A-League Round 25 action has a large degree of unknown surrounding it as numerous states start to shut down their borders due to COVID-19.
Western Australia and South Australia have already closed their borders, meaning Perth Glory and Adelaide United can’t play any more home games, while it’s likely that New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland will follow in the coming days or weeks.
As a result, the only way the A-League can complete their regular season and finals series as scheduled is to move all teams and games to one state in a bid to isolate all squads and staff.
There’s immense uncertainty in regards to how the competition proceeds, but for the time being we’ll take a look at the A-League Round 25 fixtures that are currently scheduled for this upcoming weekend.
Melbourne City vs Adelaide United
Date: Friday March 27
Time: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Last 5 H2H: Adelaide 3-1 (one draw)
Adelaide have been in horrendous form and now must deal with the fact they won’t have any more home games for the remainder of the season. The Reds didn’t play this past weekend and are coming off 5-1 and 3-0 defeats in their last two games against Western United and Newcastle Jets.
City meanwhile could play three games in a week, following their 4-2 win over the Mariners and upcoming clash with Newcastle on Monday night. City have created a nice four-point buffer in second spot, although they’ve played two games more than Wellington, who are currently in quarantine. With Jamie Maclaren on fire, netting a hat-trick against the Jets, City are the clear favourites against a struggling Adelaide outfit.
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets
Date: Saturday March 28
Time: 5.00pm AEDT
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Last 5 H2H: Jets 3-1 (one draw)
Another nightmare season is almost over for the Mariners, who are currently on a club record 10-game losing run and are one defeat away from equalling the all-time record currently held by New Zealand Knights.
Central Coast started the season in encouraging fashion and by Christmas they were well within finals contention, but 2020 has been disastrous for the club and they are now almost certain to pick up another wooden spoon. Newcastle meanwhile were on a six-match unbeaten run, which coincided with the arrival of new coach Carl Robinson, but their slim finals chances took a hit when they lost to Brisbane 1-0 on Friday, failing to register a single shot on target. In saying that, the Jets should still be far too strong for a Mariners side in shambles at the moment.
Brisbane Roar vs Sydney FC
Date: Saturday March 28
Time: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Last 5 H2H: Sydney 3-2
Undoubtedly the match of the round as in-form Brisbane square off against runaway leaders and defending premiers Sydney. After a slow start to the season, Brisbane have roared (pardon the pun) to life since the start of 2020, surging to fourth spot on the ladder and almost ensuring themselves a finals spot in the process. Brisbane are eight points clear of seventh after their 1-0 win over Newcastle and will fancy themselves of scoring an upset over Sydney on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues remain eight points clear at the top of the table with two games in hand after their 1-1 draw with the Wanderers in the Sydney Derby on Saturday night. However, with the Premier’s Plate wrapped up and with zero atmosphere, you’ve got to wonder if Sydney are fully focused on these types of games at the moment. It’s an excellent chance for Brisbane to continue their positive momentum in A-League Round 25 and lock down a finals spot.
Western United vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date: Sunday March 29
Time: 4.00pm AEDT
Venue: Mars Stadium
H2H: United 1-0 (one draw)
United’s clash with Perth in Western Australia was called off on Monday night, but Mark Rudan’s side still remain in the top six as they continue to target a finals spot in their first season in the A-League. After a mid-season slump, United are back on track with big 6-2 and 5-1 wins over Central Coast and Adelaide in their last two matches.
Meanwhile, the Wanderers are desperate for all three points as they too chase a place in the finals, with their 1-1 draw with Sydney FC on Saturday moving them to within one point of United in sixth. It’s a huge game with enormous finals implications, but if United can bring the same sort of form to this game like they did against Adelaide and Central Coast, they’ll be hard to beat.