A-League Grand Final 2016-17
MATCH UP STATS
A-League Grand Final 2016-17
W-D-L recordSydney FC: 20-6-1Melbourne Victory: 15-4-8
Can SYDNEY FC cap their best-ever domestic campaign with ultimate honours?
That is the question on everybody’s lips ahead of what promises to be a blockbuster A-League Grand Final.
Graham Arnold’s men finished a whopping 17 points clear in the race for the premier’s plate and waltzed past Perth Glory in the semifinals.
The only downer from that 3-0 win was the injury to Bernie Ibini, who limped off late in the game after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Otherwise, the Sky Blues have no selection dramas.
They have conceded only 12 goals all season, and Josh Brillante believes the team’s ability to stop and counter will make all the difference on Sunday.
“Our rest defence has been a key part of our season,” said the Sydney midfielder.
“In transition it can change the game and something we’ve done really well season.
“The way we play with the full backs going forward leaves a lot of space for the opposition wingers.
“So we do that role of rest defence and looking at the transition in making sure if they break we’re there to stop them.
“We’ll concentrate on what we’ll do and won’t stress too much on what they do.
“And hopefully, well actually we know, we’ll put in a good performance.”
Despite being cast in the unfamiliar role of underdogs, Melbourne Victory are not lacking in confidence.
They came through their narrow win over Brisbane Roar unscathed and will have a full squad available for the biggest Big Blue of the season.
Victory have lost all three of their meetings with Sydney in 2016-17, but James Troisi reckons they can penetrate a defence that has leaked only a single goal since February.
“If you look at all our games [against Sydney this year] we’ve had quite a lot of opportunities, we just couldn’t take them,” the former Juventus and Newcastle United forward said on Wednesday.
“I don’t think it’s near impenetrable. They are vulnerable.”
Those comments fall in line with the views of Victory coach Kevin Muscat, who said earlier in the week that there was nothing between the two teams when both were at their best.
“With our attacking line and the support of our midfield and defence we’re definitely going to create chances,” he said.
There are strong concerns about the state of the Allianz Stadium pitch, which will get a good workout during Saturday night’s Super Rugby clash between the Waratahs and the Blues.
But while Troisi admitted the conditions would not be ideal, he insisted there would be no excuses from the visitors’ camp.
“It is what it is. We’ll try and play our style of football on any conditions,” he said.
“It is going to be a bit more difficult.
“It’s a little bit unfortunate. We want to play on good pitches week in, week out.
“We’ll adjust and deal with it. It’s the same for both teams.”
Sydney FC vs. Melbourne Victory team lineups
Possible Sydney FC XI: Danny Vukovic; Rhyan Grant, Alex Wilkinson, Jordy Buijs, Michael Zullo; Brandon O’Neill, Joshua Brillante; Filip Holosko, Alex Brosque, Milos Ninkovic; Bobo.
Possible Melbourne Victory XI: Lawrence Thomas; Jason Geria, James Donachie, Alan Baro, Daniel Georgievski; Carl Valeri, Leigh Broxham; Marco Rojas, James Troisi, Fahid Ben Khalfallah; Besart Berisha.
Marco Rojas player specials
- First Victory goalscorer – +650 at Sportsbet
- Anytime goalscorer/Victory win – +900 at William Hill
- First match goalscorer – +1200 at Sportsbet
- Score in the first 10 minutes – +3300 at William Hill
- Score a hat-trick – +25000 at Sportsbet
If the Victory are to spring an upset, one might tip Besart Berisha to be the man of the hour.
The Albanian striker took out the A-League golden boot this season with 20 goals, and it would have been more if not for the occasional calamity from the penalty spot.
But he was well held by the Sydney back line throughout the home-and-away season, failing to hit the score sheet even once.
Alex Wilkinson and company will be all over him again on Sunday, so Melbourne may have to find another route to goal.
Rojas, after some initial teething problems, has enjoyed a superb campaign on his return to the A-League.
With 12 goals and 11 assists for the term, he is an excellent option for punters who lack confidence in the more obvious first goalscorer picks.
A-League Grand Final match tips
- Total goals under 2.5 – +112 at William Hill
- Draw at half-time – +130 at Bet365
- Melbourne Victory to lift the trophy – +210 at Bet365
There are two things good punters look for when sizing up a bet: likelihood and value.
While Sydney FC are the most likely winners here, all the value is with the Victory.
Some ordinary form at the tail end of the regular season has seen their odds blow way out beyond where they should be.
But the sense of occasion, the head-to-head finals record, a chopped-up track – all could work in Melbourne’s favour.
By all means stick with the Sky Blues if you want a ‘safe’ bet, but it is not the visitors who are under the most pressure to perform.
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