Arnold's A-League warning to Wanderers
Their annihilation of Melbourne Victory spoke volumes.
But it was the short, sharp warning Central Coast boss Graham Arnold issued afterwards that has set the scene for what's shaping as the clash of the A-League season next Saturday.
"Our home record is fantastic, so Western Sydney get ready," he said.
The Mariners dismantled Victory 6-2 in Gosford on Saturday night to continue their stellar form at Bluetongue Stadium.
They have yet to be defeated at home this season, posting nine wins and a draw including a 7-2 drubbing of Sydney FC and a 5-0 thrashing of Wellington.
Arnold is confident next weekend will be no different against a rampant Wanderers, who they beat 2-0 in their previous encounter at Parramatta Stadium last month.
Western Sydney temporarily assumed top spot on the ladder after their 1-0 win over Perth earlier on Saturday.
Not that Arnold would know, the coach claiming to be unaware, insisting the thought of the new boys knocking them off the summit after 13 weeks on top had nothing to do with their inspired performance against Victory.
"What was the result?" Arnold asked.
"Were they on top? Well that's probably where they belong," he said smiling, almost baiting the impressive newcomers who continue to reach milestones in their debut season.
Breathing down the Mariners' neck just one point adrift, the Wanderers will face a possibly weary Central Coast side who begin their Asian Champions League (ACL) campaign against Korea's Suwon Bluewings in Gosford on Wednesday.
With five games remaining before the A-League finals series, the Mariners' hectic schedule could really work in the Wanderers' favour.
And things won't get any easier when they reach the playoffs with three ACL clashes in April ahead of the grand final on April 20.
While Arnold was in the mood to be making statements, he also sent a message to Football Federation Australia, who he feels should have pushed the Mariners' clash with the Wanderers to Sunday, giving them more time to recover.
"The draw from FFA's not the best," he said. "It would have been nice to get an extra 24 hours.
"They make it quite difficult to compete in both competitions at a high level.
"But we'll give it our best shot."