Massive consequences in Round 10 of the A-League could make it one of the best weekends on record


No matter what we may have learnt or decided about the A-League Men’s across the opening three months of the season, Round 10 looms as the most instructive thus far and potentially one of the best the competition has ever seen.

With a third of the season done, the league is starting to make a little more sense in terms of the exactly who the contenders and the pretenders are.

As usual, the competition has been mostly unpredictable across the opening nine weeks of play, yet the predictability curve appears to be flattening somewhat, as teams begin to prove their credentials or limitations on a more regular basis.

Round 10 looms as the most instructive thus far, with six matches across five days that look the juiciest of match-ups on paper, with massive ramifications for the winners and losers of each.

Brisbane Roar has taken just a point from Melbourne City in its last five attempts, and the team heads to Melbourne off the back of a poor loss against the Mariners last time out.

(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

City have played in fits and starts thus far, yet are unbeaten in the league since November 25 and threatening to leapfrog a few teams and land back in the top six.

It is a brilliant clash in waiting, with the winner comfortable with their work thus far in the season and the loser looking a little shaky.

There is everything to play for on Friday night when the Joe Lolley inspired Sydney FC host ladder leading Wellington in the harbour city, with a statement win for the visitors potentially making them early favourites for the championship.

Despite only cleaning up the team sitting at the foot of the ladder last time out, Ufuk Talay’s Sydney team did the business against Western United and looked as good as they have all season.

Wellington’s win over Western Sydney seemed to prove they will be somewhere in the mix come season’s end. A Phoenix win puts Sydney in a precarious position and a Sky Blue triumph would have them nudging the bottom of the top six.

It is a massive game that deserves a brilliant crowd and atmosphere.

The stakes are just as high when Newcastle Jets and Western United meet on Saturday afternoon, with the loser starting to lose touch with sixth and needing a stellar run through the middle of the season to get back into contention.

A United loss would see them mired to the foot of the ladder, yet the Jets could join them in twelfth or eleventh with a poor performance, depending on the result achieved by Perth in Gosford.

Alen Stajcic’s men did it the hard way against Macarthur last week and need to rein in the flood of goals being scored against them.

However, the three points were crucial and two wins and two draws from nine matches is far from a disgraceful start to the season.

The Mariners are increasingly looking like the team that held the trophy aloft last season on the final day; Marco Tulio looking like one of the most talented international players the competition has ever seen.

Unbeaten in the league since November 12, the points are coming for Mark Jackson’s men and another set of three on Sunday night against the Glory should see them in the top six and looming as a team capable of beating anyone on a given day.

Three points for Perth and the Glory fans will be buzzing, with the opposite result making the westerners’ life difficult and continuing Central Coast’s rise from the ashes.

Played around the same time on Sunday, Melbourne Victory and Adelaide recommence the original rivalry in what usually turns into one of the most spiteful matches of the season.

Victory are still yet to lose in the league, whereas Adelaide have failed to provide the consistency required, winning four and losing four across the opening nine rounds.

It looks like an absolute belter, with Phoenix’s competition lead lengthened by a Reds win and Adelaide in some real trouble and potentially out of the top six with a loss.

The final match of the round sees the Wanderers host Macarthur in Sydney’s newest derby that could well grow into something special.

Western Sydney stumbled again last weekend and have lost two of their last three matches, admittedly, against quality teams in the form of Wellington and Victory.

Macarthur find themselves in a similar position, with two straight losses dropping them to fourth after an unbeaten seven game run to open the campaign.

This one has desperation written all over it and the loser will be close to free-fall, with the winner back with their heads above water in the short term.

Marcus Younis (L) celebrates a goal with Lachlan Brooke. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

What a set of matches, what a round and what a myriad of consequences for the teams no matter which end of the result they fall.

Enjoy the football, this is simply as good as a round of A-League play will ever get.

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