We are down to the final four in the 2021 A-League Finals Series ahead of this weekend’s Semi Finals.
For the first time since the A-League went to its current six-team format, both away sides won the Elimination Finals.
That set up two enticing A-League Semi Finals this weekend as Sydney FC and Melbourne City enter the fray after their first round byes.
We have previewed both matches below including our best bets for both fixtures.
Saturday 19 June, 7:05pm, Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Sydney FC 2 – Adelaide 1
Adelaide United will be full of confidence after going up to Brisbane and becoming the first team to defeat the Roar in a home final thanks to a brace from striker Tomi Juric.
Their next assignment will be even tougher with a visit to face a red-hot Sydney FC side that is seeking its third straight A-League Championship.
With the addition of marquee striker Adam Le Fondre, the Sky Blues have the firepower to overcome the absence of their Socceroos and are on a five match winning streak which includes four clean sheets.
Thanks to the A-League fixturing, this will be the third time these sides have faced off in under two months with the most recent meeting finishing 4-1 in favour of Sydney FC.
Le Fondre scored a brace in that meeting and will be the main danger man here and if Adelaide allow him and his teammates as many chances as they did in Brisbane, this could turn into a rout.
Even without their leader Craig Goodwin, Adelaide still has the attacking talent to get after Sydney as well and a healthy Juric is a huge asset for Adelaide.
Sydney should take care of business inside 90 minutes but I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet.
SGM: Sydney FC to Win & Both Teams to Score @ $3.13
Sunday 20 June, 4:05pm, Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Melbourne City 2 – Macarthur 0
Macarthur is one win away from continuing one of the A-League’s strangest pieces of history.
Every Sydney based club has made the Grand Final in its debut season and the Bulls are a much better chance to reach next Saturday’s decider than the market would suggest.
The big question is how much they will have left in the tank after a draining 2-0 extra time win in Gosford last Saturday night where they played 45 minutes with 10 men.
Melbourne City is hardly in Premiership winning form since claiming regular season honours with three of its key players in the Middle East on Socceroos duties.
Their final three regular season games yielded a solitary point and manager Patrick Kisnorbo will be ruing a pair of injuries suffered in their final match against the Newcastle Jets.
Attacker Andrew Nabbout and veteran utility Rostyn Griffiths both left that match early and any more absences may just be too much for City to overcome.
Both sides will be happy to head into this match with a fairly defensive approach and one goal may be enough to win it.
There is value on offer for Macarthur in the 90 minutes market ($6.20) but I’ll back a slightly safer option and back a low scoring match.
Back Under 2.5 Goals @ $2.25
We are down to the final four teams in the A-League season after a pair of drama filled Elimination Finals over the weekend.
It sets up a massive night at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta with the two semis set to take place back to back before Sunday’s Grand Final.
In the early kickoff, it’s Melbourne City with the best chance in club history to claim their first A-League silverware when they take on Western United before a 2019 Grand Final rematch between premiers Sydney FC and Perth Glory.
Read on for our previews and best bets for both A-League Semi Finals this week.
Wednesday 26 August, 5:00pm, Bankwest Stadium
Melbourne City 2 – Western United 0
Just over 10 years since their first A-League match as Melbourne Heart, the City side may never have a better chance to claim their first A-League trophy in their history.
They take on a Western United side who will be coming off a draining and bruising Elimination Final win over Brisbane and have the confidence of winning all three meetings against them this season.
With less than 72 hours to recover from that 1-0 over the Roar, courtesy of Allesandro Diamanti’s spectacular free kick, it’s hard to see Western United having the legs to compete with City here.
The only thing that will stop City running away with this one is their own level of composure seeing the finish line so close.
But with the A-League golden boot winner Jamie Maclaren on fire at the moment, he has the ability and the temperament to pull out a moment of magic to get things going.
All three meetings during the season had three or more goals and we’ll also back that outcome here as City’s fresh legs make all the difference late.
Back Melbourne City to Win (90 Minutes) @ $2.02
Back Jamie Maclaren Anytime Goalscorer
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ $1.72
Wednesday 26 August, 8:10pm, Bankwest Stadium
Sydney FC 2 – Perth 0
Sydney’s form since the restart can best be described as patchy as they have sauntered into the finals on the back of their comfortable premiership margin.
Now is the time for them to flick the switch and get ready for crunch time as they try to defend their A-League championship.
Up next is the side they defeated to win the Grand Final in 2019, Perth Glory with the latter coming off a resilient 1-0 win over Wellington on Saturday evening.
