• Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold (Getty Images)
It's his explanation for Sydney FC's derby dominance and the reason Graham Arnold's A-League champions are on the verge of another premiership.
26 Feb 2018 - 7:37 AM  UPDATED 26 Feb 2018 - 7:38 AM

"We're better - it's simple," Arnold said.

The Sky Blues were supposed to be there for the taking by Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, supposedly fatigued from a midweek AFC Champions League trip to China and with three forced changes to a rarely-altered starting XI.

"Everyone thinks that all the time at the Wanderers," Arnold said.

"At the end of the day the stats don't lie, and this is a pretty lopsided derby - I think the most lopsided derby in Australian football.

"The Melbourne derby's closer and I think even the F3 derby is closer between the Mariners and Newcastle."

From the last 13 Sydney derbies the Sky Blues have lost just once.

And while the revived Wanderers refused to go quietly, they were ill-equipped to deal with Sydney's moments of quality - an Adrian Mierzejewski brace and a third from Bobo set up exquisitely by Milos Ninkovic - in the 3-1 triumph.

Mierzejewski at the double as Sydney cruise past Wanderers
Sydney FC have maintained their A-League derby superiority, surging from behind to down Western Sydney 3-1.

As it stands, Sydney must win only their next two games to ensure the Premiers' Plate is theirs for a second successive season.

Arnold, the ultimate goal-setter, ticked off target No.1 when his side passed 50 points.

Now on 52, the aim is to claim all 18 still on offer to reach 70 and eclipse last season's points record of 66.

Newcastle will attempt to extinguish that objective this weekend and close the 11-point gap between first and second, having seen off Brisbane Roar 1-0 thanks to Joe Champness's late winner.

Jets deal Roar tough defeat
A late Joseph Champness goal sealed a hard-fought 1-0 A-League victory for the Newcastle Jets over a gallant Brisbane Roar.

Eight points below them a crucial Melbourne derby could bring fourth-placed Victory to the brink of dislodging City in third.

In two most unexpected results, Kevin Muscat's men swept to a 3-0 win over Adelaide United to unseat the Reds in fifth, while Warren Joyce's side blew a one-goal lead to fall 2-1 to Perth Glory.

Kilkenny, Taggart strike late as Perth sink City
Neil Kilkenny came back to haunt his former side and Adam Taggart scored a 97th-minute winner to lift Perth Glory to a 2-1 win over Melbourne City at nib Stadium.

A Victory triumph on Friday night would lift them within a point of their cross-city rivals, an unexpected place given the boos of fans frustrated by three losses on the trot under off-contract coach Muscat.

Including AFC Champions League, Victory were winless in five matches, most recently Tuesday's 4-1 away loss to Shanghai SIPG.

Victory crush 10-man Reds to end winless run
Melbourne Victory are back on the winner's list, easing pressure on coach Kevin Muscat and jumping to fourth on the A-League table with a 3-0 defeat of 10-man Adelaide United.

"Why can't we use the Asian Champions League to our advantage?" Muscat said.

"We speak to the players and say, 'we're getting more conditioning, we're getting more opportunities to try things, we get more of an opportunity to work on how we play and get match-hardened'.

"I thought that held us in good stead (against Adelaide), that opportunity to have those games - against world-class opposition."

On Friday night ninth-placed Central Coast Mariners steered clear of the wooden spoon with a 1-0 win over cellar rock-bottom Wellington Phoenix.

Mariners down spoon favourites Phoenix
Central Coast have snapped an 11-game winless run, defeating Wellington 1-0 to climb - at least briefly - out of the A-League abyss.