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A-League: five things to look out for in the coming week

Perth’s tough schedule, everyone’s preparing for the break, Sydney desperate to turn around, City on the rise, and the teams with something to play for

No one has a tougher start to the new year than competition pace-setters Perth Glory — and that will dovetail nicely with their motivational us-against-the-world mindset. On Friday night in Geelong, to complete Round 13, Perth face an almost full-strength Melbourne Victory (the injured Daniel Georgievski and Mark Milligan, both on Socceroos’ duty, are the most notable absentees), who’ll be looking both to close the four-point gap between them and to make a point. The point being? To hazard a guess — and this despite Kevin Muscat’s efforts to exert pressure on Perth by declaring them the league’s best team — it would be this: “We don’t just play prettier football, we’re better too.” Then, on Monday night, back at home, Perth take on Adelaide in Round 14. Given the Reds’ bout of inconsistency that has seen them lose four of their past six matches, Victory would appear to be the tougher match, but then Glory haven’t beaten Josep Gombau’s team in four matches this season (including two pre-season friendlies, one league match and that FFA Cup decider). Indeed, Adelaide are the only side to defeat the Glory this campaign; registering a 2-0 win at Coopers Stadium back in Round 3. Kenny Lowe told the Guardian that losses aren’t as bad as all that “because there’s things in that experience that you can actually analyse and understand to help make yourself become even better.” Well, Monday night will show how well Perth have been paying attention.

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