One player could make all the difference to the Victory. Unfortunately hamstrings are funny things and Archie needs to be fully fit.
Team: Melbourne Victory
Current position: Fourth | 36 points
The run home: Jets (H), Roar (A), Sydney (A), Glory (H), Phoenix (A)
The question: Can Victory regain their mojo? Just a few weeks ago, Melbourne Victory looked irresistible. Ange Postecoglou-s fluid attacking unit were beguiling every team they came up against, as Archie Thompson, Marcos Flores and Marco Rojas pulled opposition defences apart like a roast chook.
Then things went awry. Archie got injured, Adelaide knocked some of their puff out with a physical challenge and suddenly the confidence cracked. Rojas started getting closed down much quicker and the Wanderers superior organisation and defence put them to the sword. The Mariners opened those wounds even more and left Postecoglou-s side in need of some serious first aid.
Postecoglou will want Thompson and Flores back asap - but needs the Victory defence sorted now. Daniel Mullen was brought in as a quick fix but he and Adrian Leijer have failed to click. Mark Milligan-s usual midfield dominance was severely hampered by a withdrawn Danny McBreen in Gosford, and the game plan was undone.
Victory are still more than capable of going all the way, assuming their attack returns to full strength. But that leaky defence looks to be their undoing this season.
The big match: Round 25 v Sydney FC What a time for the Big Blue! Victory could put the seal on their own season and flush Sydney-s down the toilet at the same time - not that the hosts, desperate to claim a spot in the finals, will let them get away with that easily. We-re already salivating at the prospect of what this match could deliver.
The Player: Archie Thompson The Qantas Socceroo's ability to pull defenders apart and bring his teammates into the game has been sorely missed. Thompson could play some part in the game against Newcastle and Victory need his vitality and experience in the final third. So does Marco Rojas.
We say: Postecoglou-s side-s thrilling attacking capabilities make them a threat for every team but this late collapse serves to remind that this is only the coach-s first season with Victory; he got half a term-s rebuilding grace before Brisbane really took off, so don-t judge him too harshly. This might just not be their season.
Prediction: Third | 48 points