The Big Five Questions | Round 18

Sydney FC are starting to resemble a Will Ferrell movie, and we mean that in a good way, but the big question might just be can Brisbane keep their heads?

Sydney FC are starting to resemble a Will Ferrell movie, and we mean that in a good way, but the big question might just be can Brisbane keep their heads?

Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United: Can the Reds fire away? We-re big fans of what John Kosmina has done with the Reds in the last 12 months, they are no longer a rabble, no longer easybeats and Eugene Galekovic doesn-t look like he wants to massacre half his teammates 24/7, but while Kossie has got them to play good football at Hindmarsh, they are about as effective on the road as a baby possum.

You get where we are going with this, when on the road the Reds are getting squashed of late. They haven-t won on the road since they beat a then shocking Sydney FC in Round Eight and now they travel to take on a team who are unbeaten at home this season. It doesn-t augur well for them, especially if Dario Vidosic is out and this match is a real six-pointer.

The Reds are three points behind the Mariners in the race for the Premier-s Plate, they need a win to get on level terms, but the question remains can they?

As for the Mariners, well just like last year the January transfer window has hit them hard. Last time out they lost Matt Simon, this time Tom Rogic has gone and Bernie Ibini has been away in Belgium.

The end result, the goals have been drying up at Gosford and although Daniel McBreen is obviously capable of slotting the chances when they are presented, those chances are being presented a lot less often, with Michael McGlinchey becoming the man most likely and his strike partners lacking speed.

The latter of those problems may be rectified this weekend with Ibini returning to the fold and Nick Fitzgerald enjoying a return to the Mariners.

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory: Have Sydney turned the corner? Comeback stories are great and somehow the Sky Blue juggernaut has become the underdog this year, it-s kind of like watching any Will Ferrell sports movie; Talladega Nights, Blades of Glory… take your pick - Sydney have gone from the dominant bad boy to the blundering underdog, written off by all and sundry.

So much like Ricky Bobby or Chaz Michael Michaels they have been forced to snap out of their funk and come good.

Sure, it took a blow up of gargantuan proportions along the way (Ali Abbas and Alessandro Del Piero take a bow), much like the one between Ferrell and Jon Heder in Blades of Glory, but the end result has been the same, a rapid rise back to prominence.

Now Melbourne Heart and Wellington Phoenix are hardly of the same calibre as Melbourne Victory and Sydney certainly face a sterner test this weekend, but after banging in seven goals against the Nix their confidence must be high and they should look to go into Melbourne on Australia Day with plenty of swagger.

That the Victory will serve it up, we have no doubt, but Sydney might just be ready to give as good as they get and much like Ferrell himself grab the moment when it presents itself and take the ending filled with glory.

Wanderers FC v Melbourne Heart: Heart or heartless? If nothing else we know this much, the Wanderers will be the Wanderers, they-ll go on to the pitch and do their thing. They will be consummate. They will be resolute. And when the opportunity presents they will attack.

As for Melbourne Heart, well they-re Forrest Gump-s never-ending box of chocolates, “you never know what you-re gonna get.”

Sublime one week terrible the next, they left such a stench at Allianz Arena after their loss to Sydney FC that the place smelled worse than Homebush during the 46 degree Big Day Out, but then they took on Adelaide at home and put on a footballing masterclass.

John Aloisi has a thick, lush head of hair put he must be pulling it out on a fortnightly basis.

Thankfully what he does have now is a returning Eli Babalj, the Socceroo has plenty of talent and a nose for goal, but what he also may have and needs a whole lot more is the influence of one Vincenzo Grella in the midfield.

From all reports the former Socceroos enforcer isn-t far away and if he can be fit and firing he might just be what Heart need to get their flimsy defence in order.

Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar: Can the Roar keep it together? The honeymoon is over people and the Roar are suffering.

The players are sniping at each other; Mitch Nichols take a deep long bow, because you told Thomas Broich last week, while other players are having what seems to be one long-solid crack at match officials every time something doesn-t go their way.

And for the longest time it hasn-t been going their way. Every week it seems the Roar become that little bit more unhinged as they go chasing games, a reaction so far removed from the calm patient side of the last two years that despite many of the players being the same the mannerisms and results are not.

Perth on the other hand are suffering as well, but unlike the Roar they are playing some decent football it just seems that the whole club has walked under about 1000 ladders recently because they can-t catch a break, whether it-s rattling the woodwork several times a game or players getting cards that shouldn-t be given, nothing is going right for Ian Ferguson-s men.

Back to Brisbane though, one can bet a vociferous Perth crowd will get right up them from the get go, because in the west, last season has not been long forgotten and the Roar are as despised as any other team who visit WA. The big question remains, can Brisbane handle it? Or will they simply fall apart?

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets: Is it back to basic for the Phoenix? Wellington have been making plenty of headlines this week but for all the wrong reasons. Although they-re trying to make themselves prettier on the field, it-s just looking uglier and uglier off it.

The question now is, does Ricki Herbert stay the sexy football course and throw this season to the wind - or does he go back to the tried-and-tested pump-it-down-the-channels Phoenix of old in an attempt to clamber back up the ladder?

Judging by the comments of club owner Gareth Morgan, the club seem set on sticking to their new aesthetics, even if it means coming dead last this season - so is this good news or bad news for the Jets?

Newcastle fly into NZ and a Wellington team under siege; Phoenix have played quite well in the opening acts in their recent matches but have struggled to score and faded drastically once they concede.

Gary van Egmond has been using disruption tactics to great effect in the past few weeks but that-s against teams who are used to controlling the game - will he sit back again and hit Phoenix on the break or go out for an important three away points? The question really is, which side has the cojones to take hold of this one?