How the Jets can stop the Sydney FC machine

Newcastle host Sydney FC in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table Hyundai A-League clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night. 

The Sky Blues are chasing more records in a second consecutive season of dominance and already appear to have a mortgage on the Premiers Plate, with Graham Arnold's side 11 points clear at the top. 

So how can the Jets soar over a Sky Blues outfit unbeaten in their last 15 matches in the A-League? We take a look. 


It goes without saying that the longer the Jets can keep the Sky Blues scoreless, the better.

That'll need some tightening up though; nearly two-thirds of the goals Newcastle have conceded this season have come in the first half.

And conceding the first goal doesn't historically end well when you're playing Sydney FC; they've scored first 13 times this season and gone on to win all 13 of those games.

Newcastle need to keep things tight from the first whistle.


Pushing high on Brandon O'Neill and Josh Brillante in the Sydney FC midfield isn't necessarily a productive strategy.

Their first touch is so good and their connections with Adrian Mierzejewski and Milos Ninkovic so strong that it's practically impossible to cut off the supply line.

Instead the pressure needs to go on the two Sydney FC play-makers when they receive the ball.

That task is likely to fall mostly to Steven Ugarkovic and Wayne Brown or Ben Kantarovski (if fit), but also to Daniel Georgievski and Jason Hoffman.

Steven Ugarkovic has a key role to play on Saturday

When the ball is played into their defensive third, the Jets fullbacks need to push inside to help their defensive midfielders snuff out the threat posed by Sydney FC's superb play-makers.


The Jets have done something not even Sydney FC have managed this season - score in every game.

Furthermore, while the Sky Blues' goals have come largely from predictable sources (Bobo and Mierzejewski have 33 of the side's 53 between them), the Jets haven't relied heavily on one or two players.

In fact, no fewer than thirteen players have found the back of the net for the Jets this season, easily the highest number in the Hyundai A-League.

Joey Champness scored in the 2-2 draw with Sydney FC in January

While Roy O'Donovan, Dimi Petratos and Andrew Nabbout are the obvious threats, the fact Ernie Merrick's side can find goals from several seemingly unlikely sources may be a card up their sleeve.