To kick off the inaugural Star Wars Round, the 'original rivalry' between Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory takes place at Etihad Stadium. Fortunately, this isn't the only derby we'll get to witness over the weekend as the two Sydney clubs will compete for bragging rights of the city. Meanwhile, high-flyers Newcastle look to bounce back against the defenceless Perth Glory in the west on Saturday night.
Not to worry, however, because everything you need to know for Round 10 of the A-League is here in Tribal Football's Talking Points:
Who will use the force in Adelaide on Friday night?
Both sides have been far from convincing up to this point of the season. Adelaide's troubles have come from a lack of ability to find the back of the net, as there has only been one side that has scored less goals than them this campaign. With such trouble converting chances, some have been asking if it's time to turn to someone new to score some goals. A certain Australian free agent springs to mind.
With Socceroo legend Tim Cahill now clubless, there's been plenty of speculation about where he might end up. If he were to stay in the A-League, Adelaide looks as if they would be the best destination. Whether it comes to fruition or not, we'll wait and see. But you'd think they'd at least be making some inquiries.
Interesting fact, Adelaide have won just one match at Etihad Stadium in a decade. Against a shaky Melbourne Victory, this will be their best chance to date to break that horror run.
To keep with the theme, let's hope this match is more of an Empire Strikes Back than a Phantom Menace.
Can Wellington stop the Roar from making another comeback?
Another week has been and gone, but still, Wellington Phoenix remain on the bottom of the table. For a team that has scored the third most goals in the league, with 14 in 8 games, and the third best conversion rate of shots, it seems surprising that they remain dead last. Yet, without a clean sheet this season, and the highest number of goals conceded, Phoenix have announced their weakness loud and proud to the league.
After being up last week 2-0 over a struggling Melbourne Victory side at halftime, Phoenix surely would have felt confident that they had their second win of the season in the bag; but, we all know how that ended up for them - a 3-2 loss at home. This type of comeback against the Phoenix isn't unusual this season, with Brisbane Roar, in round 4, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to scrape a win as well.
This season has shown us so far that, going into this match, Phoenix can lose a strong lead very easily, and Roar are more than capable of making a great comeback. This match will come down to Phoenix's defence and whether or not the team has the mentality to hold on to a lead (if they get one). Both teams have it all to play for, and bottom of the table clashes never disappoint, this will be a game you don't want to miss!
Will loyalties be tested in the ever fiery Sydney derby?
Derbies are the height of any season in any league, any time of the year. While there's still debate as to which derby is the more prominent, this week the two Sydney sides go toe to toe in what will surely be a supercharged encounter.
As if the derby didn't need any extra spice, the Wanderers have thrown in an extremely zealous bid for 3 of Sydney's championship players who are coming off contract at season's end. Fullback Michael Zullo and the stalwart defensive pair of Jordy Buijs and Alex Wilkinson are all on Josep Gombau's radar as he looks to reshape his squad.
So who's copping the kick to the guts here? A bid is a bid, even if it comes from your bitter rivals. Will Sydney give into the demands and let these players leave? If they do, how do they go about business this weekend against someone who could potentially pay their wages next season?
To add insult to injury (or rather, injury to the insult in this case) Milos Ninkovic is still an uncertainty for this week's derby. Doubts cast over his injury means if he plays, he might not be functioning at peak condition. Which makes Sydney a little easier to break down in the middle if he can't pull all the strings. A player like Ninkovic is hard to just replace.
Ah, derby time. Let's hope it lives up to the hype again.
Guaranteed goal-fest in the West?
Newcastle Jets have scored the most goals of any side this season, by far. There is only one side that has conceded more than Perth this season. Uh oh.
Newcastle's impressive performances in front of goal has come out of seemingly nowhere, and Ernie Merrick deserves some major props for what he has done to that side. They are playing with fluency and flair, and look to be mounting a serious title challenge.
Playing the closest thing to PSG football you'll find in Australia's top national league, Newcastle will again be a very difficult side to beat as they travel to Perth's home ground. Their goal scoring form also does not waver away from home, as they have put away ten goals from only four away games.
To get anything out of this game, Perth Glory are going to need to work very hard to plug their defensive holes.
Given I'll probably never get another Star Wars Round I'm going to make the most of it with another reference. If Perth aren't careful, this match could end up looking a little like the battle between Luke and Darth Vader at the end of Episode V. They may be in over their heads for this one. Still, may the force be with them.
Can dysfunctional City pull it together against the Mariners?
What is going on at City? Their football speaks for itself, sitting nicely in the upper echelon of the table and 4 points ahead of the Mariners in 4th. But the politics at City is hardly one of a sound club environment.
In the space of a few weeks, they've fired Michael Valkanis, quickly replaced him with former Socceroo Tony Vidmar, and this week it was sensationally revealed that superstar, marquee, cash cow (you get the idea) Tim Cahill has left the club effective immediately.
It reflects poorly on all parties here, and City have had a tumultuous couple of weeks as a result. They managed to prove me wrong last week and showed their nerves of steel to take a win over the high flying Jets away from home, but how many off the field issues can one club take, week in week out?
On the contrary, it's also the perfect opportunity for the Mariners to take advantage of any psychological frailties at City and boost their own confidence. The win over Sydney has kickstarted their good form, winning 3 of their last 4 matches. A win over talent-packed City would surely have the Mariners thinking of a promising finish at season's end.
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