The final round of the 2020/21 A-League is here whilst the top two positions are secured, there will be plenty of drama as sixth place is decided. Adelaide has their destiny in their own hands, but the Phoenix can qualify for just the sixth time in their history if Adelaide fails to pick up a point on Thursday night. It’s set to be a drama filled weekend, and we’ve got you covered with previews of the big clashes here.
Thursday 3rd June 7.35pm (AEST)
Adelaide’s destiny is in their own hands as the Western Sydney Wanderers travel to Coopers Stadium on Thursday night. Adelaide United were at home in a clash of second vs third last week, with the opportunity to go equal in second with Sydney FC on points. But after a horror 4-1 thrashing, Adelaide have dropped back to sixth place, and only sit three points ahead of Wellington who are in seventh.
The Reds goal difference of -2 means that if they fail to pick up a point on Thursday night and Wellington beat Macarthur on Friday, Adelaide would fall out of the top six and remarkably miss the finals. Adelaide will take plenty of confidence out of their outstanding performances at home this season. Adelaide’s biggest advantage in this clash will come through the amount of goal scoring threats they have through the midfield and up front. Craig Goodwin, Stefan Mauk and Al Hassan Toure will all cause the Wanderers defence plenty of troubles. Whilst the Wanderers’ unhealthy reliance on Bruce Kamu makes Adelaide’s equation defensively, a lot easier.
The Reds have the third best home record in the A-League this season, with a 7-3-2 record at Coopers Stadium. The Wanderers on the other hand have been one of the worst teams in the competition on the road this season winning only three games out of twelve games. With a finals berth on the line, you can expect a desperate Adelaide outfit to secure a finals place.
Friday 4th June 7.05pm (AEST)
If Adelaide fail to either win or draw, the Phoenix will have an opportunity to qualify for the finals with a win over Macarthur on Friday night. The Bulls booked their spot in the finals with a 2-1 victory against Western United on Tuesday, becoming the third consecutive A-League expansion club to qualify for the finals berth in their inaugural season.
The Phoenix have played some gritty football in the last six weeks, going unbeaten in their last ten games. The Phoenix have had to play on the road a lot since the pandemic, and they’ve become an excellent travelling team, only being defeated three times in away games this season. In contrast, the Bulls struggle at home this season, possessing a 4-4-4 record at home this season. Wellington have been in excellent attacking form, scoring nine goals in their last four games.
With Macarthur having qualified for finals already, this could play into the Phoenix’s hands given their opponents don’t have anything to play for. Wellington have been one of the most in form teams in the competition, and that form is going to hold them in good stead in a must win clash.
Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne City
Sunday 6th June 4.05pm (AEST)
The Premiers Plate winners will be looking to inflict another massacre on their arch rivals when City and Victory do battle at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon. The Victory dominated the struggling Western United last week, but it’s been a season from hell for one of the most successful clubs in the history of the A-League. Sitting in eleventh place, only one point off the bottom place, with a 5-3-17 record, with a goal difference of -29.
A large part of that awful goal difference has come from Melbourne City who have an aggregate score of 13-0 in the two games against the Victory. The Victory were able to relieve some pressure with last week’s win, however that joy is going to be short-lived. City have trounced the Victory twice this season and with the contrast in profiles of these teams, there will be another convincing win in store for the league leaders. City have the number one ranked attack, scoring a league high 59 goals, whilst the Victory have the worst defence in the league, conceding a league most 59 goals.
The Victory have been terrorised by their crosstown rivals in recent times, winning just one of their last eight games against City, and their defence looks set to be exposed for a third time this season by an incredible attacking City outfit. City will be looking to fine tune their finals preparation and with an opportunity to clean sweep their rivals, they’ll be ready for another big performance against the Victory.
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