The A-League is back for a frantic month of football action to crown a champion for the 2019-20 season. Wellington Phoenix, Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Western United head to BankWest Stadium for a Saturday night double-header.
History: Played 38: Adelaide 19 V Wellington 9 (10 Draws)
Last meeting: December 1, 2019: Wellington 2 d Adelaide 1 at Coopers Stadium
Final Thoughts: Wellington Phoenix took a big step towards a potential top-two finish with a 2-1 upset of Perth Glory on Wednesday. Gary Hooper and Ulises Davila gave the Phoenix a two-goal lead before hanging on for the three points. It was the ideal bounce-back from an unlucky first-up loss to Sydney FC and now sees Wellington just a point behind Melbourne City with a game in hand.
Sixth-placed Adelaide United returned to the pitch with a 1-0 win over Brisbane on Sunday. Kristian Opseth’s sixth-minute goal was enough to get the Reds – who lost their last four games before the season was interrupted – a crucial victory on the Gold Coast.
Wellington snapped an 11-match winless run against Adelaide with a 2-1 win at Coopers Stadium in the teams’ only clash this season so far. David Ball and Davila scored in quick succession for the Phoenix after Nikola Mileusnic netted the first goal for United.
The Phoenix are the real deal this season and have picked up where they left off in March. United will frustrate them but expect the Kiwi outfit to scrap their way to another vital win.
History: Played 2: Western United 2 V Victory 0
Last meeting: December 8, 2019: Western United 3 d Victory 1 at GMHBA Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Melbourne teams are out of quarantine and two of them square off in the second clash of the Parramatta double-header.
Fallen heavyweights Melbourne Victory probably would have been happy to sit out the season’s finish. Second-last with just five wins and five draws from 21 games, the Victory lost their last two games in March to Sydney and Wellington by three-goal margins. Making matters worse, Ola Toivonen has departed and Robbie Kruse is out injured.
Fledgling Western United were just getting on a roll before the A-League’s hiatus. The fledgling club crushed Central Coast (6-2) and Adelaide (5-1) in their last two games and are right in the finals mix. Mark Rudan’s side is seventh, three points behind Adelaide but with two games in hand.
Western United are already two-from-two against the Victory. The newcomers came from two goals down to win 3-2 in Week 4 at Marvel Stadium, while they powered to a 3-1 success in Week 9 after against conceding first. Besart Berisha scored three goals across the two derbies.
Both sides will be understandably rusty. But the value is clearly in Western United against the depleted, out-of-contention Victory.