The season is coming down to the wire for teams to lock in their place in the finals. Meanwhile, Melbourne City could have silverware by the end of Thursday, requiring only a point to do so.
We’ve made it this far. The second last round of the season, let’s talk all about it.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne City
For a long time this was THE match up of the season, however fate had a different idea, taking the shine off the early blockbuster potential of this fixture. The Wanderers have been hit more than a chicken schnitzel before it’s battered. Misfortune of season ending injuries, untimely suspensions and a star returning to the US has snuffed out their strong title charge. Now the team from Sydney’s west is just looking to keep their season alive and skate through to the finals. Don’t be fooled, there’s still talent in this team. But they will need to adapt.
The opposite fate has hit City. The Melbourne team has continued to move from strength to strength. With quality across the field, no team has truly exposed any chinks in their armour. Given the exciting football City are now providing the fans (finally), and the form of their attacking players mixing with their consistent, and deep, defence, they’re the team to beat. They’ll have a target on their back, they’ve carried that all season. Experience ought to prevail in this one, to provide City a comfortable win.
Prediction: Western Sydney Wanderers 0 – 4 Melbourne City
Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Some things take a while to warm up, just ask anything that goes into my Target $50 microwave. Glory have suffered this fate in a season too short to turn things around. Making Caitlin Douglas a starter, pairing her with Chrystal Thomas, has brought the team to life. Lightning quick off the counter, happy to play the long ball. Their midfield an area focused on ball winning and punting up field, rather than delicate, lock unpicking combinations. It’s working. However will it work against Sydney?
Sydney has continued to play to their strengths. Especially defensively, which will dampen Perth’s pace. With the knowledge a lot of their defence is a pace off the mark, their starting position is a lot deeper than that encountered by Perth in their recent matches. Now throw in a new look midfield, with fresh legs, while the evergreen Teresa Polias remains as an anchor, Sydney looked their best last weekend. Often teams who lose Matildas of the quality of Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo are left with their foot off the gas. That doesn’t look the case here. Against Perth, expect another opportunity for this midfield to run rampant.
Prediction: Sydney FC 3 – 1 Perth Glory
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Melbourne has it all to play for. Simply outclassed in the derby, they’ll want to prove it was a one time thing and come out fighting. For the Jets, this match is for pride. A 2-0 win over Adelaide provides a needed cushion to avoid the wooden spoon. But they’re at home and with a team packed with locals, they’ll want to impress.
Honestly, I’ve not watched a heap of either side lately due to a mixture of luck and life. However, both teams have built their side from the back. While there’s some star power with Natasha Dowie in the Victory front line, it’s the ability to keep balls out of the net that both pride themselves on. Coming down to the wire, the quality and experience will provide Victory the edge once again. Having a fourth place finish to fight for? Even more incentive to get the job done.
Prediction: Newcastle Jets 0 – 1 Melbourne Victory
Brisbane Roar v Canberra United
In a final outing for Heather Garriock’s Canberra United, it’ll be their chance to throw everything they have at this match. The fearlessness they played in the final 30 minutes last weekend will rear its head again. Expect pace, expect chances, springing attacks and emotion. Against the high line of Brisbane’s defence? This is going to be a clash for the ages.
Roar’s chances of a finals finish have been dashed, but is still an outside possibility. For this reason they will too throw everything they have at the encounter. Goals are either flowing, or lost somewhere like the last meatball in a massive bowl of spaghetti. At it’s best this match has the makings of some wild and beautiful football.
Prediction: Brisbane Roar 4 – 3 Canberra United