The Finals - Sydney FC

Written off by many mid-season the Sky Blues have shown plenty of fight, especially since Vitezslav Lavicka announced this would be his last season at the club.

Sydney FC Regular season position: 5th Points: 38

Finals Opponent: Wellington Phoenix Head to head: Sydney FC 8 wins, Phoenix 7 wins, 1 draw Last five: WWLLL

The story so far v Wellington Phoenix Bottom line - the story isn-t good.

Three matches this year have yielded three losses for the Sky Blues and the 4-2 and 2-1 losses in Wellington have included some of their worst moments of the season.

The 4-2 loss was just that, a heavy loss, but it was the 2-1 loss which could have been prevented. Depending on how you saw it, the match featured ether brilliant goal from Tim Brown or a shocking failure from Liam Reddy, who was beaten from beyond halfway in the Sydney goal.

The good news - their performance was much better when they hosted the Nix just a few weeks ago, when they only lost 1-0 and their form has been even better since, while the Phoenix have dropped away considerably.

This game could come down to a battle of two strikers. Bruno Cazarine has a happy knack of scoring against the Phoenix and will look to hit the target with his head, while Sydney have to be wary of Paul Ifill, who has netted three times in three matches between the two.

Key Player: Nick Carle - This season has arguably been Carle-s best since collecting the Johnny Warren Medal way back in 2007 and he has been the rock Sydney have leaned on in midfield.

His incisive runs and passing game have made him the leading assist giver for the Sky Blues and his five goals have been handy. His attacking presence on the ball and behind the strikers has in part been responsible for Sydney FC-s rise and makes him one of the most important members of the squad.

X Factor: Joel Chianese - Mark Bridge, Terry Antonis and Dimitry Petratos were all given their chance, but this quick as a whip striker is the one who has grasped his..

Blessed with speed and an ability to get in behind the line, Chianese has proven to be a livewire and competent finisher in a Sydney side who had been struggling for goals. He alone has the pace and skill to trouble any defence in the A-League.

Key Stats: Their attack may be beginning to hit its straps but their defence is another issue. 42 goals conceded makes their defence the worst in the top six and they are the only team to make the finals with a negative goal difference (-5).

Bunnies: A possible second week clash with Perth Glory would have the Sky Blues salivating. They haven-t lost to them at all in their last eight matches, dating back to November 2009 and have beaten them twice this year, drawing the other match.

Bogey side: While a cross-country trip holds no fears, the short one up the F3 does. Sydney FC have not beat local rivals the Mariners since December of 2009 in a six match streak, where they have drawn three.

Straight Shooting: Written off by many mid-season the Sky Blues have shown plenty of fight, especially since Vitezslav Lavicka announced this would be his last season at the club.

It might just have been a masterstroke. The Sydney players aren-t shy about showing their affection for their manager and have rather bizarrely openly stated they would love to win the championship for him.

That motivation when coupled with a surging side who have got their swagger back means they can account for the Phoenix and anyone else who might be in their way.