A-League Rev-Up: A killer Sydney derby

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A derby worth dying for awaits on the weekend

It may have become a one-sided affair of late, but the pain of a Sydney derby defeat remains as real as ever for Western Sydney Wanderers, who are out to end a two-year drought in the fixture.

Elsewhere in Round 25, Melbourne Victory must put a tough week behind them, while Perth Glory could all but wrap up the Premiers' Plate by ending Newcastle Jets' top-six hopes. 

Get revved-up, a huge round of A-League awaits...


A killer Sydney derby


Western Sydney Wanderers

Though Western Sydney Wanderers have become all too familiar with a Sydney derby defeat, that doesn't mean the players have become used to the pain.    

"It kills you," Bridge told SMH on Wednesday.

"It doesn't matter where you are on the table, losing to them hurts the most. 

"Nothing is ever going to make the fans forget the last couple of seasons, but finishing off the last derby of this season with a win will help us in terms of getting back on track."

The Wanderers have lost the past five Sydney derbies in the A-League to a margin of 16-2 with their last win dating back to February 18, 2017.

Now could be the time for Western Sydney to end that drought however considering the Sky Blues will be playing their third game in seven days. 

Sydney FC hosted Victory at the SCG last Saturday before facing off against Shanghai SIPG on Wednesday. 

The clash, which ended 3-3, saw left-back Michael Zullo injured and will leave Steve Corica's back-line further stretched and primed for the Wanderers to take advantage. 

Western Sydney have scored 10 goals across their past four games with the summer arrivals of attackers Mitchell Duke and Kwame Yeboah potentially just what they need to claim a long-awaited derby win. 


Victory must bounce back against Mariners


Kevin Muscat Melbourne Victory

It's been a testing week for Kevin Muscat's men, who after falling to a late Big Blue defeat, travelled to China and were thumped 4-0 by Guangzhou Evergrande.

Those results leave Victory's hopes of a top-two A-League finish and progression to the Asian Champions League knockout stages both hanging by a thread. 

While Sydney FC must slip-up in the final three games if Muscat's side are to finish second, they can keep up the pressure on their rivals with a convincing win on Sunday against Central Coast Mariners.

The A-League cellar dwellers haven't beaten Victory since 2013 in the competition and have lost their past three games against them. 

That run means Muscat is yet to lose to the Mariners - the only A-League side he hasn't tasted defeat against. 

Though winning their first game under Alen Stajcic, Central Coast have lost their past two games without scoring and it's hard to see them being anything but a springboard for Victory.  


Perth have Premiers' Plate in their sights


Perth Glory Andy Keogh

Should Sydney FC fail to beat the Wanderers, Perth Glory can clinch the Premiers' Plate on Sunday against Newcastle Jets with a win or a draw.

Even if the Sky Blues do claim three points, Tony Popovic's men must simply do the same to also all but wrap up the title.

Those results would leave Glory six points clear of Sydney with two games remaining and Perth's superior goal difference makes it a gap near impossible to close.

These hypotheticals won't be on Popovic's mind however as he simply looks to crash the Jets' very slim finals hopes with victory.

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Newcastle must win to keep their mathematically remote top-six chances alive and it's a result Ernie Merrick will have his work cut out producing. 

The Jets have lost their past three games against Glory without scoring a goal, while Perth have found the net on 16 straight occasions against Newcastle. 

That history leaves Popovic's side in pole position to claim a three points which could also hand them their first ever Premiers' Plate. 

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