A-League Grand Final Preview - Perth v Sydney - 19 May
Perth have a great chance of completing the Premier’s Plate and Grand Final double this weekend.
Perth Glory vs. Sydney FC – Sunday 6:30pm (AEST) – Optus Stadium
Well, here we have it – one versus two for honours in Sunday’s A-League Grand Final.
Many will argue that Perth and Sydney FC have been the standout teams all season and so, after the regular season rounds and the semis, it is fitting we have the two best performed teams fighting it out.
Perth has the advantage playing at home but how much did last week’s epic penalty shoot out win against Adelaide take out of them? They had the game wrapped up a few times and allowed the Reds to fight back.
Tony Popovic’s side has only lost three matches all season but two of those were against Sydney FC who have a ridiculously good record against them, winning 10 of the past 11 clashes between the sides. Perth’s only win during this span came back in January when they ran out 3-1 winners at HBF Park.
Such has been the dominance of Perth this season though, they finished eight points clear of Sydney on the table and ended up having the best attack and stingiest defence. The Glory attack averaged just over two goals a game this season.
Sydney could not have been more impressive in thrashing the reigning champs Melbourne Victory 6-1 last week and will fancy their chances against a Perth side that hasn’t got the Grand Final experience that this squad has. Remember, a lot of the Sky Blues players were part of Graham Arnold’s title winning side of 2017.
While they have plenty going for them, history isn’t one of those things as only twice in A-League history has a team won the Grand Final from outside their home state.
When it comes to goals, Perth have scored a large part of theirs between the 16th and 30th minutes which spells trouble for Sydney because during that period they have conceded nine goals - 30 percent of their season tally.
And when it comes to goals, Sydney FC’s hitman Adam le Fondre has only played Perth three times but he has scored in each of those games. Off the back of that stat, he is our man in goal scorer markets but don’t write off Chris Ikonomidis either. While Diego Castro gets most of the plaudits from a Glory perspective, Ikonomidis has been just as productive in terms of goals and assists (9g, 5a) while playing two games less.
So the big question is who will win? Can Popovic finally get that A-League Grand Final that he has come close to winning three times before? The Perth crowd will be rocking for their first Grand Final since 2012 and we think that Sydney’s recent travels for Asian Champions League commitments and the mental hurdle of clearing their bitter rivals last week may play against them.
Well, there you have it! Plenty of stats to help you back a winner in the Grand Final this Sunday but in case you are looking for a helping hand, see below for our thoughts.
We are banking on Poppa’s boys doing the double this season and bringing the title to the west for the first time in the A-League era!
Tip: Perth (Win)