The run home: predicting the Hyundai A-League's final four rounds

We are down to the final four rounds of the Hyundai A-League regular season and we are set for a thrilling conclusion with plenty still to play for.

The battle for the Premiership, a spot in the top two and the race for fourth are still all up for grabs, which should ensure plenty of tension and drama on the run home.

READ: How to watch Hyundai A-League Round 24
WATCH: Every goal from Round 23 

Here were take a look at what's ahead for every Hyundai A-League club, what they need to do to reach their desired destination and their likely finish.

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Perth Glory

Current position: 1st on 51 points

What’s left? - Mariners (a), Jets (h), Sydney FC (a), Phoenix (h)

What they need to do

With a finals spot already locked in and a top-two finish seemingly a formality, Glory’s focus will be on securing their first-ever piece of Hyundai A-League silverware and lifting the Premiers’ Plate.

Tony Popovic’s men need seven points over the last four games to ensure they finish on top, although their superior goal difference means two wins will likely be enough.

Likely outcome

Given the Mariners’ struggles and Glory’s phenomenal record against the Jets, it’s hard to see anything but two wins over the next fortnight.

Even though their final two games appear much tougher propositions, Perth should do enough to ensure Popovic’s maiden season at the helm ends with – at least – a Premiership.

Tony Popovic
Perth Glory boss Tony Popovic

Sydney FC

Current position: 2nd on 45 points

What’s left? - Victory (h), Wanderers (a), Glory (h), Jets (a)

What they need to do

The Sky Blues still believe they can chase down Glory to retain their Premiership, but will be relying on other results to go their way.

It goes without saying they must take maximum points over the next fortnight to cash-in on any potential Glory slip-up. If that’s the case it would then set-up a huge clash against Perth in Round 26.

Likely outcome

Saturday night’s Big Blue against Victory could well define where Sydney FC finish. Win and a top-two spot is almost assured, but a defeat would make things difficult. Given their record against Victory this season – losing both previous meetings 2-1 – a win at the SCG is far from a formality.

Steve Corica’s side will be favourites to win their two tricky away games on the run home either side of the visit of Perth, so they might just have enough in the bank to get into second spot.

Sydney FC celebrate a goal
Sydney FC celebrate a goal

Melbourne Victory

Current position: 3rd on 44 points

What’s left? - Sydney FC (a), Mariners (h), Adelaide (a), Wanderers (a)

What they need to do

Like Sydney FC, Victory can still mathematically finish as Premiers, but would be relying on a big capitulation from the Glory.

Their main focus will likely be on overcoming the Sky Blues at the SCG on Saturday night to finish in the top-two and grab an AFC Champions League spot as well as a home Grand Final qualifier.

Likely outcome

You can never write off Kevin Muscat’s men. But three tough interstate trips over the final four games, mixed in with their AFC Champions League commitments, means it’s a difficult run-in to the finals.

While a win over Sydney FC could change the landscape, away games against fierce rivals Adelaide and a rejuvenated Wanderers might see them end the regular season in third.

Melbourne Victory celebrate a goal
Melbourne Victory will be looking to leapfrog Sydney FC into the top two

Wellington Phoenix

Current position: 4th on 37 points

What’s left? - Adelaide (a), Roar (a), City (h), Glory (a)

What they need to do

With a three-point gap to Adelaide and four to City, Phoenix will probably need two wins to ensure they stay fourth and secure a home Elimination Final.

Mark Rudan’s side are on the road for three of their final four games and have to play both of the teams directly below them on the ladder, making for an intriguing race for fourth spot.

Likely outcome

Despite their demanding finish to the regular season, Phoenix are in the box seat for fourth due to their impressive form and goal-scoring ability, with three wins and 15 goals over the last three weeks.

While the trip to Adelaide could prove pivotal, you would expect them to beat strugglers Roar and out-of-sorts City over the following fortnight to have enough points in the bank for fourth spot ahead of their final-round trip to Perth.

Roy Krishna celebrates a goal.
Roy Krishna has been a revelation for Wellington

Adelaide United

Current position: 5th on 34 points

What’s left? - Phoenix (h), City (a), Victory (h), Roar (a)

What they need to do

With eight points between themselves and the seventh-placed Jets, the Reds need just five points to ensure they will feature in the Finals Series.

