Brisbane Roar VS Newcastle Jet
Despite defeating the Jets twice this year at Hunter Stadium, the Roar has a poor record against them when hosting at Suncorp Stadium. In 13 games at the venue Newcastle have only lost twice, scored 16 goals and conceded just five. The Jets have won their past two on the road but have never won three on the trot in their history. I’m putting history to one side in this clash and am hoping a “full-strength” Roar squad will get an all-important win into the elimination finals weekend but that will be left in the hands of Frans Thijssen.
With seemingly not much to play for both clubs, this game won’t be too attractive for the punters given finals football is off the table. With the messy salary cap saga ruling out any chance at Grand Final “Glory”, away form has been a shining beacon this season and I give the playing group a realistic chance of ending on a positive note despite never winning at Wanderland in five attempts. After an impressive hat trick last week against Melbourne City, the talented young mid-fielder Jamie McLaren will be looking to add another to his impressive eight-goal season tally.
Reds VS City
A win, loss or draw won’t matter to the finals dreams of Melbourne City’s as the club remain cemented to fifth place on the ladder. City will meet their forth placed opponent next weekend, but the focus this week will be on John van’t Schip starting line-up is and whether he favour rotation over a full strength squad. Adelaide need to win well if they are to be feared by other finals bound clubs and need to reverse recent poor form if they hope progress beyond week one of the finals. The five recent match ups between the teams have seen an average of 4.2 goals scored so I’m confident the ‘Over 3.5 goals’ can materialise and entertain the crowd at Coopers Stadium.
Phoenix VS Sydney FC
This is the match of the final round IMO and a win to the Nix will see them finish outright second on the A-League ladder, host a home semi-final with a shot a sport in the Grand Final to come. The Sky Blues need a draw to finish in the top two but have plenty of work to do if they are to dismantle the Victory from grabbing the coveted Premiers Plate. Last time the teams met Wellington were handed a 3-0 drubbing by a Sydney side that could find themselves going through the entire season without registering a loss on the road. The jury is still out on the Phoenix form line so on that alone I’m leaning Sydney’s way to grab the win and secure second spot.
Victory VS Mariner
With the Premiers Plate all but on the mantle piece, the Victory hosts a Mariners outfit that possess nuisance value in the last remaining match of the regular home and away season. Victory have impressed all season as their stats prove, possessing the best attack and defence in the league. Conversely the Mariners have scored less than half of the Victory’s goal tally and are yet to record a solitary win away from the serenity of the “Sauce Bottles” this entire campaign. I can’t see that changing and the Victory are worthy of their very skinny odds in the H2H market.