Who will be kings of Sydney? Will the Phoenix simply invite Adelaide in? And can anyone in the A-League stop the red-hot Danny McBreen?
Who will be kings of Sydney? Will the Phoenix simply invite Adelaide in? And can anyone in the A-League stop the red-hot Danny McBreen? Our editors discuss this week's big issues.
1. Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Heart: Can anyone stop McBreen magic? If someone told us at the start of the season that after ten rounds of action Daniel McBreen would have had a clear lead in the race for the Nike Golden Boot, we would have laughed them out of the building.
It was believed the Mariners would struggle to score goals; enter magical McBreen, a new lease on life and he is a big reason why the Mariners are dominating the competition.
The best thing about him is he scores with limited opportunities; it-s rare to see a McBreen shot off target and he makes the keepers work. His accuracy is deadly this season, meaning he can-t be given a chance.
Heart-s defence hasn-t leaked a goal in their last 180 minutes plus change and they have looked organised at the back, but in the Mariners they will face a searching test - the question is can they handle the triple treat that is McBreen, Tom Rogic and Bernie Ibini?
2. Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets: Can the Jets focus? Let-s be honest both teams are slumping, both need a win, but only one of them has faced intense media speculation in the last week.
All the talk in the lead-up to this one has centred around Jets owner Nathan Tinkler and alleged tax debts and what the future of the Hunter Sports Group is.
Conjecture it may well be, the Jets say they are focussed, but just how focussed can they be? It will take an immense effort from Gary van Egmond to make sure none of his players are thinking of the alleged off-field issues.
Also they have an appalling record in Perth, it might just be set to continue.
3. Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar: Who has learned their lesson? Both teams are coming off a loss, neither one was particularly good either. For the Victory Ange took the blame and for the Roar, well Matt Jurman might just have to own up to the fact he nearly tried to strangle Dino Kresinger.
Regardless of that the last time these two sides met, the Roar delivered their one shining moment of the season, thumping the Victory as the apprentice (Rado Vidosic) bettered his former master in Ange Postecoglou.
Both sides are different now though, the Roar have regressed badly to be equal bottom of the league, while the Victory have come to grips with Ange-s fluid style of football.
The coaches know each other well, so who will give their side the strategic edge?
4. Sydney FC v Wanderers FC: Who can string two together? For all the hype that has surrounded them it-s clear Sydney FC haven-t received a pass mark… yet. The last two weeks have been promising though. Frank Farina is dishing out plenty of tough love and the Sky Blues seem to be responding.
As for the Wanderers, Tony Popovic-s men have been going about their business and flying well under the radar, and amazingly find themselves in fourth on the ladder.
For all their close encounters though stringing two wins together has been tough, and while each team has done it once so far this season, neither has then gone on with it when they did.
The second Sydney Derby is the perfect platform for either side to really launch their season as we head into the middle of the competition. It-s time to get busy and take plenty of points, so who will?
5. Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix: How do the Nix stop the goals? The Reds are a wonderful work in progress, it-s like watching a caterpillar become a beautiful butterfly.
John Kosmina built his side on counter-attacking football when they were plying their trade in the ACL during the off-season; now they are starting to take the game to other teams rather than waiting for it to come to them and are reaping the benefits.
Fabio Ferreira, Evan Kostopoulos, Iain Ramsay, Marcelo Carrusca, Dario Vidosic, Bruce Djite and Jeronimo are all huge attacking threats and are slowly being let off the leash, and they are dominating the league as a result.
Ironically the Phoenix seem to be where the Reds were during the ACL, they are letting the game come to them, the fluidity just isn-t there.
The question is if they let Adelaide attack, can they hold them out? Yes, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante and Tony Lochhead are among the best backs in the league, but there is a lot of pressure that will come down on the Phoenix this weekend if they sit back, inviting Adelaide into the final third could be very dangerous.