A-League Rev-Up: A Big Blue bang with the 'crying guy'

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The A-League is back with a very enticing Big Blue

After the lull of a two-week international break, the A-League is back with a big bang as Sydney FC host Melbourne Victory in a mouth-watering fixture on Sunday.

Set to be a sell-out at Jubilee, it's a hard game to go past in Round 5 as two of the league's stronger sides lock horns.

Elsewhere, three teams will be looking find their shooting boots after poor early returns in front of goal, while another club finally wanders home. 


A Big Blue worth crying for


Melbourne Victory Terry Antonis

Their semi-final clash last season produced some almighty fireworks, not to mention Terry Antonis tears, and the first Big Blue of this campaign promises to deliver once again. 

Both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC boast a star recruit in top form - with Keisuke Honda and Adam Le Fondre respectively firing for their sides.

Though Victory have been slow to find their feet this season, Honda has taken to the A-League like a duck to water and his presence alone will add an extra dimension to this Big Blue.

20,000 fans are expected to cram into a sold-out Jubilee Oval as the two A-League heavyweights face off in what stands as an early litmus test for both.

New Victory defender Georg Niedermeier is excited to get his first taste of the fixture and took note of Antonis' tears the last time the two teams clashed.

"I saw the crying guy," Niedermeier said.

"The boys are talking about this game, the Big Blue. Every league has the game with two big rivals fighting each other."

On paper, Victory were deemed strong favourites this season but it's Sydney FC who have started better, though they were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle Jets last time out. 

Le Fondre has been key to the Sky Blues good early form as he scored in his first three A-League appearances. 

Kevin Muscat's side have let in the equal second most goals so far this season and will have their work cut out to silence Sydney FC - who have only lost once to Victory in their last nine encounters.

While the Sky Blues will back themselves to bounce back from last season's Big Blue disappointment, Victory won't be leaving Jubilee without a fight in what stands to be another blockbuster.


Goals a must for misfiring sides


Jason Hoffman Newcastle Jets

Three games without a goal for Wellington Phoenix, while just three goals from four games for Central Coast Mariners and Newcastle Jets.

It might be early in the season, but this A-League trio must find their shooting boots sooner rather than later if they're to avoid disastrous seasons.

The Nix are starring down the barrel of a particularly costly poor campaign with new coach Mark Rudan facing an early challenge in charge.

After overseeing a 2-1 win over the Jets in Round 1, Wellington have since failed to score and picked up just one point in a goalless draw with Brisbane Roar.

Lacking firepower up front, Rudan must hope Roy Krishna can carry the burden this season with the Fijian one goal shy of becoming the club's all-time leading goal scorer. 

For the Mariners, star loanee Ross McCormack hasn't stepped up under Mike Mulvey - with the Scotsman yet to score across four A-League games. 

The Jets meanwhile are counting the cost of Roy O'Donovan's lengthy suspension with Jason Hoffman leading the line and new Brazilian winger Jair yet to fire. 

Ernie Merrick in fact relied on Nick Cowburn scoring his first ever A-League goal in Round 4 to salvage a draw with Sydney FC - not the most encouraging sign for a team built around their attack. 


Wanderers find their way home


Oriol Riera Western Sydney Wanderers

It's taken five games, but the red and black will finally play their first A-League game in Western Sydney this season on Friday night against Newcastle. 

While their Round 4 clash in Mudgee was technically a home game, the Wanderers were made to pay for a lengthy bus trip out there as they let a 2-0 lead slip against Brisbane.

The Jets clash will see new coach Markus Babbel grace Spotless Stadium for the first time with the German excited to finally play an A-League game in Western Sydney. 

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"Really looking forward to it - five months here now and I've never had a home game," Babbel said. 

"This is a great day for me and also the players to play at home and to get a home base."

Now into their third season of splitting homes games between ANZ and Spotless, the Wanderers struggled to make the most of home-ground advantage in their last campaign winning just five of 13 games played on their own soil. 

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