Hyundai A-League: talking points R.5

Paul Okon celebrates his first win as Mariners boss with fullback Storm Roux.

With another hotly contested Big Blue, a cracker in the West and wins for Phoenix and Mariners there was plenty to ponder after Round 5 in the Hyundai A-League.

Arnie has Musky’s measure?

Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold has done it all in the Hyundai A-League but – until Saturday night – had never got the better of Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat in seven previous attempts.

And for more than an hour it looked like that would remain the case until Arnie threw on David Carney, who proceeded to turn the game on its head with a brilliant brace.

 

It’s another big scalp chalked off for Arnold and his all-conquering side.

Who can stop Sydney FC, who have now won five from five and moved five points clear at the top after just five rounds?

Next, Sydney FC meet Perth Glory on Sunday at Allianz.

And speaking of the Glory boys…

Glory days back in Perth?

Perth Glory have a proud 20-year history.

They started life as an NSL club. And back then, the purple shirts became the biggest club in the league, frequently drawing crowds of up to 15,000 for regular season games with games becoming more than just a game, but an event in Perth.

And how about this for a stat.

Is Paul Okon the half-time talk King? OK, the Mariners haven’t set league alight, just yet. But their new boss Paul Okon surely has the half-time Midas touch. Down three goals to nil in Perth, he inspired them to a thrilling 3-3 draw in Round 1. And this weekend, 1-0 down to the reigning champions at the break, Okon was at his best again, as the Mariners stormed home, coming back to win it 2-1. Great work, Paulo Jnr!

Brown and Hingert the best full back duo in the league? They’ve been in the Hyundai A-League for a couple of years now but Brisbane Roar’s fullbacks Jack Hingert and Corey Brown have come of age at the start of the 2016/17 Season. Their stunning performances to nullify the threat of Bruce Kamau and Fernando Brandan on Friday night showed just how much the pair has matured under John Aloisi. Not only did they handle their defensive duties with aplomb, but they showed tremendous endurance to get forward at will for the entire 90 minutes.

And while we’re on Roar, their defensive plan against City was breathtakingly effective, showing perfectly to the rest of the league how to stop Bruno, Timmy and Co. Have Phoenix found the right formula? Ok, it was only one win but there was a lot to like about Wellington’s performance in getting off the mark for the season by beating Newcastle Jets on Saturday. Coach Ernie Merrick left Roly Bonevacia on the bench and bolstered the midfield with former Sunderland player Alex Rodriguez, while Gui Finkler played more in his preferred ‘10’ role.

Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses had their best games in Phoenix colours while Roy Krishna showed his quality with a first-half brace. It’s a base for Wellington to build on now but can they keep it going without their All Whites against the Mariners in Canberra next weekend? Great round for ex Victory strikers Not a great weekend for the Big V in Sydney, and to add salt into the Big Blue wounds, a few of their former strikers stood out for rival clubs.

Kosta Barbarouses was pivotal in Phoenix’s first win on Saturday in Wellington and with Gui Finkler it was a good day for the former Victory duo. Then 24 hours later Connor Pain was the hero in Adelaide icing a fabulous performance with a stunning winner for the Mariners.

Football Federation Australia

 

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