Not to mention the fact Sydney has won 12 of their last 14 matches against the Glory, everything about this points to the premiers marching on to the Grand Final, ending their five-match winless run.
Back Sydney FC to Win (90 Minutes) @ $1.91
Back Both Teams to Score @ $1.62
The A-League Semi Finals bring the top two sides into the mix and Perth will be eager to show that week off did nothing to slow their momentum.
They will take on Adelaide United as they look to make their first A-League Grand Final since their 2012 loss in Brisbane and Tony Popovic’s fourth as a manager since 2013.
In the other semi final we get another Big Blue as Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory try to replay that dramatic, gripping game from last April.
Check out our previews and plays for both A-League Semi Finals this weekend.
Friday 10 May, 8:30pm, HBF Park
Perth 3 – Adelaide 3 (Perth Wins 5-4 on Penalties)
Just five days after playing 120 minutes against Melbourne City, Adelaide now has to travel to Perth and take on a Glory side that went into the finals on a massive high and fresh off a weekend off.
Only twice in A-League history has the Premiership winner not made the Grand Final, the first season with Adelaide United and last year with Sydney FC, so the numbers certainly favour the Glory to advance here.
During the regular season, Adelaide did not score a single goal against Perth and they did not exactly look too threatening against City in the Elimination Final.
Marco Kurz has always preached fitness for his team and they can take it to Perth but if the Glory get on the scoreboard early, this could get ugly.
Bottom line is I have zero faith in Adelaide’s ability to score here so I’ll back Perth to win, keep a clean sheet and lock in a home grand final.
Back Perth to Win to Nil @ $2.70
Sunday 12 May, 7:00pm, Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Sydney FC 6 – Melbourne Victory 1
This will be the 50th A-League meeting between these two powerhouse clubs as Sydney and Melbourne both back up from midweek Champions League engagements.
Sydney has the edge playing at home for this game having ended a three game losing run to the Victory last month, that streak included their memorable 3-2 Semi Final last season.
Because of that, you know the Victory will go into this clash full of confidence, especially since they have perhaps the biggest x-factor in this game in Ola Toivonen.
While both sides will have their chances, I’m expecting extra time in this game as they both struggle to pull ahead.
Draw (90 Minutes) @ $3.30
We are down to the final four in the 2017-2018 A-League Season after Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United saw their seasons ended last weekend.
Two more sides begin their holidays this weekend as Sydney FC and Newcastle enter the fray after earning a bye week.
All eyes will be on Besart Berisha though and whether or not he can replicate his miraculous match winning bicycle kick against Adelaide.
Read on for our previews and predictions for the A-League Semi-Finals.
Friday 27 April, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle Jets 2 – Melbourne City 1
Any concerns over the Jets and their ability to flick the switch ahead of the finals was put to bed with their ruthless destruction of Central Coast in Round 27.
They will find themselves ruing the draw however as they drew the toughest possible opponent from last week’s Elimination Finals.
Melbourne City has won the two meetings in Newcastle this season with a 2-2 draw in Melbourne as the third contest.
We saw the attacking capability of Melbourne City last week against Brisbane even if they were quite wasteful in front of goal, missing several chances to put the Roar away.
They will need to be much more efficient with their chances this weekend if they want to spring an upset, they will still be feeling the pressure in this match as they look for their first Grand Final in team history.
What Ernie Merrick has done with this team is nothing short of phenomenal this season but unfortunately for me the fairytale ends here as Melbourne has the firepower to shoot them down.
Back Melbourne City to Qualify @ $1.90
Saturday 28 April, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC 2 – Melbourne Victory 3 (A.E.T)
A fourth and final Big Blue for the 2017-2018 A-League season and a rematch of last season’s Grand Final.
These teams met a fortnight ago at Allianz as Sydney raised the Premiers’ Plate and extended their unbeaten run in this fixture to eight matches.
Victory have had just two draws in that time after 90 minutes, in February 2016 and last year’s Grand Final which was decided on penalties.
If the Victory are going to have any hope of springing a massive upset, they need their forwards to fire and take advantage of the opportunities given to them.
Besart Berisha is the man made for the A-League Finals and I like his chances of finding the net but Sydney should still have too much quality to drop this game.
Back Sydney FC to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $3.10
The 2017 A-League Semi Finals get underway this weekend and there are now only four teams left in contention for the A-League Championship.
The Brisbane Roar kept alive their campaign with a thrilling shoot-out victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers, while the Perth Glory were simply too good for Melbourne City.
