The race for the Hyundai A-League top six is heating up as we head into the final three games of the 2017/18 regular season.
While Sydney FC need just a point to secure a historic second straight Premiers’ Plate and the Jets have second spot safely sewn up, the battle for positions in the top four and top six look to be going right down to the wire.
Here’s a look at the run home for the eight clubs still in contention to play finals football next month.
Sydney FC (52 points – GD +37)
To play: Glory (A), Adelaide (H), Victory (H)
Their last-gasp win over the Mariners last weekend – coupled with the Jets’ loss – and Sydney FC’s superior goal difference means one point from the final three games will wrap up the Premiership.
Newcastle Jets (47 points – GD +19)
To play: City (H), Glory (H), Mariners (A)
Despite a first loss in almost two months last Friday, the Jets will finish no lower than second spot and have a home semi-final to look forward to. After a heavy defeat against the Reds, they’ll hope to build some momentum over the next three weeks.
Melbourne City (37 points – GD +5)
To play: Jets (A), Mariners (H), Phoenix (A)
Snapped a four-game winless run in impressive fashion against the Wanderers on the weekend, with key attackers Arzani and Fornaroli showing some excellent signs. With a favourable draw, can almost assure themselves third spot if they can knock off the Jets in the Hunter this weekend.
Melbourne Victory (35 points – GD +4)
To play: Wanderers (H), Phoenix (H), Sydney (A)
Victory’s surge towards the finals hit a speed bump last Sunday, going down to Perth, and now face a battle to hold on to a spot in the top four and a home Elimination Final. Coach Kevin Muscat will hope to have that sewn up before their final round trip to Sydney to face the Sky Blues.
Adelaide United (33 points – GD -2)
To play: Phoenix (H), Sydney (A), Wanderers (A)
Rather than looking over their shoulder, the Reds are probably switching their focus towards getting a top-four berth following their win over Newcastle last time out. Two tough away trips to Sydney in the final two rounds could decide their fate.
Western Sydney Wanderers (30 points – GD -9)
To play: Victory (A), Roar (H), Adelaide (H)
Currently occupying the final spot in the top six, the Wanderers' playoff hopes appears on shaky ground. Have a tough run home too, with the Round 26 clash against Brisbane Roar likely to be decisive.
Brisbane Roar (29 points – GD -6)
To play: Mariners (H), Wanderers (A), Perth (A)
How much will Roar rue missing the chance to jump into the top six after being held to a draw by lowly Wellington on Sunday? The one saving grace for John Aloisi’s side is they have destiny in their own hands, with games against both the Wanderers and Glory to come.
Perth Glory (29 points – GD -13)
To play: Sydney (H), Newcastle (A), Brisbane (H)
Are Glory about to produce their now trademark late-season surge into the top six? A win over Victory last weekend has given them hope and with two home games as well, they might just sneak in. If they can pick up at least a point against Sydney FC on Thursday, Kenny Lowe’s troops will fancy their chances.