Who’ll make the Hyundai A-League’s top four?


The top two spots in the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season are all but sewn up. But the race for third and fourth – and all-important home advantage in week one of the Finals Series – is red-hot.

Sydney have won the Premiership and Melbourne Victory need just one point from their remaining three games to secure second place and a week off in the Finals Series.

Hyundai A-League Team of the Week: Round 24

Who makes the top four and who misses out?

Melbourne City

Current position: 3rd

Current points: 36

Current goal difference: +8

Form (Last five games): WLWWL

Remaining matches: Sydney FC (A), Adelaide United (H), Perth Glory (A)

City have resided in the top four all season and after a mini-slump between rounds 15 and 20, are building momentum again nicely at the right time, despite a loss to Western Sydney last time out.

Tough trips to Sydney FC and Perth Glory await though and if they were to return home empty-handed from both visits, there’s a possibility they could fall to fifth right at the last.

Melbourne City players celebrate Bruno Fornaroli's opener against the Mariners on Sunday.

There’s enough firepower to overcome those hurdles though with sharp-shooting skipper Bruno Fornaroli leading the way as City have scored 17 goals in their last seven games.

However, the imminent return of Danish defender Michael Jakobsen will be just as key as they look to shore up a defence which has leaked 13 goals in those last 7 outings.

Brisbane Roar

Current position: 4th

Current points: 36

Current goal difference: +3

Form (Last five games): DLWLW

Remaining games: Central Coast Mariners (H), Perth Glory (A), Wellington Phoenix (H)

After a solid season, the worry lines started to appear recently at Roar.

February was relatively unproductive with just three points acquired from a possible 12 and a home loss to Wellington dumping them out of the top four for the first time since October.

A round 23 defeat to Adelaide United and the subsequent fall-out, could have been a tipping point, but John Aloisi’s men bounced back to beat Victory last time out and solidify their top four status.

Roar players celebrate Jamie Maclaren's goal in their win over Melbourne Victory.

Striker Jamie Maclaren is also bang in form, with seven goals in his last five games rocketing him up the Golden Boot leaderboard.

The upcoming visit to Perth looms as decisive; victory there would all but lock Brisbane into the top four.

Perth Glory

Current position: 5th

Current points: 32

Current goal difference: -3

Form (Last five games): DWDLL

Remaining games: Adelaide United (A), Brisbane Roar (H), Melbourne City (H)

Perth have seemingly the best opportunity to influence the eventual outcome of the race for third and fourth, meeting fellow contenders Brisbane and Melbourne City in their last two matches, both at home.

There are concerns over the form of Kenny Lowe’s side though; but for a piece of late Diego Castro magic against Wellington, they would have lost their last three games, during which they’ve conceded ten goals.

Perth Glory players celebrate Diego Castro's superlative equaliser against the Phoenix on Saturday.

Glory were third at the start of March and will still believe they have what it takes to force one of their adversaries to make the trip to Western Australia in week one of the Finals Series.

They’ll need to get moving though with a four-point gap between them and the top four, and Western Sydney also breathing down their necks.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Current position: 6th

Current points: 31

Current goal difference: -3

Form (Last five games): WLDWW

Remaining games: Newcastle Jets (A), Melbourne Victory (H), Adelaide United (A)

Wanderers are arguably the form side of this quartet, winning three of their last five games, including back-to-back home wins.

On the face of things they also have the softest run home with trips to also-rans Adelaide and Newcastle either side of a blockbuster clash against Victory at Homebush.

Brendon Santalab netted a hat-trick as Western Sydney Wanderers downed Melbourne City 3-1 on Friday night.

With evergreen striker Brendon Santalab in the form of his life, Wanderers undoubtedly have the ability to finish in the top four for the fourth time in their five-year existence.

If they manage it, no side will fancy a trip to Spotless against a side that appears to have timed its run perfectly, overcoming some wobbly moments earlier in the season which saw them sitting eighth at the start of February.