Grand Final Fantasy Preview

This article will give you a quick overview of the news and talking points heading into the Grand Final. I recommend reading through the official squads named for the match.

Join in the weekly Beamly Fantasy A-League chatheld 2pm Eastern on Fridays. Here you can discuss your picks and ask for recommendations from myself and other fantasy coaches. Simply click the above link at the appropriate time to join in.

You can also contact me directly on Twitter, or by using the comments section at the bottom of the page.

 

Team News

  • Melbourne Victory have no new concerns, with Jordan Brown and Nathan Coe both unavailable through injury.
  • Sydney FC also have no new concerns. Ali AbbasNick CarleCorey Gameiro and Sasa Ognenovski are all unavailable due to season-ending injuries, while George Blackwood is with the Young Socceroos.

 

Talking Points

Finals Format

The Grand Final is a one-off match where there must be a winner on the day, meaning 30 minutes of extra time if the match ends in a draw, and then a penalty shootout if the teams still cannot be separated. Points scored in extra time do count in Fantasy A-League, but penalties scored / missed / saved in a shootout do not.

This week coaches have unlimited transfers and can pick up to 8 players from 1 team.

Players from teams besides Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC will not score points this round.

 

Melbourne Victory (1st) vs Sydney FC (2nd)

Unsurprisingly, the top 2 teams this season will play off for the Championship. Both sides won by 3 goals last week in matches that, while more even than the scorelines suggested, saw the more clinical team advance.

 

Predicted Line-ups

Expect the Victory to field the same starting XI as against Melbourne City: Lawrence Thomas in goals, Nick Ansell and Matthieu Delpierre in central defence, Leigh Broxham and Daniel Georgievski as the full backs, Carl ValeriMark Milligan and Gui Finkler in midfield, and Fahid Ben KhalfallahKosta Barbarouses and Besart Berisha in attack. Possible changes could be Jason Geria in at right back for Broxham, and Archie Thompson starting over Barbarouses.

Likewise, Sydney’s line-up is fairly settled. Vedran Janjetovic will start in goals, protected by centre backs Jacques Faty and Matt Jurman and full backs Seb Ryall and Nikola PetkovicMilos Dimitrijevic and Mickael Tavares will sit deeper in midfield while Bernie IbiniAlex Brosque and Chris Naumoff will support Marc Janko, who leads the line in attack. One possible change is Terry Antonis for Naumoff.

 

Finals and Head-to-Head Records

The Victory’s finals record is impressive, with 9 wins from 15 games and 8 wins out of 10 at home, where they have never lost – though Sydney FC managed to win the 2010 Grand Final on penalties at Etihad Stadium.

Sydney’s win over Adelaide was just their 5th win in 14 finals games, and on the road they have a terrible record, with no wins and 2 draws in 7 finals games. In Melbourne they have played 3 finals, drawing 1 and losing the other 2. Sydney were also eliminated from the finals by the Victory at Etihad last season.

The all-time record between Victory and Sydney is close, with Victory winning 10, Sydney winning 8 and 17 draws in the 35 meetings in competitive fixtures (A-League, Finals, Pre-Season Cup).

The Victory have won 7 of the 19 matches in Melbourne, while Sydney have 4 wins and the remaining 8 games ended in draws. There have been 3 previous meetings at AAMI Park, where Victory have won once and the other 2 matches finished as draws.

This season’s 3 meetings between the teams have all finished in draws, with the games in Sydney finishing 0-0 and 3-3, and the sole match in Melbourne also finishing 3-3.

 

Recent Form

The Victory have won 6 of their last 7 games, with their only defeat in that period coming at AAMI Park against the Newcastle Jets. That defeat was only the 3rd time Victory have been held scoreless this season. Victory have scored 14 goals in their last 7 games, while conceding just 4.

Sydney FC, like Victory, are in strong form with only 2 defeats in their last 7, winning the other 5. Sydney have scored 16 goals in their last 7 games, but have conceded 7. They are yet to be defeated away from home this season.

 

Forwards

Given that both teams are in good goalscoring form, it seems wise to spend big on forwards.

Up forward, Besart Berisha seems a must have – his score of 11 last week means he has 26 points in his last 2 games, and as every A-League fan knows no one loves a big game like Berisha does.

