Tonight’s Big Blue at Allianz looms as an epic, season-defining meeting. And the sub plots are endless. Here are the latest news and views ahead of this titanic clash.
Runaway leaders for the entire campaign, the rampant Sky Blues can all but wrap up the Premiership with victory over Victory.
But second-placed Big V haven’t given up hope of snatching the silverware and can close the gap to just five points with a win heading into the final five rounds of the season.
Here’s a snapshot of what you need to know and what's been said...
Fight club! Muscat braces for brutal Big Blue
Never one to shy away from a battle, Victory boss Kevin Muscat lit the fuse midweek suggesting Sydney FC will look to turn the contest into a "dog fight".
Sydney FC won both previous clashes this season 2-1 after coming from a goal down with Muscat claiming the Sky Blues’ physical tactics were the catalyst for the victories.
The Big V boss insists his side will stand up to Graham Arnold’s men but called for greater protection for star duo Marco Rojas and James Troisi, who he believes have been unfairly targeted in recent matches.
‘‘Without doubt [Sydney will target them]. They’ve been like that all year,” Muscat told reporters this week.
‘‘The two previous games have just turned into a dogfight against Sydney. Sydney prefer it that way, Sydney want it that way.
‘‘We will go away from home and try to play through that and see where it takes us ...when the players are just being kicked and fouled repetitively something has to be done.’’’
Bitterness after Oz Day Big Blue
Arnie v Muscat? It appears there could be a potential feud simmering between the coaches after a heated exchange in the last Big Blue back in Round 17.
Fox Sports cameras picked up Musky's spray involving Arnie following the final whistle back in January and their friendship has been strained ever since, according to Tom Smithies of the Daily Telegraph's Confidential.
Buijs v Berisha: expect plenty of heat
Victory goal-machine Besart Berisha is up there with the best Hyundai A-League imports we’ve ever seen but reputations don’t mean anything to Sydney FC’s impressive Dutch defender Jordy Buijs.
After joining Graham Arnold’s side in January, Buijs made his debut in the Sky Blues’ 2-1 win over Victory on Australia Day and kept Victory’s Albanian striker quiet in an impressive performance.
The pair engaged in a verbal confrontation early in the clash and Buijs labelled Berisha as "nothing special" after the game when told of his legendary status in the league.
Could this be the beginning of an ongoing rivalry between the two?
Berishas's 100 goals?
The Hyundai A-League’s greatest ever goal-scorer is just two goals away from an historic century and would love nothing more than to crack the milestone against Sydney FC. Interestingly, the Albanian netted his first ever goal in the A-League at Allianz Stadium back in the 2011/12 season playing for Brisbane Roar.
FBK is back!
Victory winger Fahid Ben Khalfallah was left out of Victory’s squad last week amid reports he’s set to be frozen out at the club due to a contractual issue.
The Tunisian has been named in an extended squad this week but it remains to be seen whether the veteran will be sighted in Victory colours again.
Friday, 3 March 2017
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7:50PM (Local) (7:50PM (AEDT))
Referee: Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), SBS VICELAND from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC Radio Melbourne, ABC Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, Crocmedia A-League Live (www.facebook.com/A-leagueLIVERadio), 1116 SEN (Melbourne)
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #SYDvMVC
To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au
Expect a soggy Big Blue with rain expected throughout the day in Sydney. Temperature around kick off forecast to be around 22C.