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A-League Rev-Up: Two derbies that two teams can't afford to lose

6:55 AM GMT+8 21/12/2018
Joyce/Mulvey
Derby delight is a must for two sides struggling on or off the pitch

Games don't come much bigger than a derby and the A-League is kind enough to put two under our Christmas tree this week.

First up is a Melbourne derby which will see City's active support group retire and you can rest assured an in-form Victory won't be sending them off warmly. 

A day later, a winless Central Coast Mariners host Newcastle Jets and another heavy F3 derby defeat could plunge Mike Mulvey's men further into crisis.

Derbies aside, Glory will look to consolidate their spot atop the A-League summit against a Sydney FC side with an unbelievable record against them.

Get revved up - Round Nine looks to be one great Christmas gift...


City must deliver for fans in Melbourne derby


After years of trying to drum up support for a club that's failed to truly connect with fans, the Melburnians have decided to cease their active support for City after the derby on Saturday. 

It's a big blow for the club off the pitch with City's home crowds in decline and showing no sign of recovering.

With Western Melbourne to be added to the A-League next season, City's job of convincing fans to stick by or indeed join their cause will only get harder.

Having edged Victory 2-1 to start the season, Warren Joyce's men must deliver on the pitch again if they're any hope of avoiding further pain in the stands.

Despite dwindling crowds and the continued drama of Bruno Fornaroli's omission, City have been finding ways to win this season and sit fourth on the ladder but face a huge challenge against Victory.

After a slow start, Kevin Muscat's side have now won six straight games with the whole squad playing some scintillating football.

Marquee men Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen have settled brilliantly, bringing the rest of the squad up to a higher level in the process.

With City's fan base now on the brink, Victory could well put a nail in their coffin on Saturday - something they'll no doubt take extra pleasure in doing. 


Jets out to drown the Mariners


Another derby with dire consequences for the loser looms on Sunday as the Mariners look to find a lifeline against Newcastle.

Mike Mulvey's men have made the worst ever start to an A-League season and the Jets will be keen to rub further salt into their wounds.

Bolstered by the return of striker Roy O'Donovan, who scored five goals against the Mariners alone last season, Newcastle will be strong favourites to inflict more pain upon Central Coast.

Having lost all three F3 derbies last season, conceding 15 goals in the process, the Mariners must find a way to turn the derby tables and need to first rediscover their winning mentality.

Should they fail to claim three points on Sunday, Central Coast will have won just one of their past 27 A-League matches - that's one victory across a season's worth of games.

For a club with such a strong history, the times are beyond tough for the Mainers right now and a derby defeat will only sink them even further. 


Can Sydney knock Perth off their perch? 


The Tony Popovic revolution at Perth is up and running, but Sydney FC have a rich history of bursting Glory's bubble.

Despite facing 22 shots on the road against Newcastle last week, Perth still managed to keep a clean sheet and claim a 2-0 win as they showed why they are real contenders for silverware this season. 

Sydney FC meanwhile have shown one or two cracks under their new coach, yet still sit third and arrive in Western Australia after another Sydney derby win. 

The Sky Blues dominance of the Wanderers is only matched by that of the Glory - who they've beaten in their past nine A-League games. 

It's an incredible streak that's come over Sydney's golden period - a time that could well be coming to an end based on early season performances.

An FFA Cup final loss and defeat to Wellington Phoenix at home suggests the Sky Blues aren't set for such smooth sailing this season and Popovic will no doubt be desperate to further rock the boat by ending Glory's horrible record against them.