Adelaide United v Melbourne City
Friday April 22, 7:35pm
Premiers Adelaide and fourth-placed Melbourne City meet for the third time in six weeks with a Grand Final spot up for grabs. City were impressive winning 1-0 at Coopers Stadium in Round 23 whilst Adelaide were as, if not more impressive winning 2-0 at AAMI Park in in the final round of the season to secure the Premiers Plate. The only other meeting between the clubs also went to City 4-2 at Coopers Stadium in Round 5.
- Adelaide lost only one of their last 19 matches (W14 D4), which came against City in Round 23
- Against the other top 6 teams Adelaide W6 D5 L5 and kept seven clean sheets.
- Adelaide ranked fourth for goals scored (45), fourth for shots on goal (4.8 per match excluding penalties) and ninth for conversion of these shots 27%. They have steadily improved though being no1 ranked for goals scored and conversion rate over the last third of the season
- Adelaide ranked first for goals conceded (28), a clear first for clean sheets (13) and third for shots faced (3.8 per match)
- Against the other top-six teams City are W5 D2 L6 and with one clean sheet. Away from home City W2 D2 L4 but as noted above the two wins were both at Adelaide
- City scored a regular season record of 63 goals with the number one ranked Shots on Target (5.8 per match) and conversion rate (36%).
- City were ranked a lowly eighth for goals conceded (44) seventh for clean sheets (4) and seventh for shots faced (5.4 per match)
- City lost all three matches on a five day turnaround, at home to Adelaide 0-2 and to Newcastle 2-3 and away to Wellington 1-2.
Adelaide have been the form team of the competition and have proven themselves far more consistent than City. Expect a much more competitive City this week but still I’m leaning on home ground advantage and pure momentum to carry Adelaide through.
Preliminary finals tend to be tight matches with history pointing to there being less than three goals.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Sunday April 24, 5pm
Second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers host Brisbane thanks to the Roar’s amazing come-from-behind win over Melbourne Victory last week, conceding in the 83rd minute only to score in the 85th and 93rd to get home, much to the delight of loyal followers of this article.
The only surprising thing is that it isn’t a surprise as followers of the A-League have seen this occur time and again over the years. Brisbane won two of the three regular season matches between the two.
- Against the other top-6 teams Western Sydney are W6 D5 L4. At home they W5 D2 L1, the loss in Rd1 to Brisbane.
- Western Sydney ranked fifth for goals scored (44), fifth for shots on (4.7 per match) and second for conversion of those shots (32%)
- Western Sydney ranked second for goals conceded (33), clean sheets (9) and shots faced (3.4 per match)
- Against the other top-six teams Brisbane are W7 D2 L6 but away from home are W1 D1 L5.
- Brisbane ranked second for goals scored (49), second for shots on (5 per match) and fourth for conversion of those shots (31%)
- Brisbane ranked second for goals conceded (33), clean sheets (9) and shots faced (3.4 per match)
Neither of these teams really stormed to the regular season finishing line, both winning four of their last seven matches. Brisbane may have won last week but it is hard to ignore that the Victory played them off the park for the vast majority of the match.
Western Sydney’s records show that they lift at home for these big matches and with this the final match at Wanderland before the rebuild I expect them to win reasonably comfortably.