Now that the 2014/15 A league season is over I take a look each team playing in the final series to be played over the next three weeks. It was an interesting season with the Melbourne Victory taking out the Premiers Plate in the final round, the controversy surrounding Perth Glory’s salary cap breach and the downfall of the Asian Champions Western Sydney.
The Victory were by far the best and most exciting team in the league this season, finishing on top with 15 wins 8 draws and 53 points. They broke the record for goals per game, averaging 2.07 beating the previous record of 1.95 set by them. With the emergence of midfielder Fahid Ben Khalfallah and winger Kosta Barbarouses Melbourne Victory have built a solid squad who are ready to win their first championship since 2009 and catch Brisbane’s record of 3.
2. Sydney FC
Runners up to the Victory, Sydney FC are in a good position to make a run at the championship. Finishing 2nd gives them a week off before they play off in the semi-final. Sydney has a lot of firepower heading into the finals with the top goal scorer Marc Janko and striker Shane Smeltz. They will give themselves a great chance to win the championship.
Adelaide will have to play in the first week of the finals, missing out on a top two position by 4 points. After a dominant 4-1 win at home against Melbourne City, they will be confident they can get the win but will have to travel to Sydney in the semis if they do make it which will be no easy task for them.
After a great season, the Phoenix have dropped in form winning only 1 of their last 5 games one of which included a loss at home to Sydney FC which would have given them 2nd place and a week of in the finals. They will have a tough time facing an in form Melbourne City but will have confidence playing in front of the home fans.
City has had an up and down season after being acquired by Manchester City during the off season. The team has had some key additions which have contributed to the success of the team this season such as Aaron Mooy and Eric Paartalu. It’ll be tough having to travel across the ditch to face the Phoenix but give themselves every chance despite a poor performance in the final round of the season.
6. Brisbane Roar
Brisbane earned a spot in the finals due to the Glory being disqualified due to salary cap breaches. The reigning champions will look to defend their title after a pretty poor season by their standards they are given a second chance at playing in the finals.
Predictions for the finals series
Game 1 (Elimination Final): Adelaide United v Brisbane
The home ground advantage of Adelaide and their recent form will prove too much for the Brisbane Roar. Brisbane Roar has not shown much to be picked to win this game, especially since they did not properly qualify for their spot in the finals.
Winner: Adelaide United
Game 2 (Elimination Final): Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City
This game will be a good contest in New Zealand. Despite not having beaten the Phoenix this season, City should go in confident they can get the job done given the Phoenix’s poor form towards the end of the season.
Winner: Melbourne City
Game 3 (Semi Final): Sydney FC v Adelaide United
The first semi-final will be a tight contest. Both teams have shown impressive form over the season but it is hard to go past Sydney FC and Marc Janko, and given the game will be played in Sydney.
Winner: Sydney FC
Game 4 (Semi Final): Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Perhaps the biggest derby since the inception of the second Melbourne club, this game should be fantastic in front of a packed out stadium. Melbourne City has a huge chance to knock off their cross town rivals, Melbourne Victory. However, it will be tough as the Victory have been the best team in the competition and having had recent finals experience (just losing in the semi-finals last year to Brisbane) they should be able to get the job done.
Winner: Melbourne Victory
Game 5 (Grand Final): Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
The two best teams in the season will be expected to play off in the championship decider. Both teams have had a great rivalry over the last 10 years playing in one grand final back in 2010. Both teams shared results over the season, playing out three draws out of their three meetings means this game would be very unpredictable. With both teams fielding teams of stars this should be one of the greatest A League grand finals ever. Victory should be able to get the job done; being the better team all season it is hard to go past them to win the championship.
Winner: Melbourne Victory