It's a tough run home for Sydney, but with Joel Griffiths leading the line, they can make a real impact.
Team: Sydney FC
Current position: Seventh | 27 points
The run home: Perth Glory (a), Central Coast Mariners (h), Melbourne Victory (h), Wanderers FC (a), Brisbane Roar (a)
The question: Are Sydney the sleeping giants?
Until their hiccup against the Hear, Sydney had been looking like they could match it with the big boys of the competition. And while they were far from impressive against John Aloisi-s men we might write that one off as a blip on the radar, we-ll stick with them for now.
It might have taken a couple of coaches, a few major meltdowns on and off the pitch but the Sky Blues are moving in the right direction and have had many of their guns blazing of late.
Del Piero, Griffiths, Emerton and now Neill are all capable and the first two mentioned have been bringing their ‘A- games to the pitch of late, they just need to keep it going and Sydney should stroll into the finals.
Whether they then become a threat depends on just how much they can improve by then, but they will be there.
So, are the sleeping giants of the A-League just waking from a long slumber? You bet!
The big match: Round 25 v Melbourne Victory
The most traditional of rivalries will have some real spice to it this time around. Sydney will be hunting as high a spot on the ladder as they can, while Melbourne will be desperately seeking to catch leaders who may just have skipped too far ahead of them on the ladder.
Add to that the finals are just around the corner and that Sydney might still be stinging from the heroics of Andrew Nabbout the last time the two sides clashed at Allianz and you have a script that writes itself for the Sky Blues to play the hero to a burgeoning base of fans.
The Player: Joel Griffiths - Alessandro Del Piero may well be the man, but without a striker who is capable of finding the net in a prolific manner he looked lost at times. Then along came the man who skipper Terry McFlynn refers to as ‘the missing piece-.
Griffiths has been finding the net with regularity for the better part of a decade and has showed in the limited time he has had on the pitch thus far that his predatory instincts are as sharp as ever. A real striker-s striker, he can score sublime screamers, but it-s his ability to put himself in position for the scrappy finishes that truly sets him apart. If Sydney are to make a real charge he has to fire.
We say: A tough run home but not one the Sky Blues can-t handle. They have been in matches with Victory, Mariners and Wanderers this season and have beaten the latter two before. They can mix it with them and we wouldn-t be surprised to see them take some points from those games. The Sky Blues, believe it or not are finals bound.
Prediction: Fifth 35 points