The race for the Hyundai A-League finals is on in earnest. Perth Glory are now inside the top six and if current form is anything to go by the West Australians will be fighting it out in the finals. Meanwhile, both Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory’s seasons have fallen by the wayside.
With five games of the regular season remaining Sydney FC must correct an alarming run of form that has seen them collect just 3 points from the last 21 available. The form slump has been exacerbated by injuries and suspensions. Unfortunately, Alex Brosque has been ruled out for the season with a hamstring injury (only returning if the team goes deep into Finals).
Along with that, manager Graham Arnold has to navigate the Asian Champions League. At this stage top priority would be the A-League Finals, but one or two more negative results and the ACL may become the only achievable objective. Next week Sydney FC take on Wellington while in the ACL they travel to Korea to meet Pohang.
Arnold spoke to the media on Wednesday, “We want to win our home games, and it’s two teams that are below us, obviously we have to win those games if we want to be serious about moving forward.”
On the plus side Sydney see Seb Ryall, David Carney, Jacques Faty and Ryan Grant return from suspension this week.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory have stammered and stuttered over the last 12 weeks. In December they didn’t win a match though during January they seemed to have correcting their ship, however February came and went without a win also. Adding to the form woes, are Asian Champions League commitments and the surprising comments from Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler.
Turning around a form slump is not easy. The task isn’t made easier when jilted players make public their thoughts on leaving the club, due to the boss omitting said player from the ACL squad. Back in February Finkler said, “. . . it’s pretty hard to feel valued when decisions like these are made.” That said Melbourne Victory aren’t quite in the mess Sydney FC are.
Joining the race for the finals after a recent form reversal, are the Newcastle Jets. Though still five points adrift of 6th placed Perth Glory, the Jets have a favourable fixture list. To their advantage Newcastle play Perth Glory at home on the run in to the finals.
Below is our special cut out fixture list that lets you predict your team’s fortunes over the final five rounds of the regular season.
Fixtures in red denote away fixtures.
Print out the ladder below and predict the matches yourself.