Who will place in the A-League's photo finish

Things are hotting up at both ends of the top six with nine sides vying for a spot in the A-League finals and a handful vying for an all-important top-two finish.

Premiers Plate
Here's a look at the home stretch and how it could all unfold over the next month.

1) Brisbane Roar - 1st, 41 points

Remaining fixtures: Melbourne City (A), Sydney FC (H), Newcastle Jets (H), Melbourne Victory (A),

Projected finish: 2nd, 51 points

We're tipping a strong finish from Brisbane Roar, with 10 points from their remaining four matches and a win over Melbourne Victory in the last round should see the Premiers' Plate race go down to the wire.

Just one goal separates the Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers with goal difference a possible tie-breaker.

2) Western Sydney Wanderers - 2nd, 41 points

Remaining fixtures: Adelaide United (H), Melbourne Victory (A), Central Coast Mariners (H), Wellington Phoenix (A)

Projected finish: 1st, 51 points

We're expecting the Premiers' Plate to be decided by goal difference and if the Wanderers can manage a big win against the hapless Mariners in the penultimate round they should pip all comers.

The next two rounds could be title defining, however.

3) Adelaide United - 3rd, 39 points

Remaining fixtures: Western Sydney Wanderers (A), Central Coast Mariners (H), Sydney FC (A), Melbourne City (A),

Projected finish: 3rd, 47 points

The Reds have a tricky run home, facing two of the top four sides. It's been a remarkable turn-around for Guillermo Amor's side this season after picking up just three points in the first eight rounds.

It may not be a Premiers' Plate but if they can continue their rich run of form, the Mariners may be in some strife at Coopers Stadium come Round 25.

4) Melbourne City - 4th, 38 points

Remaining fixtures: Brisbane Roar (H), Wellington Phoenix (H), Perth Glory (A), Adelaide United (H),

Projected finish: 4th, 44 points

Don't expect City to grab a top two berth with their tricky run home including a trip to Perth and clashes against two of the top three.

Three draws and a win in their last four matches should be enough for City to finish fourth although in Aaron Mooy, Bruno Fornaroli and Harry Novillo the goals and wins could flow in the run home.

5) Perth Glory - 5th, 34 points

Remaining fixtures: Wellington Phoenix (A), Newcastle Jets (A), Melbourne City (H), Sydney FC (A)

Projected finish: 5th, 40 points

Next up, Perth Glory face the dreaded eight and-a-half hour flight to take on Wellington Phoenix however, on paper they have the easiest of draws of all the finals contenders.

As the hottest team in the past two months, Glory could conceivably win all four and jump into the top four but three away trips could curtail there hopes.

6) Melbourne Victory - 6th, 33 points

Remaining fixtures: Newcastle Jets (H), Western Sydney Wanderers (H), Wellington Phoenix (A), Brisbane Roar (H),

Projected finish: 6th, 39 points

Despite talk of travel for the AFC Champions League, Victory have three of their last four A-League fixtures at home, which should prove decisive when they hang on for a spot in the finals.

A trip to South Korea three days before their clash with table-topping Brisbane will hurt Kevin Muscat's side, but they can pick up six points against the Phoenix and the Jets. 

7) Sydney FC - 7th, 30 points

Remaining fixtures: Central Coast Mariners (A), Brisbane Roar (A), Adelaide United (H), Perth Glory (H)

Projected finish: 7th, 36 points

Gruelling ACL fixtures, a dip in form and injuries will prove to be too much to handle for Sydney FC. Their domestic fixtures don't help either with clashes against the red-hot Roar and Adelaide in their last four matches.

It looks like a disappointing end to the season for Graham Arnold's side with a resurgent Glory in the final round likely to seal their fate.

8) Newcastle Jets - 8th, 26 points

Remaining fixtures: Melbourne Victory (A), Perth Glory (H), Brisbane Roar (A), Central Coast Mariners (A), 

Projected finish: 8th, 30 points

The Jets have some ground to make up to crack the top six but they won't pick up enough points in their next three games against the Victory, Glory and Roar to threaten.

9) Wellington Phoenix - 9th, 25 points

Remaining fixtures: Perth Glory (H), Melbourne City (A), Melbourne Victory (H), Western Sydney Wanderers (H)

Projected finish: 9th, 28 points

Perhaps the toughest run home of any side, it looks like Wellington's goose is cooked with the only positive being three games at home. The final rounds could be academic with anything other than a win against Perth ruling them out of the finals reckoning.

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4 min read
Published 15 March 2016 at 11:18am
Source: SBS