FC have a reason to smile

4:14 pm AEDT 28/1/19
Steve Corica Sydney FC
The boys from the West continue to put their stamp on the competition, Victory just get the job done and a goalkeeper's career on life support

Perth Glory have emerged from the busy summer period on top of the A-League table and are clear favourites to take out the competition.

The Big Blue was won my Melbourne Victory, despite Kevin Muscat's side struggling and enduring some nervy moments in the second.

And Vedran Janjetovic's Wanderers career must be in the balance after this second horror show this season.

Read on for all our winners and losers from Round 15.

  • Neil Kilkenny Perth Glory

    Winner: Perth Glory march on

    We all knew they were title contenders but Perth Glory have proved how far they are ahead of the competition by emerging from a busy summer period of matches four points clear on top of the A-League table after a 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets.

    Through six matches in 21 days, Tony Popovic's side were unbeaten - winning four games and drawing two - while the coach kept the squad fresh by rotating most of the squad with stars such as Diego Castro and Andy Keogh being rested on occasion.

    It's also interesting to note Glory had a generous fixture through the summer period - with four of their last six fixtures at HBF Park with a home game against Wellington to come this weekend.

    This does mean Perth have to play three away matches in a row through late February/early Match but the third of these trips has a week's break before and after the game - meaning the Glory will have plenty of time to recover from their travels.

    There is no complaints over Perth getting a little help - with the amount of long travel they have to do over a long season - and the concession will be a big help to their hopes of lifting the Premiers' Plate.

  • Vedran Janjetovic Wanderers

    Loser: Vedran Janjetovic's career

    Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic is a decent shot stopper but surely Markus Babbel's patience is running thin after the veteran cost his team three points for the second time this season.

    Janjetovic was obviously caught in two minds to let the ball run for a goal kick or keep it in play to waste time, and somehow conspired to concede a corner that allowed Brisbane to snatch an equaliser.

    It's concerning that Janjetovic is making such a bizarre mistake - especially considering his ridiculous send off in the Sydney derby last year when his team were 1-0 in front.

    How can his teammates, in particular his back four, have any faith he won't blunder again?

    It will be interesting to see whether Janjetovic is dropped by Babbel for this Friday's match against Newcastle.

    Whatever the decision, he is definitely playing for his career over the rest of the season.

  • Melbourne Victory James Troisi

    Winner: Melbourne Victory winning dirty

    Melbourne Victory have struggled without superstar Keisuke Honda at times since his injury before December's derby, but they have only lost one match during that period and have just been quietly picking up points.

    Saturday's night Big Blue was a perfect example of Victory's current modus operandi - while they were reasonable through parts of the game, they were also dominated by the Sky Blues in the second half, but they still got the job done through two superb moments of class from Ola Toivonen and James Troisi.

    In their eight games without Honda, Victory have arguably been outplayed in six of them - but the 2-0 loss to Adelaide remains their only defeat in that period.

    If Victory can get Honda back for the business end of the season, and also help fellow imports Raul Baena and Georg Niedermeier over their injury troubles, they'll have a first XI which any A-League team in the competition will struggle to stop.

  • Warren Joyce Melbourne City

    Loser: Melbourne City

    Melbourne City drew a blank for the second match in a week following the 1-0 defeat to Wellington Phoenix.

    Despite full-back Richie De Laet and young winger Lachie Wales doing everything they can as makeshift strikers, it will take a miracle for the club to challenge for silverware if they don't snare a new centre-forward before the end of the transfer window.

    Warren Joyce's side are in fourth position - 10 points behind leaders Perth Glory - and it's safe to say their points total would be significantly greater if they had a centre forward such as Adam Le Fondre or Ola Toivonen banging the goals in.

    Saturday's loss to the Phoenix was a shade unlucky because of the superb form of goalkeeper Filip Kurto, but it was poetic that former Melbourne Heart striker David Williams scored the winner.

    And if Luke Brattan was fully fit, the decision to leave him on the bench and only make two subsitutions, both of them youngsters, seems quite bizarre.

  • Luke Ivanovic Sydney FC

    Winner: Sydney FC and Luke Ivanovic

    Sydney FC didn't get the three points in the Big Blue but there was plenty to like in the second half of their performance against Melbourne Victory.

    Young attacker Luke Ivanovic shone when he came on to the field to replace Daniel De Silva - providing an exciting outlet down the right hand flank and going within inches of snatching a draw after his shot hit the post.

    Expect to see him get more game time over the next few weeks and maybe even a start if Alex Brosque remains on the sidelines.

    The Sky Blues played one of the best halves of the season in the second period against Victory and have laid a marker for the level they need to perform at to win silverware this campaign.


  • Ernie Merrick

    Loser: Newcastle Jets

    After making the Grand Final last season, Newcastle are currently 11 points adrift of the top six with 11 games to go - a gap that will be very difficult to bridge.

    Ernie Merrick's side scored 57 goals in 27 league games this season, while this campaign they have only managed 15 strikes in 16 matches - which is one less than the Central Coast Mariners.

    The suspension of Roy O'Donovan until round nine hasn't helped but despite creating plenty of chances, the Jets have been horrific in front of goal and their lack of cutting edge has ruined their campaign.

    Marquee signing Jair has been a complete bust, scoring one goal in 14 matches - but is this a surprise considering he failed to score in 13 Chinese second division games last season?