After 26 rounds of action the A-League regular season wraps up this weekend with top and bottom spots still in limbo. Melbourne Victory only need to avoid a monstrous slip-up against Central Coast to be overtaken from top spot and Newcastle and Western Sydney will be hoping the dreaded wooden spoon isn’t in their possession come the end of the weekend.
Our A-League man Brad Hutchings the opening three matches of Round 27…
ROUND 27 PREVIEW
Brisbane Roar ($1.98) v Newcastle Jets ($3.7)
Thanks to Perth Glory and their creative approach to accounting, the Brisbane Roar are guaranteed finals football at the expense of the boys from the west. Whether they deserve to be in the top six is a different story as an average year by their lofty standards, regardless they are still in with a shout to hold on to their title and claim back-to-back crowns.
While the Roar will use this game to gear up ahead of an impending final series campaign, Newcastle Jets are desperately trying to avoid the indignity of the wooden spoon. The Jets need nothing short of all three points to leap-frog Western Sydney off the bottom of the ladder.
This is a difficult match to pick a winner in more than it should be. The Jets know they need a win if they want to avoid the spoon and have taken six points from their last two trips to Brisbane, claiming clean sheet on both occasions. While in Brisbane’s case they may not have an awful lot to play for with their finals berth secure, they will not want to head into the play-offs off the back of a loss to Jets. Their mid-week ACL win over Beijing Guaon will have given them plenty of confidence, the flight back from China will do them no favours.
Even with their heavy legs thanks to jet-lag and fatigue plus having one-eye on next week, it’s hard to see Roar losing this one.
Both teams to score NO @ $2.36
Western Sydney ($2.24) v Perth Glory $3.35
Depending on how Friday night’s match pans out, this match could have no effect on the final placings of the table. If Newcastle fail to beat the Roar on Friday, then this match is essentially null-and-void, if Jets do take the three points then this match will have some interest to it with the home side needing a win to avoid the spoon.
Seventh spot has Perth‘s name written all over it thanks to the Salary Cap sanctions imposed by the FFA meaning they can’t finish in any other position. They had a pride-lifting win over Melbourne City last weekend but motivation must be at a minimum for the boys in purple.
This game could go a number of ways, if Jets do win meaning Wanderers need a win to avoid the spoon, expect the home side to come out firing and prove too hot to handle against a team thinking of the off-season, if Jets lose meaning this game is pointless, then we could see some interesting football.
I highly doubt Jets will beat Roar meaning the latter will be the case. Perth will welcome back Rostyn Griffiths, Nebojsa Marinkovic and Scott Jamieson for this match and will have a red-hot strike force in Andy Keogh and Jamie MacLaren leading the line. An old-fashion shoot-out is very possible in this match and Perth have a lot more fire power than the Wanderers.
Perth HT/FT Double @ 5.8
Adelaide United ($1.99) v Melbourne City ($3.85)
It’s very possible, in fact almost certain, that these two sides will meet again next week in the opening round of the final series. Adelaide bowed out of the race for the plate last weekend with their loss to Western Sydney and Melbourne City have been pretty much guaranteed fifth spot for the past couple of weeks.
Adelaide need to win this one by more than two-goals and hope Sydney beat Phoenix the next day to take third spot off Wellington. The Reds are in a bad bit of form coming off two losses to sides below them in Brisbane and Western Sydney. With a home final all sewn up it remains to be seen how seriously they will take this game.
City themselves aren’t in the best touch going down to Perth last weekend. With their finals spot set in stone, all of John Van’t Schip’s focus will be on next weekend. With these two sides almost destined to meet again next week neither will want to give too much away in this one.
City have won just one of their past eight away games in the league and have historically struggled at Hindmarsh Stadium. With both teams in average form and looking ahead to next week, I wouldn’t get too excited about this one.
Correct Score 0-0 @ $15.5
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