Sunday’s twilight grand final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC pits two teams with historically stark differences in their levels of success up against each other.
In this round preview, I’m going to try to do things a little differently. Instead of looking at a whole match and predicting the result, I am going to discuss the smaller battles of the round.
Team with the most to gain – Newcastle Jets
I cannot recall the last time the Jets have been in a finals place at Christmas time, but after a slow start followed by a small amount of form, the Jets have a real chance to put themselves a game clear in the six after 12 rounds against the Nix this week, with major table rivals Perth and Western Sydney facing difficult away trips.
Team with the most to lose – Melbourne City
Claiming only one win in five, and only taking two points against title rivals in the last three games, City have fallen out of the Champions League places for the first time this season.
With all three teams above them playing bottom four sides, City could fall more than a game outside the top three with a loss at home to the struggling Glory, and then you would really feel as if City are drifting out of touch with the title race.
What each team wants from this round – apart from 3 points!
Brisbane – A goal to Tommy Oar. All things are looking up at Lang Park, playing good football and sitting pretty on the table, however with a talent like Oar to have not of scored a goal yet is a waste. A goal this week could kickstart his second stint at the Roar.
Western Sydney – A solid Vedran Janjetovic debut. After a spectacular move from their crosstown rivals, the Wanderers will hope the ex-Sky Blue can solve their goal keeping woes. A good start is crucial.
Newcastle – Kokko to return and score. The Jets need a strong No.9, and Kokko can do that, all they need is for him to play, and a goal on Boxing Day would be a nice little present.
Wellington – The best of Gui. Finkler hasn’t shown his best for the strugging Nix, if they can get a fraction of what the Victory got from him, it will go a long way towards their mid-season resurrection. Any game now.
Adelaide – The same as last time. If Adelaide can produce what they did last time they played Sydney, they will go a long way to capturing their second win. They just need to finish.
Sydney – a Vedran shocker. I know, it seems petty, but does anyone really think that any Sydney fans want anything different?
City – A quiet night for Dean Bouzanis. City haven’t shipped many goals this season, although a lot can be down to the opposition’s wastefulness. City have allowed too many chances. If a returned Jakobsen can fix the unsecure defence, Bouzanis would be hopping for a boring night for a change.
Perth – Continued AAMI park form. The Glory are struggling, and things aren’t getting any easier this week, although they would be hoping to reproduce their last two sturdy performances at AAMi park, a 3-2 win (City) and 1-1 (Victory).
Victory – A James Troisi goal. how has a player with so many shots and such form not scored yet? If Troisi could snag a goal against the traditionally leaky Mariners, he could kickstart some scoring form to replicate his allround form this season.
Central Coast – Competitiveness! The mariners seem very unlikely victors this week, however they will likely want a mostly competitive performance, and who knows, maybe Santa can give Okon a miracle, but I think Santa may be busy trying to work his own miracle, against Devere.