An absolute ripper of a Melbourne Derby and some top-drawer performances around the league sparked plenty of talk after a stellar Round 11.
Derby passion fuels football fever in Melbourne
Was this the greatest Melbourne Derby yet? OK, if you're a City fan, maybe you want to forget this one but for the neutral it was breathtaking - and just another reason why derby football in the Hyundai A-League is a huge drawcard. This "Christmas" Melbourne Derby - the second of the season - was on another level of intensity and entertainment. And with Berisha, Cahill, Rojas and Fornaroli, the Melbourne Derby now is at its most alluring right now, with sheer star power and gripping drama fuelling the rivalry and taking it to its greatest ever for quality and showmanship. For the moment, Victory run the town with City having to wait their turn for redemption till Saturday February 4 at Etihad Stadium. Get your tickets now! It might just sell out.
Is Nabbout the most improved player in the A-League?
Still in Melbourne and things didn’t quite work out for Nabbout at Victory a few years back, but after a short stint in Malaysia, the winger is starting to realise his potential in Newcastle. We always knew he had something special (just ask Sydney FC after THAT double in the Big Blue in late 2012) but putting it together consistently was the issue. Not anymore. The 23-year-old has constantly been one of the Jets’ best in the 2016/17 Season, picking up four man-of-the-match awards in eight appearances.
Nabbout was at it again in the win over Adelaide on Friday night, scoring the opener and tormenting their defence with his power, pace and energy.
Can anyone stop the Sky Blues?
Another week, another game without defeat for Sydney FC. And it was a pretty emphatic performance from Graham Arnold’s troops in the West. Despite going behind, the Sky Blues just had too much firepower to run out 4-1 winners.
Their 11 games without defeat is the best-ever start to a season by a club in the Hyundai A-League and the best in the Australian national league in over 20 years. While they have been tested in a few matches, the most pleasing aspect for Sydney FC and their supporters is they have always found an answer when under the pump. And all this with Arnie declaring they are still playing at about 70% capacity. They have last-placed Adelaide next up before a home clash with Brisbane Roar to get past to remain unblemished heading into 2017.
Rojas rules as "Bes" breaks records
The last time the ‘Kiwi Messi’ played in the Hyundai A-League, he won the Johnny Warren Medal.
Just seven games into his return to the competition with Victory, the classy winger is arguably playing even better than that golden 2012/13 Season. Rojas has been directly involved in 12 (six goals, six assists) of Victory’s 22 goals this campaign, including both in their epic 2-1 derby win over Melbourne City on Saturday night. While Berisha leads the golden boot race – and equalled Archie Thompson’s 90 goals record with the winner on Saturday night – Rojas is a match-winner in his own right and Victory’s X-Factor.
Heady days returning to the Hunter?
It’s been six long years since the Jets last played in the Hyundai A-League Finals Series. For a proud football club and region – and one of six clubs to have won the Hyundai A-League title – it’s simply too long between drinks. But Mark Jones’ side is suddenly up to fifth following Friday night’s win over Adelaide and dreaming big. They are playing some exciting football and creating plenty of chances. If they can add a player or two in the January transfer window and start taking their chances (they butchered two one-on-ones in time added on before finally nailing a winner on Friday night) they might just make it.
Fascinating race for Finals Series spots
We’re just over a third of the way through the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season and there’s a logjam forming for key positions on the ladder. While league-leaders Sydney FC have a comfortable seven-point buffer at the top, Brisbane Roar (20), Melbourne Victory (20) and Melbourne City (18) are in a real fight for a spot in the top two. And it’s even tighter just below with Newcastle Jets (12), Perth Glory (12), Western Sydney Wanderers (12), Wellington Phoenix (10) and Central Coast Mariners (9) separated by just three points from fifth to ninth. With a stack of games coming up of the festive period and Summer of Football, we’re set for some cracking matches with plenty at stake in the coming weeks.