David Zdrilic’s A-League Round 27 Preview: Victory Looking To Sink Mariners On Eve Of Finals

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast | Friday, April 14, 7.50pm (AEDT), AAMI Park

The Victory were able to hold off the Wanderers after going down to 10-men in the 53rd minute but form is still a concern with the finals just around the corner.

They’ll be pleased they were able to keep a clean sheet but what they're lacking is momentum leading into the finals series.

They’re without a win in their last three games and with the first week of the finals off, this will be their last chance to get things right.

The Mariners moved off the bottom of the ladder with their win in the F3 derby and they’ll want to make sure they stay there.

A win here will see them finish above both Adelaide and the Jets, which would be considered an achievement after last year's last place finish.

KEY BATTLE: Besart Berisha v Roy O'Donovan

Victory haven’t scored in three matches and Berisha is locked on 18 goals, level with Jamie Maclaren at the top of the goal-scoring charts.

O’Donovan has 11 goals, which is impressive given the season the Mariners have had.

The Verdict 

The Victory have comfortably won both encounters this season and this game will give them the chance to regain form ahead of the finals.

Unibet Odds: Melbourne Victory 1.34 Draw 5.40 Central Coast 9.00

Tip: Melbourne Victory 

Correct score: Melbourne Victory 2-0

Sydney FC v Newcastle | Saturday, April 15, 5.35pm (AEDT), Allianz Stadium

Great news on Monday with confirmation the Sky Blues will take on English giants Liverpool. They’re also facing Arsenal in July so it’ll be an exciting off-season for the club. 

Over the past few years, we’ve been spoilt with many big name clubs gracing our shores and it has been hugely beneficial for football in this country. 

This is the final hit out for Sydney FC before their finals campaign begins.

The key for them is to continue their impressive form and make sure there is no drop off.

They’ll have the first week of the finals off, so this will be their last chance to get a competitive game in and prepare for a bigger challenge ahead.

The Jets have been a disaster over the last nine rounds, without a win and losing seven.

Having been on the brink of a top six spot, they’ve plummeted all the way to the foot of the table and with a trip to face the Sky Blues in the final round, I can’t see them moving. 

KEY BATTLE: Bobo v Morten Nordstrand

Bobo has four goals in his last three games and 15 overall for Sydney.

He has been a huge success for the Sky Blues and another goal or two here will finish of a superb campaign.

Nordstrand (pictured above) has three goals this season and his experience is needed if the Jets are to avoid the wooden spoon

The Verdict 

Sydney are too strong and will win comfortably.

 Unibet Odds: Sydney FC 1.30 Draw 5.90 Newcastle 9.75

Tip: Sydney FC 

Correct score: Sydney FC 4-0 

Adelaide United v Western Sydney | Saturday, April 15, 7.50pm (AEDT), Coopers Stadium

Terrible news for the Reds and Tarek Elrich with the defender stretchered off against City with a ruptured ACL.

It’s never nice seeing a player succumb to a long-term injury and we wish Tarek a speedy recovery. 

Adelaide have finished the season strong and will want to make sure their last match of the season is a win.

The Wanderers will be disappointed their home finals hopes have been dashed, but they’re playing good football and are in good shape for the finals.

A win for Western Sydney over Victory would have given them a shot at third spot but now it’s all about continuing their fine form in recent weeks and getting ready for the first road trip in the finals series.

KEY BATTLE: Papa Diawara v Brendon Santalab

Diawara has done a great job since joining the club in January while Santalab (pictured above) has been the main reason the Wanderers have been able to make a late season charge.

The Verdict

Wanderers are at home to Seoul in the Champions League tonight while Adelaide are in Korea to face Jeju so the travel will be a disadvantage for the Reds.

Unibet Odds: Adelaide United 2.85 Draw 3.65 Western Sydney 2.40

Tip: Western Sydney 

Correct score: Western Sydney 3-1 

Brisbane v Wellington | Sunday, April 16, 5pm (AEDT), Suncorp Stadium

The Roar are the other side with a big mid-week Asian Champions League fixture, facing Kashima Antlers on Wednesday night at Suncorp.

John Aloisi has shuffled his team when required to manage the loads and this will be another juggling act this week.

The Roar will want to try and grab third spot, which is currently held by City on goal difference, so a win here is a must.

The Phoenix have made an impressive late season surge, but it’s been a case of too little too late in their attempt to clinch a finals spot.

They can take many positives out of their form over the last few weeks, but they will also be frustrated that their efforts have amounted to nothing and they will need to rebuild for next season.

KEY BATTLE: Jamie Maclaren v Roy Krishna

Maclaren is fighting for the golden boot, so he’ll be highly motivated to grab a few goals and beat Berisha who is level with him on 18 goals.

Krishna (pictured above) has had a great year with 11 goals to his name and will want to finish on a high.

The Verdict 

With the Roar playing midweek and Wellington in great form, this one will end all square.

Unibet Odds: Brisbane 1.69 Draw 4.00 Wellington 5.00

Tip: Draw 

Correct score: 1-1

Perth v Melbourne City | Sunday, April 16, 7pm (AEDT), NIB Stadium

It was a timely return to the winner’s list for the Glory, albeit against an understrength Roar.

They still have a chance to finish third or fourth, but will need to overturn a huge goal deficit to do it. 

Their biggest problem remains their defence, so if they can keep things tight at the back they can seriously challenge in the finals.

There was more Tim Cahill magic against the Reds with another trademark header, this time a superb flick from a corner, which caught Adelaide cold.

Melbourne City have again been inconsistent this season, but with players like Cahill in the squad who have plenty of big game experience, you can never rule them out.

KEY BATTLE: Diego Castro v Tim Cahill

Castro has had another great year for Glory and is the key to their chances in the finals.

Likewise for Cahill, whose experience can make the difference in crucial games.

Perth have been equally unpredictable, but they need to make home advantage count and a win here will give them a shot at a home final.

Unibet Odds: Perth 2.30 Draw 3.75 Melbourne City 2.95

Tip: Perth 

Correct score: Perth 2-1

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