NEWCASTLE JETS 2 ADELAIDE UNITED 0
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 MELBOURNE VICTORY 4
MELBOURNE HEART 2 WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 3
BRISBANE ROAR 0 CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 2
SYDNEY FC 1 PERTH GLORY 1
Thats A Wrap
The regular season of the 2013/14 A-League concluded over the weekend. The final six spots are settled (Brisbane, WSW, CCM, Victory, Sydney FC and Adelaide) and sudden death tournament football begins next week.
The season finished with a dour 2-0 home defeat for the Roar who were impotent in attack and created few opportunities against a clinical Central Coast Mariners team who, after losing four games on the trot in January, have stormed up the ladder at the end of the season. The Roar looked like a team playing cautiously, careful not to concede any cards or injuries before the semi final. As ever, the murmurs around the grounds are a lot to do with Berisha. We’re pretty much resigned to the fact that we’re going to use him but we seem so much better off without him.
MELBOURNE VICTORY (4) vs SYDNEY FC (5)
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS (3) vs ADELAIDE UNITED (6)
The highest seeded winner plays Western Sydney Wanderers (2) in the semi final. The lowest seeded winner plays Brisbane Roar (1) in the other semi final.
It’s a strange outlook for the finals series. The Mariners are really the only form team in the mix. The other five teams in contention have all won just two of their last five games. The first two elimination matches both look to be even contests on paper. Sydney defeated Victory 5-0 in Melbourne the last time they visited but they have neither the form nor the consistency to suggest they’ll do it again. Having said that, I would love to play a home semi final against either of these two clubs. They’re both sides that the Roar has excellent form against. The Mariners and the Reds? Not so much.
I would expect the Mariners to beat the Reds at Gosford Park. They have momentum on their side, are a pain in the arse to beat at the Sauce Bottle Fortress and they have a good record against Adelaide. Goals won’t be the problem for Josep Gombau and his men from the South. The challenge will be shoring up their wobbly old defence which concedes far too often.
My Tips: Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC to advance.
News and Notes
- It’s the end of the season for the Phoenix, Heart, Jets and Glory. Football doesn’t stand still for very long and the Nix have already dumped Stein Huysegems and Leo Bertos. Huysegems was good value for the Phoenix and scored the most goals for them this season. However, with Hernandez, Cunningham and Brockie in the squad, the Nix aren’t short of firepower. In fact, they’ve scored more goals than the Mariners and the Wanderers this season. It’s their defense thats the problem.
- Former championship winning coach Graham Arnold got sacked from his J-League club Vegalta Sendai after a winless run of eight games. The club won their very next game 2-0 away from home. It was a miserable and unsuccessful stint for Arnold and now he looks to return to Australia and will likely be courted by at least three clubs who are looking for new management. It’s not a great start for the prospects of A-League coaches looking to move abroad.
- The BPL, which concludes in a month, is headed for a thrilling finish with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all viable contenders. I watched Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Manchester City on Sunday and it was a cracking game. I’m tipping City to pip Liverpool to the post.
- Melbourne Heart have apparently already begun their transformation into Melbourne City with the club formalizing plans to change into a Sky Blue kit next season, a move that Sydney FC are none to happy about.
- Other than A-League Allstars vs Juventus game, we still don’t have confirmed friendly matches for the offseason yet although Manchester City, West Ham and Ajax are all clubs who have been named in the rumour mill. Happily, all these clubs are rumoured to be facing the Roar. Bring it on!
- How good are the tifo artists at Sydney FC? They sent off retiring player Terry McFlynn with a mind boggling detailed stained glass window motif of the former captain that put anything The Den have done in Brisbane to shame.
- This week saw the retirement of five Australian footballing veterans – Harry Kewell (Heart), Terry McFlynn (Sydney FC), Mile Sterjovski (CCM), Michael Bridges (Jets) and Jacob Burns (Glory). Four of them will be missed.