Sunday, February 26, 2012

Prediction: Brisbane will qualify for ACL 2 years in a row... probably enough to keep Ange

The top 2 teams plus the winner of the Grand Final go to the ACL. Unless one of these teams is Wellington (New Zealand is not part of AFC). So, if Wellington finish top 2, the 3rd team goes through. This makes it most likely that CCM and Brisbane will represent Australia again next year. Plus one.

Sorry Jets fans, with 4 weeks left I am calling that the top 2, bound for the ACL next year, will come from the top four of Central Coast Mariners (CCM), Brisbane Roar, Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory.

Current Points Potential Points
CCM 44 59
Brisbane 41 53
Wellington 36 48
Perth 34 46

The remaining games are listed at bottom of this blog.

The key games, '6 pointers', are CCM v Perth on 11 March and CCM v Wellington on 25 March. The results of these games could determine the upside for Perth, Wellington and Brisbane. If CCM wins these games, Brisbane will most likely finish 2nd. If CCM lose both, Brisbane are in with a real chance, or it opens a chance that Wellington could pinch 2nd in the last game at home.

CCM have a game in hand which they play this afternoon against Melbourne Heart. CCM's form has dropped and Heart will be lamenting their late season drop. If Fred is fit Heart may even be favoured. However, CCM have recruited very well.

If the Roar win all four of their games, and CCM only win 3 of 5, it is hard to see Roar's goal difference being caught +20 v +16 for CCM. Roar would win the league. Logically that equation goes all the way down to 1 CCM win and 2 Roar wins and a draw (to ward off Wellington).

If Roar only win 1, Wellington win at least 3 and and CCM lose their remaining games, Wellington win the league. This possible, but a small probability. And if Wellington win all 4, Brisbane would have to do better than 2 wins.

Perth need to win all their games to win, plus CCM would have to lose all games, Roar a maximum of 4 draws or a win and a draw, and Wellington could win 3.

Draws muddy the water. If CCM draw all 5 of their games. Only Roar can beat them and by winning at least 3 times.

I have highlighted Wellington's home (H) and away (A) games, as distance and weather differences will be key for them to deal with.

Brisbane Heart
Gold Coast
CCM Heart
Wellington Gold Coast H
Heart A
Victory A
Perth Adelaide
Gold Coast

My prediction:

- Brisbane will win 2 and draw 1 (7 points). Including a league record 8 or 9 - nil final game against Gold Coast (their last match). Berisha to break the A-League goal scoring record. Mitch Nichols to come 2nd in golden boot.

- CCM will win 2 and draw 1 (7 points).

- Wellington will win 3 (9 points).

- Perth will win 2 (6 points).

This changes if Gold Coast are kicked out of the competition as it will favour CCM (dropped 6 points to them in 3 draws).

This will mean the top 4 will remain in the current order.

And if Brisbane do better, I'll be very happy.

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