The Roar’s A-League expert tips and predictions: Elimination Finals

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    And so, thankfully, the finals are here. Both elimination finals are shaping as seriously tricky matches to predict, but we’ll be giving it our best shot on The Roar’s A-League expert tips and predictions.

    The final round of the regular season, unpredictable as it was on the field, proved to be a relatively easy one to tip. Our scores ranged from three from five (Vas) right up to a very rare perfect round from Janek, with the rest of us tipping four from five.

    That’s seen me keep my lead at the top of our table, two points clear of Vas (68). Next is The Crowd on 64 and Mike on 63, while Janek (59) has climbed past Matt (58) in the race to avoid the wooden spoon.

    With the finals come far fewer fixtures for us to tip, but we’ve been presented with a pair of absolute doozies first up.

    Friday night sees Brisbane, fresh off a stunning comeback win over the Phoenix, host the Wanderers, before the Glory make the trip to Melbourne to face City in a rematch of their 5-4 thriller from last weekend.

    As always, be sure to lend your voice to The Crowd in the form below to help every Roarer out-tip the experts. Voting closes at 4pm (AEST) on Friday, so make sure you check back after then to see the final results.

    On to the tips!

    Mike Tuckerman

    Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City

    Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
    Roar. Thomas Broich dropped a bombshell in midweek when he revealed he would no longer be at Brisbane Roar next season. With the side itching for revenge following last year’s semi-final defeat to the Wanderers, they have plenty of reasons to fire at home against a team they drew twice with and beat once during the regular season.

    Brisbane Roar player Thomas Broich

    Melbourne City vs Perth Glory
    City. Last week’s crazy clash between these two sides in Perth was as entertaining as it gets, but it’s now all on the line in this sudden-death showdown. Both teams have shown they can score goals, but victory here will surely rest on who can shore up their defence. City deserve to go in as slight favourites – but only just.

    Matt Connellan

    Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory

    Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
    Brisbane. This one is so tough to call. Brisbane will remember throwing it away against the same opposition last season, but they’ll have the added motivation of wanting to send Roar legend Thomas Broich out on a high. The Wanderers, meanwhile, have the carrot of a potential grand final qualifier against Sydney FC. Brisbane are the classier outfit, so I’ll back them in a game with plenty of goals.

    Melbourne City vs Perth Glory
    Perth. Can we use last week’s ding-dong battle as a form guide? Either way, I think Perth will be too good, even though they’re away from home. They’ll just have to keep Liam Reddy under lock and key in his penalty area, lest we see any brain farts like last week’s.

    City have shown a soft underbelly all season, and I expect Perth to be robust and throw City right out of their stride. I also believe Dean Bouzanis is a mistake waiting to happen. He’s great on the ball, but he’s a goalkeeper for Pete’s sake. And he’s awful with his hands and in the air.

    Glory are at some pretty tantalising odds, for those of you partial to a flutter. I am, and I’m on them.

    Janek Speight

    Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City

    Vas Venkatramani

    Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City

    Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
    Brisbane. The Wanderers have a hit a stumbling block – but their fans can be relieved it happened before the finals. Not beating either the Victory or Adelaide United essentially cost them a finals clash at home. Instead, they head north to face a Brisbane team unbeaten at home since late February.

    The Roar held on for a crucial three points against the Phoenix last week in a game that clearly displayed their defensive susceptibility. While the Wanderers are entirely capable of breaking their late season funk when it matters, Brisbane at home will be favoured, but don’t be surprised if extra-time, and even penalties, are required to break this pair.

    Melbourne City vs Perth Glory
    City. Out of the six remaining, Melbourne City’s form line is the most worrying, with only a narrow 1-0 win over Adelaide from their last four. However, City were able to salvage a home finals berth from the Glory’s grasp after coming down from 4-1 to a 5-4 loss – sufficient to bring the Glory back east. That may well kickstart City out of their indifferent form of late.

    tim-cahill-melbourne-city-a-league-football-2016-tall

    Perth are notorious for their struggles on the road and will need to bolster their defensive quality after conceding three goals in 15 minutes. That said, City themselves conceded five, which means Sunday’s clash could be a battle of open attack. Neither side will pose much of a threat to either Sydney FC or Melbourne Victory.

    Daniel Jeffrey

    Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City

    Brisbane Roar vs Western Sydney Wanderers
    Brisbane. The Wanderers’ late-season surge has wobbled in recent weeks and a draw against Adelaide is hardly the perfect warm-up for a sudden-death final. The Roar’s stunning comeback against the Phoenix, including a reminder from Brett Holman of the former Socceroo’s lingering class, has them favourites to push into the second week of the finals.

    Melbourne City vs Perth Glory
    City. They might have conceded five against Perth last week, but I get the feeling City’s class players – Tim Cahill and Bruno Fornaroli in particular – will rise to the occasion to set up a do-or-die derby final against the Victory. Plus, if Liam Reddy decides to pretend he’s playing a real-life version of FIFA again, there’s no chance of the Glory keeping a clean sheet.

    Elimination Finals Mike Matt Janek Vas Daniel The Crowd
    BRI v WSW BRI BRI BRI BRI BRI BRI
    MLC v PER MLC PER MLC MLC MLC MLC
    Last week 4 4 5 3 4 4
    Total 63 58 59 68 70 64