A-League Rev-Up: Goal shy Newcastle Jets run into Sydney FC road train

Ernie Merrick Newcastle Jets
Who is the last team you want to face when you are bottom of the A-League table?

Newcastle Jets enjoyed an extraordinary season last term, playing swashbuckling football on their way to an A-League grand final appearance.

But after three rounds, Ernie Merrick's side are sitting in last position with the equal least amount of goals in the competition - and it doesn't get any easier as they welcome Sydney FC to the Hunter.

Round four also sees Perth Glory given another opportunity to put forward their title credentials, while it's time for Melbourne Victory to shine after an indifferent start.

Where are the goals coming from for Newcastle?

Ernie Merrick Newcastle Jets

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Make no mistake, Newcastle Jets are in a mini crisis despite it being only three games into the A-League season.

While Merrick's boys are still playing the attacking attractive football that we came to admire last campaign, where are all the goals?

The Jets have only scored twice in three games, with a late Dimi Petratos consolation against Wellington and a slick strike from Ronald Vargas versus Adelaide United.

Their number one centre forward Roy O'Donovan still has five matches left of a 10-game ban for his dangerous conduct on Melbourne Victory's Lawrence Thomas during last year's Grand Final.

Replacement Jason Hoffman has only recently been converted back into being an attacker, after playing as a full back for a number of years, and has only scored six goals in his last 63 A-League appearances.

Brazilian attacking import Jair showed improvement against Victory but he faded as the game went on, and it must be noted he failed to score in 13 appearances for Chinese second division side Yanbian Funde earlier this year.

It's a worrying situation for the Jets, who welcome Steve Corica's Sydney FC to the McDonald Jones stadium on Saturday night in the round's blockbuster.

Newcastle won't get an easy time from the Sky Blues' brutal, experienced defence led by Alex Wilkinson and Jop van der Linden.

This columnist has a feeling we will continue to discuss the Jets plight negatively in the coming weeks.

Perth Glory to prove they are the real deal

Andy Keogh Perth Glory

What better way than to really announce yourselves as title contenders than a victory away from home over the FFA Cup champions.

Perth Glory have the opportunity to do as such in the match against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Despite a disappointing home draw against Wanderers in the opening round, Perth have been ultra impressive in getting a win on the road against Melbourne Victory and at home versus Brisbane Roar.

A victory against the Reds will keep the Glory at least equal top of the A-League table with Sydney FC, and mean they have beaten three teams likely to finish in the finals positions in the opening four rounds - including two of those matches on the road.

Tony Popovic even has the luxury of rolling out Socceroos 2014 World Cup defender Matthew Spiranovic after the suspension to Tomislav Mrcela following his send off against Roar.

The attacking combination between Andy Keogh and Chris Ikonomidis has been scary good so far, with defences unable to handle their movement and link-up.

One final scary thought is that we haven't even seen anything of former Johnny Warren medallist Diego Castro because of injury, while supersub Brendon Santalab and teenage prodigy Jacob Italiano have also yet to figure.

Perth have the deepest squad in the A-League and while we can't commit just yet to them being bona fide title challengers because of their past A-League history, a win against Adelaide on the road will establish their strength.

Will the real Melbourne Victory please stand up?

Kevin Muscat

It's been a mixed start to the season for Melbourne Victory, who have played well in patches of all their games so far, but have also been horrifically bad at times in each match also.

From horrible defensive lapses to allow Riley McGree's winner in the derby and all three of Perth's goals in the loss at AAMI Park, to looking void of attacking ideas against the Jets in the first half.

It's easy to see why Melbourne Victory only have one win and sit in seventh position on the A-League table - and haven't looked anywhere near the team we thought they would be

The absence of star striker Ola Toivonen and back-up Kenny Athiu hasn't helped the situation but it has highlighted the lack of attacking depth on Victory's list.

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If they play the football we saw in the first half against City and second halves versus Perth and Newcastle, Victory are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Keisuke Honda has settled nice on the right side of central midfield but it may take a while until the team gels with their new players and fresh formation.

A match at home against Central Coast Mariners should be easy fodder for the competition heavyweight, but Victory have only won 2 of their last 5 games against the Gosford side, who will be keen to bounce back after being thrashed at home by Adelaide.