But it’s up rather than down that Marco Kurz’s men will be looking, meaning they need to amass four points more than the Phoenix manage over the next four rounds to clinch a top-four finish.

Likely outcome

Much will depend on the result between the Reds and Phoenix at Coopers Stadium this weekend. If Adelaide can topple Wellington then they are right in the conversation for a fourth-placed finish.

The visit of Victory in Round 26 will be a mammoth task and current form would suggest the Reds may have to settle for fifth spot come the end of Round 27.

Adelaide United celebrate a goal.
Craig Goodwin and Isaias celebrate the win over the Mariners on Sunday

Melbourne City

Current position: 6th on 33 points

What’s left? - Roar (h), Adelaide (h), Phoenix (a), Mariners (h)

What they need to do

The equation is simple for Warren Joyce’s men. Win two of their last four games and they will definitely play in the finals.

But they can still finish in the top four – with arguably the best run home of all the contenders – but will probably need at least three wins to get there.

Likely outcome

You would expect City to take maximum points from their clashes against the league’s bottom two clubs, which bookend matches against the two sides directly above them.

While City can still finish anywhere from fourth to seventh, their inconsistent form of late makes it hard to see them going on a winning run for the rest of the regular season. 

The goals of Jamie Maclaren could be key for City on the run home

Newcastle Jets

Current position: 7th on 26 points

What’s left? - Wanderers (h), Glory (a), Roar (a), Sydney FC (h)

What they need to do

The Jets need to win all four of their remaining fixtures just to have the slightest chance of sneaking into the top six.

It’s not impossible but seems highly improbable, with even Jets coach Ernie Merrick conceding this week his side won’t feature in the Finals Series.

Likely outcome

They made the Grand Final last season and appeared to be riding a wave of momentum, but the Jets are likely to end one spot outside of the playoff places.

While they won’t feature in the finals, they could have a say in the destination of the Premiership, with clashes against Perth and Sydney FC in coming weeks.

Ernie Merrick
There's unlikely to be any finals football for Ernie Merrick's Jets

Western Sydney Wanderers

Current position: 8th on 23 points

What’s left? - Jets (a), Sydney FC (h), Mariners (a), Victory (h)

What they need to do

If only the Wanderers had produced their form of the last six weeks from the start of the season, things could be totally different for Markus Babbel’s men.

They need to win all of their remaining games and then pray that Melbourne City only manage one point from their last four to sneak into the six.

Likely outcome

With four wins from their last six games, the Wanderers are one of the form teams of the competition and appear to have the desire to keep that run going over the next month.

With finals basically out of the equation, getting some Derby bragging rights over Sydney FC will be their main goal on the run home. If they beat the Jets on Saturday night a seventh-placed finish seems likely.

Wanderers celebrate Mitch Duke goal
The Wanderers are one of the form teams of the Hyundai A-League

Brisbane Roar

Current position: 9th on 15 points

What’s left? - City (a), Phoenix (h), Jets (h), Adelaide (h)

What they need to do

Roar are still a chance to catch the Wanderers above them, but would need to win at least three – but probably all – of their remaining games to make that happen.

They could still have a say in the make-up of the top six, with games to come against City, the Reds and Phoenix.

Likely outcome

Brisbane have been in ninth spot on the ladder for much of the campaign and it appears that’s the position they will finish. It’s all about pride for Darren Davies’ troops over the next month.

Three straight games at Suncorp Stadium to end the regular season offers the chance to potentially snare a few more wins and give the home fans some hope heading into the 2019/20 campaign.

Darren Davies
It's been a tough season for the Roar and interim boss Darren Davies

Central Coast Mariners

Current position: 10th on 10 points

What’s left? - Glory (h), Victory (a), Wanderers (h), City (a)

What they need to do

Well out of the finals race, the Mariners' main focus will be on trying to overtake the Roar and avoid a second successive wooden spoon.

With a five-point gap to Brisbane, Alen Stajcic’s side must find a way to win at least two of their last four games.

Likely outcome

While there have been some encouraging signs since Stajcic took the reins in Gosford three weeks ago, it’s hard to see much joy for the Mariners on the run home.

They will be keen to finish on a high, especially in front of their home fans in Round 26 against the Wanderers, while they are unbeaten against City, the side they’ll face on the final weekend. But it’s hard to see them doing enough to leapfrog Brisbane and avoid ‘winning’ another spoon.

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