Perth face a much tougher challenge against a dominant Sydney FC this weekend and the Roar will need to improve their lacklustre record in Melbourne to account for the Melbourne Victory.
We have closely analysed both games set to take place this weekend and our 2017 A-League Semi-Finals tips can be found below.
Saturday 29 April, 7:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC have been the team to beat throughout the A-League season and it is no surprise that they will start this clash as clear favourites.
Sydney FC have only lost the one game this season and they have recorded comfortable wins in their past four games against the Perth Glory.
They have won 10 of their past 13 games as home favourites and really do look as though they will be extremely tough to beat.
Perth head into this clash on the back of three straight victories and they have found form at the right time, but beating Sydney in Sydney is a very tough assignment.
The Glory have won three of their past 11 games as away underdogs, but their record against Sydney really not does inspire a great deal of confidence.
Sydney FC will be the first side to book a place in the A-League Grand Final and they should do so in a very comfortable fashion.
Back Sydney FC To Beat The Line (-1 Goal)
Sunday 30 April, 5:00pm, AAMI Park
This looks likely to be the more competitive semi-final, but Melbourne Victory are still dominant favourites to account for the Brisbane Roar.
Melbourne have struggled for consistency so far this season, but one position in which they have thrived is as home favourites and they are 10-1-3 as home favourites.
Another factor in their favour is their outstanding record against the Brisbane Roar in Melbourne and it has been several seasons since they lost to the Roar in front of their home fans.
The Roar required a penalty shoot-out to beat the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend and they would likely need to improve on that effort to have any chance against the Victory.
Brisbane have won just one of their past eight games as away underdogs and stringing together back-to-back wins has been easier said than done so far this season.
This really is Melbourne’s game to win and they are a safe bet to set-up another Grand Final showdown with Sydney FC>
Back Melbourne Victory To Win @ $1.85
The A-League Semi Finals will decide which two teams meet in the A-League Grand Final.
Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers secured their places in the A-League Semi Finals after finishing first and second on the ladder, while the Brisbane Roar beat the Melbourne Victory in thrilling fashion and Melbourne City were too good for Perth Glory in their respective elimination finals.
The Brisbane Roar are the only team left in the competition that have previously won the A-League Championship and Adelaide United, Melbourne City and the Western Sydney Wanderers are all chasing their first title.
Friday 22 April, 7:35pm, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United 4 - Melbourne City 1
Adelaide United finished the regular season on top of the A-League ladder to claim the Premier’s Plate and they go into their semi final clash with Melbourne City as clear favourites.
Adelaide United have recorded three wins on the trot and in their last game against Melbourne City they proved far too good for their rivals.
The Reds finished the A-League season with a profitable 13-4-3 record as favourites and they were 9-3-2 as the punters elect in front of their home fans at Cooper Stadium.
Melbourne City returned to winning form with a 2-0 victory over Perth Glory – thanks mainly to the outstanding Bruno Fornaroli – and they played some good football in doing so.
Melbourne City finished the regular season with a 4-4-5 record as underdogs for a narrow loss, but their record against Adelaide United as underdogs is excellent and they have two of the past three games played between the two sides.
You can make a case for both teams here and there is data that suggests Adelaide United will prove far too strong for their rivals, but it is tough to discount a team with the talent of Fornaroli and Aaron Mooy and the $3.50 currently on offer does appeal.
Recommended Bet: Back Melbourne City To Win @ $3.50
Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday 24 April, 5:00pm, Pirtek Stadium
Western Sydney Wanderers 5 - Brisbane Roar 4
It has been an incredible fortnight for the Brisbane Roar.
They blew a golden opportunity to win the Premier’s Plate when they were unable to score against the Brisbane Roar in the final game of the regular season before they came from a goal down with less than three minutes remaining to earn their place in the semi finals.
Despite their heroics, the Roar will start this game against the Western Sydney Wanderers as a clear underdogs and their record in this position this season has been very poor.
The Roar won just three of their 14 games away from home this season and their record as away underdogs is a very poor 2-1-6.
The Western Sydney Wanderers have not been the safest betting team in the A-League this season, but they were still a profitable 8-2-4 as home favourites this season and backing them in each of their games against the Roar would have delivered you a very nice profit.
The style of football played by the Wanderers is perfect for the high stakes of finals and they are a safe bet to get the job done this weekend.
Recommended Bet: Back Western Sydney Wanderers To Win @ $2.20