The finalists for the 2019 A-League season.
The finalists for the 2019 A-League season.

How the teams shape up: A-League finals preview

While Perth Glory, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory battled for top spot, the remaining three finalists all showed glimpses this season.

David Davutovic previews a finals series where hope springs eternal, in the wake of Victory's history-making win from fourth-place last season.

 

 

PERTH GLORY

18 wins, 6 draws, 3 losses (60 points)

56 goals for, 23 goals against

Top scorer: Andy Keogh (15)

The star: Diego Castro

The finals x-factor: Chris Ikonomidis

Ladbrokes title odds: $2.25

DAVUTOVIC SAYS: A mega four-month pre-season triggered an extraordinarily consistent season. Glory will be refreshed now with a week off, and with all games on their parochial home patch, they are clear title favourites.

 

(L-R) Glory stars Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images
(L-R) Glory stars Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

 

 

SYDNEY FC

16 wins, 4 draws, 7 losses (52 points)

43 goals for, 29 goals against

Top scorer: Adam Le Fondre (16)

The star: Milos Ninkovic

The finals x-factor: Siem de Jong

Ladbrokes title odds: $3

DAVUTOVIC SAYS: Understated rookie coach Steve Corica shrewdly orchestrated a second-place finish and a welcome week off, as they contend with Champions League duties. Michael Zullo and Alex Brosque will return, while Rhyan Grant (hamstring) is hoping to be fit.

 

 

Milos Ninkovic of Sydney FC. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne
Milos Ninkovic of Sydney FC. Picture: AAP Image/Brendon Thorne

 

MELBOURNE VICTORY

15 wins, 5 draws, 7 losses (50 points)

15 goals for, 5 goals against

Top scorer: Kosta Barbarouses (14)

The star: Keisuke Honda

The finals x-factor: Ola Toivonen

TAB title odds: $5.50

The most dangerous team on their day, albeit shown it only sporadically during the season. Toivonen and Honda's big-game experience will be key, while fellow visas Georg Niedermeier and Raul Baena have timed their run well.

 

 

Keisuke Honda of the Victory. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Keisuke Honda of the Victory. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

 

ADELAIDE UNITED

12 wins, 8 draws, 7 losses (44 points)

37 goals for, 32 goals against

Top scorer: Craig Goodwin (10)

The star: Isaias

The finals x-factor: Baba Diawara

Ladbrokes title odds: $13

DAVUTOVIC SAYS: Beat Victory and Wellington in winning four of last five en route to finals. Suddenly blessed with attacking options after playing without a recognised striker for much of the campaign.

 

Isaias of Adelaide United celebrates a goal. Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images
Isaias of Adelaide United celebrates a goal. Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images

 

 

MELBOURNE CITY

11 wins, 7 draws, 9 losses (40 points)

39 goals for, 32 goals against

Top scorer: Ritchie de Laet, Riley McGree (7)

The star: Eugene Galekovic

The finals x-factor: Jamie Maclaren

Ladbrokes title odds: $17

DAVUTOVIC SAYS: Timed their run well and competition for spots is red-hot with Maclaren, who's netted eight goals in five games, among the stars rested in Round 27 Mariners romp.

 

Jamie Maclaren of Melbourne City. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett
Jamie Maclaren of Melbourne City. Picture: AAP Image/Daniel Pockett

 

 

WELLINGTON PHOENIX

11 wins, 7 draws, 9 losses (40 points)

46 goals for, 43 goals against

Top scorer: Roy Krishna (18)

The star: Roy Krishna

The finals x-factor: David Williams

Ladbrokes title odds: $21

DAVUTOVIC SAYS: Phoenix clearly had an eye on finals in their 5-0 mauling from Perth, and will focus on three super performances against Victory this season, which all finished in draws, including two at AAMI Park.

 

Roy Krishna of the Phoenix. Picture: AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford
Roy Krishna of the Phoenix. Picture: AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford

 

 

2018-19 A-LEAGUE FINALS SERIES SCHEDULE

WEEK 1: ELIMINATION FINALS

Melbourne Victory (3rd) v Melbourne City/Wellington Phoenix (6th)

AAMI Park, Friday, 7.50pm

Adelaide United (4th) v Melbourne City/Wellington Phoenix (5th)

Hindmarsh Stadium, Sunday 7pm

WEEK 2: SEMI-FINALS

Perth Glory (1) v Lowest Ranked Elimination Final Winner

HBF Park, Friday May 10, 8.30pm

Sydney FC (2) v Highest Ranked Elimination Final Winner

Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah, Sunday May 12, 7pm

WEEK 3: GRAND FINAL

Highest ranked v Lowest ranked semi-final winners

Sunday May 19 (If Sydney FC hosts, it will be May 18)

News Corp Australia


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