A-LEAGUE ELIMINATION FINALS
BRISBANE ROAR V WESTERN SYDNEY
A cracking match here in Brisbane when the Roar look to continue their solid recent record against WSW. They've only lost once in their past five matches against their Western Sydney counterparts and having the home crowd at Suncorp will boost their chances dramatically. Western Sydney themselves are on a six game unbeaten streak, defeating the likes of Melbourne City and Wellington Phoenix on the way. They have really played themselves into form at the right time of year and they cannot be dismissed in this match, especially when Roar have shown they can concede significantly themselves.
More than a few eyes will be on Jamie Maclaren for this one. He bagged a goal against the Phoenix and was instrumental in their comeback and eventual 4-3 win. There are rumours aplenty being spread about his future and if things don't go to plan for the Roar, then this might be the last time the fans see him in an orange jersey. He has to be commended for equalling Berisha for top goalscorer this year with a superb last few games getting him to 19 goals.
I'm with the Roar on this one but I don't think they'll get everything their way. Western Sydney rested a few players last week, eight to be exact, with one eye seemingly on this finals match. All they need is an early goal and then they'll attempt to shut up shop. A great game in store.
MELBOURNE CITY V PERTH GLORY
There were plenty of surprised spectators at the debacle that both of these defences produced last week. A nine goal thriller which saw Perth winning 4-1 with just over ten minutes to go, only for the match to end 5-4 in their favour after some disgusting defending and comical efforts from Perth keeper Liam Reddy. He may have been able to manage a smile on his face after trying to be the Australian version of Chilavert and getting caught out, but that lapse in concentration puts extreme doubt on the mindset of the Glory. Kenny Lowe would've been happy to get the win but I'm sure he's now asking serious questions about his sides fitness and mental stability.
The tables now turn and Melbourne City now get the chance to entertain their fans with the home advantage. I think the home advantage is a massive plus come finals time and although they conceded five, they still managed to score four away from home, which is an effort in itself. They also bossed possession for the match, recording a massive 61.7% for the match. If they can replicate that number at home, they should be winning this.
Tim Cahill played extremely well and bagged a double to take his tally in his debut season to 11, a fantastic return from a marquee signing who isn't a striker. Then the performance of Bruno Fornaroli didn't go unnoticed, he was carrying a niggling injury from an incident that took place earlier in the match and still managed to play a huge game in which he struck the post on a number of occasions. A stellar performance in testing conditions for the Argentine
As mentioned, I really like City here. They were by far the better and fitter team last week and even though they went down, I feel as if they will improve significantly again with the backing of the home crowd.
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final -5 5 -100% Finals Week Two +23 10 230% Finals Week One -10 10 -100% Week Twenty-Six -6.65 15 -44% Week Twenty-Five +12.9 22 59% Week Twenty-Four -2.5 14 -18% Week Twenty-Three +15.83 19 83% Week Twenty-Two -11.25 18 -63% Week Twenty-One -1.79 16 -11% Week Twenty +2.24 16 14% Week Nineteen +20 11 182% Week Eighteen +12.16 11 111% Week Seventeen -5.88 15 -39% Week Sixteen -2.5 11 -23% Week Fifteen -15 15 -100% Week Fourteen +0.93 17 4% Week Thirteen +5.5 13 42% Week Twelve +3.05 18 17% Week Eleven -7.18 13 -55% Week Ten -2.07 18 -12% Week Nine +0.51 15 3% Week Eight -20 20 -100% Week Seven -3.22 16 -20% Week Six +10.2 14 73% Week Five -16 16 -100% Week Four -0.27 15 -2% Week Three -4.6 13 -35% Week Two -0.70 12 -6% Week One +1.05 12 9% Total -7.24 420 -2%