Wanderers are in inspired form having won their last 4 straight games whilst knocking in 3 goals each time. The assignment for Popa’s charges is somewhat harder this week, we are up against Melbourne Victory.
Last year we snatched a lead in the Premiership and lost the penultimate game to the Victory at AAMI.
That cost us the trophy.
If we win or lose it will matter little for the Premiership this year, but it will have an impact on where we play in the finals.
Beating the Victory will herald Wanderers as title challengers and give the club the best possible chance of securing a home final.
After advancing through the Elimination Semi Final, it would set up a Semi Final vs Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC.
If Wanderers can finish 3rd we would play at home then in Melbourne and regardless of if Sydney FC won or not we would play the Grand Final in Sydney.
The highest winner is the host, if as the 3rd team we knock out 2nd and 1st loses then we host the Grand Final, if Sydney FC wins their Semi then they host it.
Either way the A-League wont miss out on an opportunity for an ANZ Grand Final, that would mean 20k members, 15k Sydney FC fans and 45,000 Wanderers fans with more outside looking for scalp tickets.
If we come fourth then we would have a home Elimination Final likely followed by a semi final at Allianz vs Sydney FC.
This would then be followed by a trip to Melbourne or Brisbane if the Roar could provide an upset.
There is an old saying in sport that you are only as good as your last game. Our last games have been a pure joy to watch.
We have been getting into attacking areas all year and then cutting back, now we are seeing whipping balls and shots a plenty.
Long may the boys remain in this mindset.
Importantly this is something that is a hallmark of Popovic’s management, when his system sinks in to the new players who have had less than 20 games together, they go on winning streaks.
We did it in season one breaking the NSL/A-League record for consecutive wins and we had a long streak last year as well.
The key is to maintain this all the way through to the Grand Final and to finally get this toilet seat out of the way.
I have seen much better Wanderers teams than this one play before, but for all their fancy they ultimately fell short.
This group of unfancied journeymen, cobbled together on free transfers and sign on bonuses are poised to shock the footballing country.
When the 3rd whistle sounds next weekend, the bookies will either draw a line through us, or slash our odds.
As with last season, if we want to win Silverware, we are going to have to beat the Tards.