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Why the race to the 2018/19 A-League finals will be your best bet

glorycelebrateAs we start to close in on the A-League finals series, here are four teams who could take out the championship trophy.

Perth Glory

Simply put, the Glory are in the box seat for the 2018/19 A-League crown.

Perth have lost just one game all season, with their only defeat coming at the hands of Sydney in their final game before Christmas, meaning they’ve been undefeated so far through 2019.

The Glory have scored the most goals (45) and have conceded the least (20), which shows just how dominant they can be at both ends of the pitch.

Star striker Andy Keogh is third among the league’s top goal scorers with 12 goals in 21 games, and the Glory will be thrilled with his recent decision to re-sign with the club for next season.

Neil Kilkenny has impressed under Tony Popovic and is fourth in the league for assists (5) and third in chances created (42), as he looms as a key contributor to Perth’s post-season.

Home ground advantage could be key for the top of the table side, and given their form so far this season, there aren’t too many other sides capable of defeating them at home.

They’re currently favourites for the A-League trophy, and who could argue with that.

Sydney FC

If there’s anyone who could knock off the Glory at home, at the moment that side is Sydney FC.

The Sky Blues are the side who have handed the Glory their only loss of the season, and would back themselves in once again if they got the chance.

Sydney have been led into second position behind the brilliant work of both Adam Le Fondre and Milos Ninkovic, who are among the league’s leaders in goals and assists.

No A-League player has scored more than Le Fondre’s 14 goals this season, as he continues to terrorise defences week in, week out.

Ninkovic’s six assists are only bettered by Matthew Millar and James Troisi, with teammate Brandon O’Neill close behind him on five.

Two wins in a row has given the Sky Blues some breathing room between themselves and the Victory in third place, with Sydney looking to chase the Glory down over the final few rounds.

Steve Corica’s side have certainly done enough to put their hat in the ring this season, with the Sky Blues listed as second favourites for the trophy.

Melbourne Victory

A-League Rd 19 - Wellington v Melbourne VictoryThe reigning champions will likely need to come from outside the top two to go back-to-back, although if any side could do it, it’s Kevin Muscat’s men.

Boasting the likes of Keisuke Honda (six goals) and Ola Toivonen (10), the pair have impressed during all of their matches, although the Victory would love to see them out on the park a little more often, having only played 12 and 14 of Melbourne’s 21 games respectively.

If you add Kosta Barbarouses (11 goals) and James Troisi (seven assists) to that front quartet, then the Victory have arguably the strongest attacking force in the game, which could set them apart in the finals.

However, Melbourne’s attack has let them down in recent weeks, scoring just three goals in their past four games, and taking only two points from those contests.

The Victory have the big game players in their squad, so count them out at your own peril.

Melbourne City

Despite sitting in fourth in the betting markets, Melbourne City have found the going a little tough of late, and could find themselves struggling to even play finals football.

Since three consecutive wins to start 2019, City have posted just one win and have amassed a total of a measly seven points over the past nine games, and are quickly sliding down the table.

They currently only sit just four points clear of Newcastle in seventh, who have won three of their past five games and are clearly on the up.

Barring Central Coast in last place, no other side has scored fewer goals than City, which could be their downfall if they do in fact make the post-season.

City are currently going in the opposite direction of their parent club Manchester City, who could win as many as four trophies this season, including the Champions League according to Oddschecker.

The way they’re going they’ll be doing well just to make the finals, but once it gets into finals time, it could be anyone’s game, including City’s.

About the author

avatarThis post was written by a Staff Writer for Ultimate A-League

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