Sydney FC were the dominant team of the A-League before the COVID-19 shutdown, but can the Premiers Plate winners regain their mojo in the finals?
Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic still rates Sydney FC as the best team in the A-League despite the horror recent run of results from the Premiers Plate winners.
The Sky Blues have been out of sorts since the competition restarted in July.
After beating Phoenix 3-1 in their first game back, Sydney lost three and drew two of their final five games of the regular season.
It's in stark contrast to earlier this season, when Sydney lost just two of their 20 games before the competition was put on hold.
Sydney haven't posted a clean sheet since their 0-0 draw with Glory on March 14, but Popovic won't be fooled by their recent poor form ahead of Wednesday night's semi-final showdown at Bankwest Stadium.
"I see them still as the best team. I disregard really these results and what's happened with them since we've joined the hub," Popovic said.
"The way I see them in this period is they have very good players, outstanding individuals.
"Maybe they haven't won games or games they would have liked to have won, but they are still the same players that won them the Premiers Plate and they are still very good footballers.
"We expect them to be firing for this game."
Glory's form also took a dive after the competition's restart, but they did enough to scrape a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix in last week's elimination final.
Popovic confirmed striker Nicholas D'Agostino (hamstring) would again miss, while defender Alex Grant (ankle) is facing a race against time to prove his fitness.
Sydney will be without full-back Michael Zullo (hamstring) and he's no certainty to return for Sunday's grand final if the team qualifies.
Sky Blues coach Steve Corica believes his team's recent run of poor results hasn't accurately reflected their form.
"The last couple of games obviously the results haven't been great but we have been playing really well," Corica said.
"The amount of chances we created against Western (United), Brisbane as well - very good performances.
"But again, it means nothing - you saw these quarter-finals - it means nothing
"Once you get to a one-off game, anything can happen. You score early, maybe you can defend the game out."
Sydney beat Glory on penalties during last year's grand final in Perth, but Popovic said that result wasn't at the forefront of his players' minds.
STATS THAT MATTER
*Sydney are currently on a five-match winless run. The last time they experienced such a drought in the A-League was an 11-match winless run in 2015/16.
*Sydney have won 12 of their past 14 A-League games against Perth Glory and have defeated them in both of their previous two post-season encounters in the competition.
Sydney striker Kosta Barbarouses has scored six goals in A-League finals games. Only Besart Berisha (10) and Archie Thompson (10) have scored more in the history of the competition.