Midfielder Brandon O’Neill expects Sydney FC’s opponents will turn matches against the Sky Blues into a "dogfight" for the remainder of the season, as teams look for a way to end their astonishing unbeaten run.
The Sky Blues have been head and shoulders above the rest of the Hyundai A-League in the 2016/17 Season, 11 points clear and still unbeaten after 17 rounds.
While they have blown many opposition sides away with their relentless pressing game and ruthless attack, Graham Arnold’s troops have also had to battle when need be.
Last week’s Australia Day Big Blue against Melbourne Victory was the prime example of that, weathering the early storm before finishing over the top of the Big V.
It’s a scenario O’Neill is predicting will occur for the remainder of the campaign, starting with the trip to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night against Brisbane Roar.
“I think that will be a ploy from here on out going into the last 10 games of the season, teams will try to make it a dogfight for us,” the 22-year-old told reporters on Thursday.
“But we’re a very good footballing side and have players that can change the game in the blink of an eye.
“As long as we go into games knowing there will be a dogfight, be ready for it and be physical enough, then our football will do the talking and we’ll get on top of them.
“Melbourne Victory and Brisbane are similar in that regard because they make sure you have to earn your three points.
“They are both very physical sides and they like to press and try to be bad boys in a sense. If we can weather that in the first 10-15 minutes like we did against Victory then I have no doubt we’ll go out and get the three points.”
The Sky Blues came from a goal down to beat Victory last week, the fourth time this season they have come-from-behind to get a result.
“It’s the sign of a good team and the sign of a championship-winning team when we’re able to do that,” O’Neill said.
The trip to Suncorp isn’t one that has brought a lot of success for Sydney FC over the history of the Hyundai A-League, winning just three of 18 clashes at the venue.
Roar has also hit a bit of form, winning their last three matches in a row, including the 6-0 ACL rout of Global FC on Tuesday night.
Playmaker Brett Holman hopes the side can now make the most of the momentum heading towards the Hyundai A-League Finals Series.
“It’s about getting on a roll and that winning mentality. Once you go on these sorts of runs, the key is to keep them going,” Holman said.
“If we can do that then we’ll have a good run into the back-end of the season as well.
“While we’re probably too far away from Sydney in terms of points, given Melbourne Victory and City dropped last week as well, it’s a really important weekend.
“If we can get one up against Sydney then it puts us in good position leading into the end of the year.”