How does Western Sydney Wanderers' incredible winning run in the Hyundai A-League compare to their previous winning streak? And can they go on and make it 10 wins on the spin like they did two seasons ago?
The side’s winning streak currently stands at seven in a row ahead of a tricky trip to Perth this weekend.
It is just three short of the all-time record they set themselves back in the club’s debut season in the competition.
In that campaign, Tony Popovic’s side won 10 matches in succession after the New Year on a memorable charge to securing the Premiers’ Plate.
So how does the current side compare to the one that took the league by storm in season 2012-13?
A quick look at the stats suggests they are fairly similar.
On this current run, the Wanderers have scored 14 goals in seven games, conceding a miserly three.
Two seasons ago it was also 14 goals scored in the first seven matches, but with five conceded.
Currently the red and black have won four matches at home and three away.
Back two seasons ago their first seven wins were three at home and four away (overall in that run of 10, it was four games at home and, impressively, six away).
Perhaps the biggest difference comes in the squad Popovic has assembled this time and the style the Wanderers are playing now.
Back in the club’s maiden season, their success was built on a bedrock of solid defence and counter-attacking football. Often they would lose the possession stats but win games by punishing sides and maintaining incredible defensive discipline.
Central defenders Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp, with hard-working and relentless midfielders Mateo Poljak and Iacopo La Rocca just in front, provided a brick wall opposition teams found hard to penetrate.
Topor-Stanley is the only one of that quartet that remains, replaced by a Spanish triumvirate which has helped change the way the Wanderers play.
Defender Alberto Aguilar and midfield duo Andreu and Dimas Delgado have brought a real flair to the Wanderers play and it’s help contribute to some sublime football this season.
Croatian Dino Kresinger led the attack two years ago and while his goal-return was minimal, he worked ever-so-hard for the cause.
Federico Piovaccari is the main striker this season and while he took a while to settle, the goals are starting to flow for the Italian.
The Wanderers seem to have more goal threats this season as well, with Mark Bridge, Mitch Nichols, Romeo Castelen and Dario Vidosic all in strong form.
In 2013, the winning streak began after a 2-0 home loss to Central Coast Mariners on Jan 6 at Wanderland. The team that day was:
Covic, Cole (Caira 80'), Topor-Stanley, Polenz, Mooy, Gibbs, (Haliti 67'), Appiah-Kubi (Elrich 67'), La Rocca, Bridge, Ono, Trifiro (sent off 53').
In 2015, the winning streak began after a Sydney Derby loss at Allianz in round 3 on October 24. The team that night was:
Redmayne, Jamieson, Topor-Stanley, Nichols (Bridge 82'), Castelen (Vidosic 12'), Delgado, Piovaccari, Neville (Hamill 54') Sotirio, Alberto, Andreu
So can this current outfit go on and at least emulate their predecessors?
The Wanderers play their next three matches against sides all currently outside the top six, starting with Glory (away) on Saturday night.
“I said straight after [last week’s] game, we’ll have to be very good to win and if we’re not we won’t win,” Popovic told reporters on Thursday.
“The players are training very well so there’s no complacency amongst the group.
“We look forward to getting over there and seeing if we can maintain this run, keep playing the football we are and keep trying to improve.”
After Glory, they return to Wanderland for back-to-back home games against Newcastle and Adelaide.
The way the Wanderers are playing, you wouldn’t bet against them getting maximum points in all those matches.
“We're going to really punish teams soon,” a bullish Mitch Nichols said on Thursday.
“We probably let a couple of teams off the hook and, hopefully, I can keep chipping in with a few goals.
“…I feel like we can definitely improve in the attacking side. We're creating a lot of chances but, sometimes, our finishing has been letting us down.”