A-League Rev-Up: Are Melbourne City completely cooked?

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The cashed-up franchise face a significant test that will shape the rest of their season

Melbourne City face a crunch match at home after a week of controversy behind the scenes has dominated headlines.

One of the longest domestic away trips in world football awaits Perth Glory as they plan to hold their buffer at the top of the table.

Will we see 'Horses' again in the Central Coast dressing room if they turn Sydney FC's wobble into a stumble?

Round 6 of the A-League is drawing closer...


All eyes on Melbourne City's response


Warren Joyce Melbourne City 2018

Tensions at Melbourne City will come to a head this weekend, once again minus star player Bruno Fornaroli, as an improved Newcastle Jets come to town ready to turn the heat up.

After a week that saw the conflict between coach Warren Joyce and the Uruguayan marquee emerge, Melbourne City's performance in front of their fans on Sunday night will be telling in how the team has responded.

A solid performance and three points against the Jets says that the majority of the players are behind Joyce, but a toothless effort like the one last week against Brisbane Roar will raise questions about whether the coach still has the support of the dressing room.

In addition to falling out with Fornaroli, Joyce has had issues with Luke Brattan and Anthony Caceres  this season, while last campaign he clashed with Tim Cahill, Neil Kilkenny and Bruce Kamau.

It is well known that Joyce is staunchly supported by City Football Group boss Brian Marwood but this alliance could be tested by a potential player revolt.


Could Sydney FC's wobble become a stumble?


Sydney FC

While Sydney FC have had a solid start to the season and sit in third position on the A-League table, coach Steve Corica must be concerned by the mix of the results the team has had since he has been in charge.

The Sky Blues had off days under Graham Arnold, but they nearly always managed to get the job done and runs of poor results were extremely rare.

But this campaign, Sydney FC has only won two of their last six games, with defeats in the FFA Cup final against Adelaide and Big Blue versus Melbourne Victory.

There were also two meek draws away from home against the Reds and Newcastle Jets, and this week's opponents Central Coast Mariners will also be on the road.

The Mariners put in a much improved performance against Perth in their most recent match and will be confident they can take it up to Sydney at their picturesque Gosford venue.

If Mike Mulvey's team manage to get the three points, we hope to see the former Roar boss follow Paul Okon and lead a 'Horses' rendition in the dressing room.

And while it's nowhere near a crisis, if Sydney FC fail to get a result and struggle once more, the pressure will start to rise on Corica.


Impressive Perth Glory face their longest test


Andy Keogh Perth Glory

It was clear that Perth Glory were going to be much improved under Tony Popovic and possibly be a championship contender but few would have thought the West Australians would be sitting four points clear of the chasing pack after five games.

The Glory have won four games in a row in an impressive start to the season that has also included two stoppage time winners from Chris Ikonomidis against Melbourne Victory and Central Coast to underline their title credentials.

While Wellington Phoenix aren't in the best of form, the journey for Glory to the Cake Tin is a round-trip of more than 10,000km - representing one of the biggest tests for Popovic and co.

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Past Perth Glory teams have struggled with the volume of travel they have to undergo during an A-League season and a big win across the ditch would help to climb that mental hurdle early in this campaign.

It will be interesting to see if Popovic rotates his squad with the the master coach not making many changes to his starting XI through the early part of the season.

We could see a first start of the campaign for former Johnny Warren medallist Diego Castro, while Brendon Santalab and Matthew Spiranovic have been added to the squad.

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