FOR all intents and purposes, the race for the Premier’s Plate is over.
Sydney FC only need to secure four points from the remaining five games to claim the minor premiership and Melbourne Victory would need to win every single game.
The action at the tail end of the finals frame is much more interesting.
Just three points separates the sixth-placed Wanderers and the eighth-placed Jets. Three teams are vying for that final position and it is all on the line.
This round of action is spread across a fortnight so we have to be patient as it unfolds.
All odds for the 23rd week of the A-League season were provided by Sportsbet.com.au.
Selections for the Round 23 A-League multi:
Sydney FC to beat Central Coast Mariners ($1.25)
Melbourne Victory to defeat Perth Glory ($1.73)
Melbourne City to beat Newcastle Jets ($1.40)
Western Sydney Wanderers to win against the Wellington Phoenix ($1.83)
Sydney FC vs. Central Coast Mariners
Friday, March 10 from 7.50 pm AEDST Allianz Stadium, Sydney
The league leading Sydney FC host the second last placed Central Coast Mariners in a match that looks to be a formality on paper.
The Sky Blues are looking to maintain a sensational run of form which has seen them go eight straight matches without a loss against the Mariners.
Last time out they easily accounted for the Victory in a tremendous performance that all but secured the Premier’s Plate.
This one looks to be a walk in the park for the home side. Sydney FC should beat the Mariners in a canter.
Sydney FC to win – $1.25
Melbourne Victory vs. Perth Glory
Saturday, March 11 from 7.50 pm AEDST, AAMI Park, Melbourne
The second placed Victory host the Perth Glory in the Victorian capital on Saturday night.
The home side is looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Sky Blues last week. The defeat handed the Premier’s Plate to Sydney.
Perth is looking to get its name back on the winner’s list after drawing 3-3 alongside Wellington. The Glory is looking to maintain a sensational run against Melbourne which as seen them go through eight matches undefeated.
We think it is time for the Victory to stand up and be counted. They should get the job done against the visiting westerners.
Melbourne Victory to win – $1.73
Melbourne City vs. Newcastle Jets
Saturday, March 18 from 5 pm AEDST, AAMI Park, Melbourne
A week after the Victory match sees the other Melbourne side hosting Newcastle at AAMI Park.
City got a much needed win last week against the Mariners. The triumph all but locked in a finals finish for Melbourne this year.
The Jets need to win if they are to play finals. Their loss last week to the Roar was bitterly disappointing from a team which simply needed to win.
Despite the desperation that the Jets will no doubt show City should easily account for Newcastle.
Melbourne City to win – $1.40
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Wellington Phoenix
Sunday, March 19 from 7 pm AEDST, Spotless Stadium, Sydney
The most vital match of round 23 takes place at the end of the fortnight as the Phoenix travel across the Tasman to face the Wanderers.
Just two points separates the duo as the Phoenix look to make up ground and snatch a finals position ahead of the Wanderers.
Western Sydney had the opportunity to widen the gap last week against the wooden spoon favourites Adelaide but failed to do so, which means the Phoenix are within striking distance.
We are backing the home side here though. The Wanderers’ class is starting to shine through on the pitch and they should have too much in reserve for the Kiwis.
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