Get your A-League tips for the final regular-season round, which kicks off on Anzac Day in Brisbane and winds up with a key assignment for the Phoenix in Perth.
History: Played 41: Brisbane 17 V Adelaide 16 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: February 2, 2019: Adelaide 4 d Brisbane 3 at Coopers Stadium
Final Thoughts: The A-League delivers a rare early-afternoon encounter for Anzac Day.
Brisbane Roar have done enough to avoid the wooden spoon, but their season hit a new low last week via a 6-1 home loss to out-of-contention Newcastle. Four of the goals came in the second half in an inexplicable capitulation, which came just a week after upsetting finalists Wellington.
Adelaide can seal fourth spot and an all-important home final with a win here and are peaking at the right time. They have won three and drawn one of their last four, conceding just one goal in the process – including a 1-0 upset of Melbourne Victory last weekend.
Adelaide have won four of their last six against Brisbane, including both clashes so far this season. United chalked up 2-1 and 4-3 victories against the Roar at home. Just one of the teams’ last 22 encounters finished in a draw.
With plenty riding on the result for the visitors, United should get the job done without too much trouble against a leaky, league-worst Roar defence.
19:50 (AEST), Fri 26th Apr @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
History: Played 27: Central Coast 12 V Melbourne City 8 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: January 16, 2019: Central Coast 2 d Melbourne City 1 at Central Coast Stadium
Final Thoughts: Melbourne City are all but consigned to a sixth-place finish after going down 3-2 in Wellington last weekend. But a sizeable win over Central Coast (provided the Phoenix crash hard in Perth) could see them jump to fifth and avoid the Victory in Week 1 of the playoffs. But City have won only two of their last 11 games.
The Mariners will finish with the spoon but they look determined to round out a dismal season on a positive note. Two of their three wins this season have come in the past five rounds, including a 3-1 home defeat of Wanderers last weekend. Matt Simon scored a goal in each half.
Melbourne City have lost just one of their last 11 against Central Coast, but the Mariners have earned the bragging rights in the rivalry this season. The teams drew 1-1 in Gosford in Week 2, before the Mariners snapped their subsequent 11-match losing streak with a 2-1 upset of City at home in mid-January.
The Mariners have picked up a win and a draw in their last three away games – they could cause up-and-down City a few headaches on Friday night.
17:35 (AEST), Sat 27th Apr @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
History: Played 40: Sydney 26 V Newcastle 6 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 19, 2019: Sydney 1 d Newcastle 0 at Jubilee Oval
Final Thoughts: Sydney FC have sealed a top-two finish but can’t catch front-running Perth, which renders this road trip to Newcastle a bit of a dead-rubber. But the Sky Blues made a big statement last weekend via a 1-0 win over the Glory at home. After a heavy schedule involving Champions League matches, expect the heavyweights to rest a couple of stars.
The seventh-placed Newcastle Jets are attempting to go out with a bang, having demolished the Roar 6-1 in Brisbane last weekend. Joseph Champness and Roy O’Donovan both bagged two goals in the rout. The Jets have won five and drawn two of their last 10 games.
Newcastle have won just one of their last 18 against Sydney. The teams drew 1-1 in Newcastle in Week 4, but the Sky Blues chalked up a 1-0 home win in Week 14 via a Jets own goal.
The Jets have lost just one of their last seven at home and head in as narrow favourites against a likely-to-be depleted Sydney. But the Sky Blues won’t roll over.
19:50 (AEST), Sat 27th Apr @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney
History: Played 20: Victory 12 V Western Sydney 4 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: January 5, 2019: Victory 2 d Western Sydney 1 at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: Another dead-rubber encounter with the Melbourne Victory guaranteed to finish third and Western Sydney locked in for eighth place.
The Victory’s top-two hopes evaporated with a 1-0 loss in Adelaide, leaving the defending champions with just three wins from their last nine games. Wanderers have won just one of their last five and slumped to a 3-1 loss at the hands of the last-placed Mariners in Week 26. But WSW are unbeaten in their last four at home – including draws with Perth and Sydney.
The Victory are unbeaten in their last 10 games against Wanderers, winning the last four straight. The Victory romped to a 4-0 home win in Week 8 and prevailed 2-1 in Sydney in Week 11.
Though they will be under-strength, the Victory are desperate for some momentum to carry into a likely finals derby against City and look a top-value underdog against out-of-form Wanderers.
19:00 (AEST), Sun 28th Apr @ nib Stadium, Perth
History: Played 37: Perth 16 V Wellington 14 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: February 2, 2019: Perth 3 d Wellington 0 at nib Stadium
Final Thoughts: Perth Glory have already secured the Premiers Plate, despite a 1-0 loss away to Sydney last weekend. They are unbeaten against teams ranked fourth or lower this season, though two losses and two draws in their last seven games prove they are far from infallible.
Wellington will know exactly where they stand by the time this regular-season closer kicks off – whether they can leapfrog Adelaide into fourth, or whether they need to avoid a heavy loss to slip to sixth. The Phoenix halted a two-game slide with a thrilling 3-2 home win over Melbourne City in Week 26. A-League goalscoring leader Roy Krishna scored all three goals, including the 94th-minute winner.
Perth boast six wins and two draws in their last 10 games against Wellington. The Phoenix earned a 1-1 draw at home during the early rounds but went down 3-0 in Perth in Week 17. The Glory have won four straight against the Phoenix at home.
The Phoenix have won only one of their last six on the road but will be up for this assignment. The Glory, who may rest some stars, are extremely difficult to break down defensively but the visitors are good chance of finishing with at least a share of the spoils.