Five reasons this could be the best Big Blue ever

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory will clash for the 41st time at Allianz Stadium on Friday night and everything is riding on it. The World Game tells why it could turn out to be the greatest Big Blue of them all.

Big Blue

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1. The result means an enormous amount to both teams

Sydney are eight points clear at the top of the table with six rounds to go. Even if they lost to second-placed Victory they would still be red-hot favourites to win the Premier's Plate, but there would be that nagging realisation for them that it wasn't over yet.

A win would create an 11-point break with five rounds to go. Even a supreme optimist would think there wasn't any chance of Sydney being run down from there.


That's all Victory want, to keep it alive. To keep the heat on. Three points from a win, to see if it might lead to a crack in the Sydney wall over the last five rounds heading into the finals.

Victory are nine points clear of third-placed Perth Glory, so even if they lost they would remain at very short odds to finish in the top two. But a win would certainly cease all speculation on that front.

2. Besart Berisha could make history

The Victory striker is having arguably his best season in the A-League and his 17 goals in 21 games have taken him to 98 all-time in the competition.

He is scoring for fun at the moment, with three in his last two games, and very soon he will become the first player in the competition's history to reach the century of goals.

Will it be in this game? Don't discount the possibility, if Victory get on a roll. Berisha is yet to score against the Sky Blues this season, so he would love to get on the sheet here - particularly if it leads to a Victory win.

If he were to get one early, the anticipation among the Victory fans would build. Meanwhile, Sky Blues fans would be left to dread him getting two and perhaps celebrating the achievement with a Victory win.

3. Sydney are chasing a bit of history themselves

Neither team has ever swept the regular-season Big Blues with three wins. Both have gone close, with two wins and a draw, but a 100 per cent record is still to be achieved.

Sydney are in a position to change that. They have won each of the two Big Blues so far this season, 2-1 in Sydney and again 2-1 in Melbourne.

The Sky Blues are favourites to win again at home, but as we all know Big Blues make their own rules.

If Sydney are to complete a clean sweep, it's highly unlikely they will be able to stroll to it. Victory are bound to throw everything at them.

4. Victory are poised to give Sydney the thorough examination they didn't get last week

In the first game after Sydney's unbeaten run this season was finally ended at 19 games, Melbourne City were giving the Sky Blues a real run for their money.

It was 1-1 late in the first half, but then City defender Manny Muscat got his second yellow card and was sent off. Sydney very professionally made their numerical advantage count with two second-half goals for a 3-1 win.

The Sky Blues may think they have now moved on from their unbeaten streak having ended, with no demons left over, and they may be right.

But we don't know for sure how they will react if the possibility of another loss rears its ugly head so soon after their first one. If it's midway through the second half and Victory are leading, it will test Sydney's mettle.

5. The Johnny Warren Medal is up for grabs

Two of the leading contenders for the award as best player in the competition - Sydney's Milos Ninkovic and Victory's Marco Rojas - will be on show.

We're heading into the last few rounds now and who knows how close the voting is between this pair and others in with a chance, including Andrew Nabbout from the Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory's Diego Castro. Victory's Berisha might be storming into the picture as well.

Ninkovic, with eight goals and 10 goal assists, and Rojas (11 and 10) have been consistently excellent all season.

It will be a shock if one or both of them doesn't have a big influence on the way this game pans out.

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4 min read
Published 2 March 2017 at 12:14pm
By Greg Prichard