Get your A-League tips for the penultimate round, headlined by a Thursday blockbuster between Sydney FC and Perth Glory plus two other top-six showdowns.
History: Played 39: Sydney 22 V Perth 9 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 9, 2019: Perth 3 d Sydney 1 at nib Stadium
Final Thoughts: Perth Glory clinched the Premiers Plate with two rounds to go courtesy of a 1-0 win over Newcastle last weekend, with Sydney FC’s 1-1 draw against Wanderers leaving an eight-point gap between the clubs.
But Sydney are still striving for a second-place finish, and have largely been in good form with just one loss in their last seven games. They also played out a 3-3 thriller at home to Shanghai SIPG in last week’s Champions League fixture, perhaps explaining their comparatively flat derby showing.
The Glory still have only two losses against their name this season – but given they were against the Victory and Sydney, the front-runners will be eager to make a statement ahead of the finals. Remarkably, they remain unbeaten on the road, with eight wins and four draws away from Perth.
The Glory ended a nine-match losing streak against the Sky Blues with an emphatic 3-1 success at home in January. But they are aiming to snap a five-game losing run in the rivalry in Sydney. Sydney FC won the teams’ other clash this season 2-1 in Perth in Week 9.
This shapes as a less high-scoring affair with both teams hitting their defensive straps of late. Consider the draw in head-to-head betting.
19:50 (AEST), Fri 19th Apr @ Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
History: Played 46: Victory 26 V Adelaide 10 (10 Draws)
Last meeting: January 9, 2019: Adelaide 2 d Victory 0 at Coopers Stadium
Final Thoughts: Adelaide moved into fourth after their scoreless draw away to Melbourne City on Saturday, following on from back-to-back wins over the Mariners and Phoenix. It was United third clean defensive sheet in six games.
Despite copping a 4-0 thrashing in China last week, Melbourne Victory kept their top-two hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Central Coast in Week 25. Georg Nidermeier slotted the 79th-minute winner to give the Victory their third win in four games after a rough February.
The Victory boast six wins and a draw in their last nine clashes with United, including a 2-0 win at AAMI Park in Week 7. But Adelaide responded with a 2-0 success at home in Week 12. The Victory have failed to score a first-half goal in six of their last eight clashes with United.
Adelaide have featured in an A-League-high eight draws this season, but the Victory’s superior attack renders them handy value as a slight underdog with plenty on the line.
17:35 (AEST), Sat 20th Apr @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
History: Played 40: Newcastle 17 V Brisbane 12 (11 Draws)
Last meeting: January 2, 2019: 2-2 draw at McDonald Jones Stadium
Final Thoughts: The out-of-contention Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets come into this clash on the back of contrasting Week 25 fortunes.
The Roar upset Wellington 2-1 to snap a four-game losing streak and ensure they won’t finish with the wooden spoon. The Jets’ faint playoffs hopes were extinguished via a 1-0 loss in Perth. It was their third defeat in four games, negating a remarkable February revival.
Newcastle are on a five-match unbeaten streak against Brisbane, winning four. This season the Jets notched a 2-0 home win in Week 7, but the teams drew 2-2 in Newcastle in early-January.
With both sides only having pride to play for – and in light of last week’s results – the Roar are tantalising value as $4.50 home underdogs.
19:50 (AEST), Sat 20th Apr @ Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
History: Played 22: Western Sydney 11 V Central Coast 5 (6 Draws)
Last meeting: February 2, 2019: Western Sydney 2 d Central Coast 0 at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: Another battle of the also-rans, the wooden-spoon-bound Central Coast Mariners host the eighth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers.
Western Sydney have won only one of their last four, but they showed some fight in a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in last weekend’s derby. The Mariners were edged 2-1 by the travel-weary Victory in Melbourne, their ninth loss from their last 11 games.
Wanderers have won their last four against the Mariners, including both clashes so far this season (both in Sydney) by 2-0 scorelines. The Mariners’ last home win against WSW was back in 2015.
Western Sydney look a worthy favourite here and their should be plenty of goals on offer.
17:00 (AEST), Sun 21st Apr @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington
History: Played 27: Melbourne City 12 V Wellington 9 (6 Draws)
Last meeting: January 26, 2019: Wellington 1 d Melbourne City 0 at Westpac Stadium
Final Thoughts: Wellington Phoenix are seemingly indulging in self-sabotage after losing consecutive games to Adelaide (3-1) and Brisbane (2-1) to slip to sixth.
They are locked on 37 points with Melbourne City, one point behind United. But this shapes as must-win for the Kiwi outfit with a final-round assignment in Perth looming (City host the Mariners in Week 27).
Melbourne City were held to a scoreless draw at home by Adelaide, but they have only lost one of their last six games.
Melbourne City have won seven of their last nine against Wellington, but the Phoenix have won two of the last three. Both sides have notched a win to nil over the other so far this season. The last five encounters have been won by the home team, while none of the last 12 have finished in a draw.
City have won only three wins and a draw away from Melbourne this season. The Phoenix have an impressive seven wins and two draws from 11 games in New Zealand. With coach Mark Rudan’s future apparently now settled, lean towards the hosts in this one.