Saturday, January 13, 2007

A-League Mid Round 20: and four teams fight for three spots

Melbourne are in and are playing for their finals confidence and motivation. New Zealand and Perth now cannot make the finals.

And central Coast can only make it if... Adelaide lose to Sydney, and then CCM beat Adelaide by say 2.

So that makes the A-League top 4 just about as close as you can get. And this is despite the wide variety in the win - draw - loss and goal difference machinations to get there. 78 games and the next 6 all still make a difference. A quirk of fate means that every game counts even for Melbourne, Perth and New Zealand.

This is the fixture list:
Adelaide United FC vs Sydney FC
Perth Glory FC vs Newcastle Jets FC

Newcastle Jets FC vs Melbourne Victory FC
Queensland Roar FC vs Sydney FC
New Zealand Knights FC vs Perth Glory FC
Central Coast Mariners FC vs Adelaide United FC

Even 2nd placed Sydney with a goal difference of 11 must win one of its two games to make the finals. And the worst case lead up for Queensland would see Adelaide taking win or draw points off Sydney and with Newcastle drawing or beating Perth, this would leave Queensland in 5th and having to beat a desperate Sydney.

And the best case for the Roar would be a Sydney win against Adelaide and a Newcastle loss to Perth. Then a draw against Sydney maybe OK if Newcastle cannot improve its goal difference in its last match against Melbourne. And Melbourne have not lost away this year and they won't want to lose two in a row.

Really this is top draw stuff. Except in the the Top draw Manchester United or Chelsea will win and no-one else will get a look in. Chelsea have won the last two by ploughing in mega dollars and Manchester has the world's biggest sporting franchise. That's why the EPL need so many different cups - to give the other teams something for their fans to dream about.

Then again, Ernie Merrick said today that Melbourne could be the best club side ever to play in Australia. If that goes for next year and the year after.... well that's what new coaches and marque players are for (eh Sydney ;) ).

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