W-League | Grand Final preview

A fascinating yet unpredictable season ends this Sunday as Perth Glory host Melbourne City at nib Stadium in the 2016/17 W-League Grand Final.

The story so far

It will be the second week in a row without travel for Glory after its 5-1 semi-final blitz of Sydney FC on Saturday.

A Venessa DiBernardo brace led Glory to the 5-1 triumph. Glory came from behind in front of 1592 fans after Sydney FC squandered the opportunity to finish top of the table in the final round of the regular season against Adelaide United.

Last season’s Premiers on the other hand upset first placed Canberra United in difficult conditions at GIO Stadium on Sunday evening. Temperatures soared over 30-degrees for the entirety of the match and after 90 minutes both teams had failed to hit the back of the net.

Cue City player-coach Jess Fishlock’s heroics as the Welsh midfielder scored the only goal of the game in the 107th minute to keep City’s dream of back-to-back titles alive.

Melbourne City will win because…

City proved a lot of sceptics wrong last weekend in their courageous 1-0 victory over top side United.

They used their finals experience to will themselves over the line and to keep a clean sheet against United, a side with such attacking prowess, was indeed impressive.

The dream of back-to-back titles along with their current three match winning streak has put City in a fantastic position in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Final.

At the same time, Glory are yet to win a W-League title and their 3-1 loss to Canberra United in the 2014 W-League Grand Final may haunt them.

Even though the team from Western Australia played a flawless semi-final without any signs of nerves, grand finals are a different ball game.

Perth Glory will win because…

However, Glory’s brutal semi-demolishion job may be a sign that their 2014 loss is behind them. More so it will motivate Glory to play with their heart on their sleeve, especially in front of a home crowd at nib Stadium.

The two teams met only once in the 2016/17 season in Round eight, where Glory sneaked a 3-2 win at AAMI Park.

Coach Bobby Despotovski will use their last meeting as a driving force to instil faith in his side who have been fantastic all year, particularly after bouncing back from finishing eighth in 2015/16.

Key Players

Sam Kerr has scored 10 goals this season and her pace has been eye-catching. Earlier this week she was named in The Football Sack’s W-League Team of the Year.

Kerr failed to score during last week’s rampant semi-final win, but if there was a time for the Glory star to shine, it would be on the big stage during Sunday’s Grand Final.

Fittingly for City, they had four players selected in W-League Team of the Year – Lydia Williams, Laura Alleway, Steph Catley and Jess Fishlock.

Fishlock was the star last week and it is tough to expect the same scintillating performance again this weekend, but the captain-coach is crucial to City’s chance of securing a second W-League title.

If City finish Sunday’s game victorious, Fishlock will become the first-ever player-coach to win a W-League Title.

Injuries/Suspension 

None from last weekend.

Prediction…

It is a flip of the coin.

Glory have the home ground advantage but City have experienced W-League glory before.

In the previous eight W-League Grand Finals, 30 goals have been scored. Based on past statistics, spectators should expect a high scoring affair.

With respect to both sides, TFS is predicting a 2-2 draw and for Fishlock and Kerr to both hit the score sheet.

City to win 3-2 after extra time.

 

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