A-League Rev-Up: Babbel or bust for woeful Wanderers

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A massive weekend for Western Sydney's German coach

The New Year began in nightmarish fashion for Western Sydney Wanderers and the pressure is starting to mount on Markus Babbel to turn the tide.

Against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, the German coach faces a massive test to keep his side upright and ease unrest amongst the club's own fans.

Elsewhere, things could still get worse for the Mariners, while Warren Joyce looks to continue to prove his side can shine without their star striker.

Though the Asian Cup also kicks off this weekend, the A-League still has plenty to get revved-up about!


Babbel's bubble could burst against Melbourne Victory


Markus Babbel

From a sending off in the Sydney derby to just two wins from 10 games, Markus Babbel's hasn't exactly hit the ground running in the A-League.

While the German has a few valid excuses for the Wanderers poor start to the season, he simply must start delivering as fans start to lose patience.

The players were the target of half-time heckling against Melbourne City and Babbel can expect similar treatment if he can't avoid further embarassment against Victory.

History is well and truly against Western Sydney in this fixture with the club winning just one of their last 15 clashes against Kevin Muscat's side, who have in turn not lost nor conceded a goal against the Wanderers at ANZ Stadium.

Though Keisuke Honda will be missing for Victory, it's hard to see Babbel bringing down Muscat's men in this match, but he must get some sort of reaction out a side that was openly booed last time out.

The Wanderers suffered a 4-0 loss to Victory earlier this season and a similar result at home will certainly burst whatever bubble Babbel's been protected by to date. 


Can Sydney sink Mariners any further?


Matt Simon Central Coast Mariners

New Years Eve once again proved things can in fact still get worse for Central Coast Mariners.

From a broken goal post to a former player accidentally sledging the side on-air, the Mariners are in free fall and keep finding ways to sink even lower.

Without a win in over 300 days and facing a ninth straight defeat this season against Sydney FC on Friday, Mike Mulvey's hair has turned grey quickly since arriving in Gosford and you can't blame him.

Though refusing to give up hope this season, a clash against the Sky Blues does look all but hopeless for Central Coast, who have won just one of their last 13 games against them.

The Mariners will also arrive at Jubilee Stadium staring down the barrel of a fifth straight defeat away from home.

While Paul Okon did mastermind a famous upset of Sydney FC last season, it's hard to see 'Horses' being played anytime soon in Central Coast's changing room.


Joyce and City shining without star striker


Bruno Fornaroli/ Warren Joyce

No Bruno Fornaroli, no problems for Melbourne City and Warren Joyce. 

While Joyce's decision to freeze out his star striker caused many headlines and put fans offside, City have continued to pick up points and more importantly score goals.

Two strikes in three minutes against the Wanderers secured a further three points on Tuesday night and means they've now scored five goals in three games without a recognised striker.

Young gun Lachlan Wales has stepped up in Fornaroli's absence and now has two goals to his name having previously never scored in the A-League. 

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Though City and Joyce will be keen to sign a striker in January, the club can take some solace from how well they've managed on the pitch without one.

While matters off the pitch aren't going so smoothly, City have become a very consistent side under Joyce - with or without star players. 

A clash against a Jets side still finding their feet in goal a perfect chance for Joyce to once again prove his side can succeed without Fornaroli. 

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