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Sydney FC’s Finals Aspirations Kick Off with Mariners Showdown: Form Check & Round 20 Predictions

27 March, 2024

The international break is over and the A-League is back this weekend as we head into the final stretch of the season. Sydney FC are one of the sides looking to finish on a high and cause a stir come finals time, and will be hoping to upset the high flying Central Coast Mariners this weekend. We take a look at the Sky Blues’ form and whether they can make a run for silverware this season.

Sydney timing their run perfectly heading into finals

The talk of the A-League Men’s Championship contenders has centered mostly around Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners, but Sydney FC are quietly mounting a case.

 

Sydney have turned around a corner in the past few months under new boss Ufuk Talay, who has helped not only steady the ship, but heading in the right direction since taking over from Steve Corica.

 

Despite a 2-1 loss to the Phoenix and 1-1 draw with Brisbane in their last two games heading into the international break, Sydney have been much improved in the last few weeks and are in a great position to attack the final stretch of the season.

 

Sydney’s attacking woes were on full show early in the season, but have since showed enormous signs of improvement, scoring in each of their last 13 matches, headlined by the likes of Joe Lolley, Fabio Gomes and Robert Mak, while the form of Anthony Caceres has also been a bright point.

 

Their only real concern lies defensively, having not kept a clean sheet in each of their last eight games, but in those matches, the Sky Blues only lost once – which came against the ‘Nix in Auckland.

 

The Sky Blues now sit four points behind third placed Macarthur FC and fourth placed Melbourne Victory on the ladder, with a game in hand on each of those two teams.

 

Wins in their next two – which includes their game in hand – means they can make serious inroads towards securing a home final with victories.

 

It starts with Central Coast who will be a huge test for Sydney on Saturday night, but incredibly, the Sky Blues are the only team to beat the Mariners since Round 4; a resounding 3-1 victory in Gosford. 

 

They will then take on Perth on the road on Wednesday night, a side that despite their gallant performances, are without a win in their last four games and look set to miss finals yet again.

 

After that, they face Newcastle on the road, Western Sydney at home, Macarthur in Campbelltown and Glory at home, all matches they would fancy themselves in.

 

A home final, and a matchup against either of the top two sides in a semi-final wouldn’t phase a Sky Blues outfit that have already beaten both the Mariners and Wellington this season.

 

In fact, they are the only team in the league to do so this season. Things may be on the up in the Harbour City for Talay’s charges.

 

Around the Grounds: A-League Round 22 preview

Adelaide United vs Western United

The round kicks off at Coopers Stadium with two sides battling for pride at this stage of the season. Adelaide ended a long wait for a win before the international break, while Western United have been much improved despite sitting bottom. 

 

Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets

Melbourne City’s finals hopes are well and truly alive again, as they welcome Newcastle Jets to town. A win for City puts them back into the six for the time being, while the Jets are simply playing for pride. 

 

Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners

Two of the league’s form sides go head-to-head on Saturday night when Sydney take on the Central Coast. Sydney are the only team to beat the Mariners since Round 4, and can bolster their finals hopes with a win at Allianz Stadium. The Mariners, however, need a win to keep pace with league leaders Wellington.

 

Wellington Phoenix vs Brisbane Roar

Wellington will look to edge closer towards the Premiership when they take on a desperate Brisbane Roar outfit at home. A win for the Phoenix will be huge in their hopes of securing a first ever piece of A-League silverware, while Brisbane desperately need a win to stay in the hunt for finals.

 

Melbourne Victory vs Perth Glory

Melbourne Victory will be hoping to bolster their hopes for a top two finish when they take on Perth Glory on Sunday. Victory have been extremely inconsistent over the last couple of months and need a win to keep pace with the top two sides, while Glory’s season is all but over heading into the final run of the campaign. 

 

Macarthur FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers

Two local rivals go head-to-head on Easter Monday when Macarthur FC take on Western Sydney Wanderers. The Bulls are still in the hunt for a top two and a win over the Wanderers would go a long way to keeping their hopes alive. Meanwhile, Western Sydney need a win to bolster their finals hopes. Expect plenty of drama.

 

Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne City

A-League action continues after the weekend with two catch-up games, starting with Central Coast taking on Melbourne City in a Grand Final rematch. This will have huge finals permutations, regardless of their results over the weekend.

 

Perth Glory vs Sydney FC

Perth Glory return home to face Sydney FC on Wednesday night. The Sky Blues can significantly boost their finals chances with a win over Alen Stajcic’s side at HBF Park.

Tips

Adelaide United vs Western United – Draw

 

Melbourne City vs Newcastle Jets – City win

 

Sydney FC vs Central Coast Mariners – Draw

 

Wellington Phoenix vs Brisbane Roar – Phoenix win

 

Melbourne Victory vs Perth Glory – Victory win

 

Macarthur FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers – Macarthur win

 

Central Coast Mariners vs Melbourne City – Draw

 

Perth Glory vs Sydney FC – Sydney win

 

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