Feature

Arnold is at the fork in the road - it's the do-or-die derby

The time for rhetoric is over - Sydney FC need to beat Western Sydney Wanderers this weekend or the wheels could well and truly fall off for Graham Arnold.

A-League Rd 14 - Brisbane v Sydney

Source: Getty Images

He has spoken at length this week about working harder than ever, doing his utmost to get the most out of a group of players who have been ponderous and hesitant for much of the season.

Arnold's teams have never been accused of, stylistically, setting the world alight - but traditionally results have been good.

Advertisement
The Central Coast Mariners punched above their weight and his Sydney FC team last season were dragged along by the prolific Marc Janko. 

When Janko's goals dried up, so did Sydney's form and when the big Austrian missed a big chance in the grand final, any hopes Sydney had of winning the toilet seat disappeared into Lawrence Thomas's gloves.

Arnold decided that, because of Janko's ever-lengthening list of international commitments, he could do without his marquee man.

And sadly, Sydney's style has been exposed for what it is - dour, without the cherry on top.

Janko papered over the cracks. Sydney is a fickle fan-base but there is one recipe for certain success - winning. That's what the sprinkle of stardust which Janko provided guaranteed, results, and everyone copped the lack of style on the chin.

But now, attritional football has become losing football.

Sydney were booed off the ground at half-time and full-time of last weekend's loss to Perth Glory.

If the Sky Blues lose the derby and Perth beat Brisbane immediately after, Sydney will be outside the finals places - not good enough for a club of their size and stature. 

This, even before an away trip to play Urawa Reds in the AFC Asian Champions League, an away A-League game at Melbourne Victory, a home ACL match against Guangzhou Evergrande and then another away A-League game against Melbourne City.

Five games in 15 days makes this the biggest fortnight in Sydney's history and a bad result on Saturday could soon snowball into irreversible damage as far as this season is concerned - and put Arnold's long-term position in very grave doubt.

Sydney must be successful, Sydney must play to entertain and Sydney must win.

Arnold now is at the fork in the road - win, and it could just be the tonic to the lethargy, lose, and it could be a very, very slippery slope indeed.


Share
Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Have a story or comment? Contact Us

Watch the FIFA World Cup, Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España, Dakar Rally, World Athletics / ISU Championships (and more) via SBS On Demand – your free live streaming and catch-up service.
Watch nowOn Demand
Follow SBS Sport
3 min read
Published 18 February 2016 at 10:44pm
By Matthew Connellan