An A-League Big Blue where the losing coach probably gets sacked

It is hard to fathom the general level of disinterest and current lack of appeal of the two combatants, heading into an A-League Big Blue between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC. Yet here we are.

Currently occupying two of the bottom three rungs on the A-League ladder and with just seven wins between them from a staggering 25 matches in 2022/23, the once mighty clubs are floundering in irrelevance, as the season rounds the turn and heads for home.

Without a shadow of a doubt, A-League fans in Adelaide, Queensland, Perth, Wellington and Gosford, as well as those in Sydney and Melbourne partial to other clubs, will be crying ‘boo-hoo’ in mockery at the fall of the once mighty.

In seventeen editions of Australia’s latest version of a national competition, the two clubs have conquered the mountain no less than nine times, with at least one of the two having been involved in ten of the grand finals that have decided the destination of the silverware.


The Victory. Does what it says on the packet. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Now, after being so relevant for so long, both are close to becoming comic value for fans of teams they previously beat up and embarrassed over a lengthy A-League period.

Melbourne Victory occupy 12th spot on the ladder at the time of writing, have scored just eleven times this season and are without a win since December 11, when a late Ben Folami strike earned the points against the Bulls.

Sydney FC also began the post-World Cup period with a win, against Melbourne City no less, before slumping in an awful run of matches where just four point have been accumulated across their last six games. A 2-0 win against the struggling Jets has been their only decent return throughout January.

After a duo of disappointing seasons, things looked to have improved under Victory manager Tony Popovic, as his team marched to second on the ladder in 2021/22, and despite the ultimate disappointment of missing out on the decider, the coach’s second full-year at the helm loomed as a promising one.

Instead, they sit last after 13 rounds and barring a two goal win against Sydney tonight, will most likely remain there for at least another week.

Crazed Victory fans charged onto the field and attacked Melbourne City goal-keeper Tom Glover in late December, marquee Nani has been ruled out for the season and the stacked deck with which Popovic has to work with has failed to fire and gel, week in and week out.

Collectively, it has simply been the season from hell thus far and Popovic has failed dismally in his efforts to right the ship. The top brass at Victory must surely be looking for both answers and reasons as to why Popovic is their man for the feature, with even a late season revival perhaps not being a compelling enough reason to keep him at the helm.

Many Sydney FC fans have been grumbling for two seasons now, convinced that as committed, loyal and passionate as coach Steve Corica is, his days at the club must be numbered, based purely on the lack of points being accumulated by the team.

After eleven losses in 2021/22, as the Sky Blues coughed to eighth on the ladder come season’s end, seven have followed to the mid-point of the current campaign. More alarming is the football being played during those losses, with their 22 goals conceded earning Sydney the title of the second leakiest defence in the league, and their 18 scored meaning very little whilst the breach at the back remains.

Whilst there has been some talk in the media in regards to Corica’s future, talk destined to stay unless the Sky Blues can quickly string a few wins together and re-ignite hopes of an appearance in the finals, little has been made of the Victory slide and the repercussions for Popovic.

The 49-year-old was brought to the club to bring the success for which he was known at Western Sydney and Perth, whilst Corica was appointed by the Sky Blues to continue to work done by Graham Arnold in building a successful and winning culture in Sydney.

Now, Corica looks likely to oversee a second season without finals play and Popovic is at the helm of what appears a sinking and fractured ship. A Big Blue loss for either could well signal the end, with the general pattern of the season potentially confirmed in what looms as one of the most compelling fixtures of the season, despite the lack of meaning behind it in terms of the top six.

It should be a ripper for the neutral, with plenty of fans chuckling away as the managers of two of the A-League’s most famous clubs battle to keep their jobs.

#ALeague #Big #Blue #losing #coach #sacked

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