Sydney FC developing a hoodoo over Western Sydney Wanderers in A-League Derby

Who run’s this town?: Sydney FC players celebrate with fans after winning the Sydney Derby. Photo: Getty Images Luck only happens so often before it becomes indicative of something broader and as Sydney FC once again clinched a result against a more dominant Western Sydney, it highlighted their mental edge over their rivals. Boasting five wins and a draw over their past games against the Wanderers, the Sky Blues are developing an impressive derby streak. Graham Arnold’s commanding record against Tony Popovic only improved and according to Sydney’s players, they could sense frailty in their rivals despite Western Sydney completely outplaying Sydney. There’s more big game experience in Sydney’s ranks, particularly with their foreigners, which may give them their mental edge but after Saturday’s smash and grab victory, there is undeniably a hoodoo developing.

2. Wanderers are losing faith in marquee. 

For all but 11 minutes of their biggest match of the season, the Wanderers highest paid player sat on the bench as his side struggled to finish a flurry of clear-cut chances. It was the game marquees are brought  to make a difference in, but Federico Piovaccari’s sluggish start to the A-League left him on the bench in the Sydney Derby. The Italian striker scored just two goals in 12 games – both of which were tap-ins – and has rarely looked threatening when on the field. In leaving Piovaccari on the bench until the 79th minute it shows the Wanderers are losing patience.

They’re back: Victory stars Fahid Ben Khalfallah and Besart Berisha still have a say in the A-League title. Photo: Getty Images

3. Don’t rule out the Victory.

What better way to silence your doubters than to put four goals past the league leaders. Melbourne Victory appeared decidedly mortal in recent months. They drew with the Mariners and lost four in a row during a in a winless December. But they are now back on track after their resounding win over Brisbane. On a better day they could have scored more, but  they still fired a major warning to the other top-half teams.

4. Mariners making moves

Central Coast Mariners broke their trend of state-league signings with the capture of former Liverpool winger Luis Garcia. It’s a big moment for them and they should be congratulated for trying to promote not just their club, but also the league. However, it also says a lot about their current state of affairs that a 37-year-old who hasn’t played competitive football since December 2014 is sought to improve things. It follows a week where two of their brightest prospects – Anthony Caceres and Nick Fitzgerald – left the club. Another loss on the weekend keeps them anchored to the bottom of the table, adding pressure for Garcia to deliver.

5.  What’s wrong with football fans? 

It was a strange weekend for supporters. The emergence of the “Cowburn’s Cattle” supporter group in Newcastle raised a few eyebrows, the sight of hundreds of masks protesting against a columnist in Adelaide was another puzzling moment but the most bizarre incident occurred in the Sydney Derby. No, it wasn’t just the surprising emergence of a stolen Sydney FC banner but such contextually inappropriate image when one Wanderers’ supporter raised a confederate flag at the Sydney Derby. It was beyond puzzling seeing that flag waved within the RBB – a supporter group more diverse than a Benetton ad – with absolutely no logical explanation for the display of such an insensitive image.  A symbol of the US Southern Rebellion has no relevancy in Australia and in one of the most multicultural regions on the planet.

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