Kosta Barbarouses also picked up 11 points last week, however his goal was the first time he has hit the back of the net since Round 19 and only his second score above 3 in that time (the other being the 6 he scored in Round 27).

Archie Thompson has scored in each of his last 2 games, and like Berisha he tends to perform well on the big stage – but he’s likely going to have to do it off the bench this week.

Given the question marks over Barbarouses and Thompson, coaches may look to Sydney FC players to make up the rest of their forward line. Bernie Ibini is in red hot form with 4 goals in his last 4 games, scoring 47 points in that time. He too seems a must have.

Sydney have 3 other options in the forward line – Alex Brosque, who has 6 goals in his last 4 games and 45 points (including a low score of 2); Marc Janko, who is in poor form with no goals since Round 21 and only 1 score above 3 in his last 5 games; and Chris Naumoff, a cheapie who should start again after his goal and assist against Adelaide last week for 12 points. That was, however, his first score above 4 points since Round 21 and only his 3rd this season.

 

Midfielders

Victory clearly provide the better options here. Both Gui Finkler and Fahid Ben Khalfallah are likely to end up in most teams. Finkler has scored 60 points in his last 6 starts while Ben Khalfallah has scored 32 in his last 5 games.

Mark Milligan’s fantasy stocks may have declined from what they once were, however he’s in terrific form at the moment with 31 points in his last 4 games – that’s better than FBK!

Leigh Broxham and Carl Valeri should both also start, however consider them to be risky ‘wildcards’ more than solid picks. Both men have scored just 2 goals each this season, with Broxham scoring above 5 only twice and Valeri 4 times.

Milos Dimitrijevic and Mickael Tavares are the only Sydney midfielders likely to start, with Terry Antonis and Rhyan Grant probably coming off the bench. Dimitrijevic is the best option, as although he’s not a spectacular point scorer he has picked up 38 points in his last 7 games. He hasn’t hit double figures since Round 4, however. Tavares has scored above 4 points just once (a 6) in his 10 appearances, while Antonis has scored above 5 points only 3 times this season, and has played 55 minutes total in the last 8 fixtures thanks to injury problems.

 

Defenders / Goalkeepers

Given Victory’s superior defensive record, once again it’s probably best to look at Victory players first for your defence. Assuming Jason Geria doesn’t start, Nick Ansell is the cheap link into Victory’s defence, while Daniel Georgievski’s slightly bigger goal threat (3 goals from 4 shots on target this season) and recent good form (scores of 7, 11 & 6 in his last 3) may see coaches favour him. Matthieu Delpierre is another solid choice if you can squeeze him in.

Jacques Faty is the cheapest link into Sydney’s defence, while Matt Jurman is only $3k more expensive; one or both will probably be in most teams given their price tag.  Nikola Petkovic and Seb Ryall represent more expensive outlays, with Ryall probably the slightly better choice given Petkovic has never scored for Sydney FC (he has 1 pro career goal) while Ryall has scored 9 goals (though none this season).

Lawrence Thomas’ super-cheap price will probably mean he’s the keeper in most teams, with Sydney’s Vedran Janjetovic $112k more expensive.

 

Finally, I’d like to send out a massive thank you to everyone who read, shared and commented on any of my articles this season, or joined in the Beamly Fantasy A-League chat. I hope I’ve been able to help some fantasy coaches to take their game to another level this season. Cheers!


4 thoughts on “Grand Final Fantasy Preview

  1. Hi justin! Looking forward for the big final?Who’s your favourite? I think Victory will get it. Milligan is Victory’s pen taker right? Thanks for the great help during all season!

    Like

    1. Hi Loco – I’m thinking it will be a tough game but Victory should win it at home, 3-1 is my prediction. I think they have too much firepower for Sydney, who were exposed in defence many times by Adelaide last week despite the lopsided scoreline.

      Yes, I believe he is still the designated penalty taker for Victory.

      You’re welcome – thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

  2. Ok, cheers. So if Milligan takes pens i think i will go with this:
    Thomas
    Ryall-Georgevski-Delpierre
    Dimitrijevic-Milligan-FBK-Finkler
    Janko-Ibini-Berisha

    Like

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