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Australian Football: Takeaways from Matchday 23

Matchday 23 concluded on Easter Monday with Melbourne City extending their lead at the top of the A-League thanks to a convincing 4-1 win over Wellington Phoenix.

Melbourne City now sit seven points clear of Adelaide United and, with just three games of the regular season remaining, they can wrap up the minor premiership this weekend.

It was a quiet week for goals with just 17 scored across the six games and five of those came in City’s win over the Nix.

For once Adelaide were kept quiet in a 1-1 draw with Sydney FC, while Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory fought out a goalless draw.

Elsewhere, there were 3-0 wins for both Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar, who beat Western United and Newcastle Jets respectively, while Macarthur and Western Sydney Wanderers played out a thrilling 2-2 draw.

There is still plenty to sort out before the regular season is done, so let’s take a look at the main takeaways from Matchday 23.

City hitting the high notes

Following a dip in form by their exceptionally high standards, City appear to be peaking at the right time with the finals just around the corner.

They can be backed at 2.10 to go all the way and win the Grand Final and on current form they will take some stopping.

Adelaide are the obvious threat at 5.00, but as City head coach Rado Vidosic pointed out after the win over Phoenix, his players are ‘serial winners’ and know how to get the job done.

They are now unbeaten in five games and were back to their clinical best on Monday.

Furthermore, star striker Jamie Maclaren was also back on song with a brace against Wellington, taking him to 20 goals for the season.

Two-horse race for second spot?

While City have the minor premiership in the bag, the race to finish second looks set to go right to the wire.

And it looks to be a two-horse race between Adelaide and the Mariners, who currently sit in third place.

Adelaide are four points clear of the Mariners, but the two sides go head-to-head in the final game of the regular season and it could come down to winner takes all.

United do have the better run-in with games against Western United and the Glory coming up, while the Mariners have to play City and the Jets.

Western Sydney, in fourth, are six points behind Adelaide and have left themselves too much to do.

Finishing second is huge as you get two bites of the cherry in the finals, which of course increases your chances of going all the way.

The Mariners can be backed at 7.50 to win the Grand Final.

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Australian Football: Takeaways from Matchday 22

Australian Football: Takeaways from Matchday 21

Victory remain in finals mix

Remarkably, despite being bottom of the ladder, the Victory still have a chance of making the top six and playing finals football.

That's how tight it is. Just four points separate them from sixth-placed Sydney and they can be backed at 10.00 to force their way in.

So it goes without saying all the teams that sit above them are also in with a chance and there are a couple of huge games coming up this week.

Sydney entertain the Glory - who are one place and one point below them - on Sunday, and the men from the west have a great chance to jump above their hosts.

Newcastle versus Macarthur is another big game on Friday night, as they are both locked on 26 points, three behind Sydney.

Victory are away at Western Sydney, which is tough to say the least and the same goes for Western United, who travel to Adelaide.

The Roar will be buoyed by their performance at the weekend and take on a Wellington side who are struggling for form and are not yet guaranteed a place in finals, despite sitting fifth.

If anyone is to dislodge Sydney and make the top six, then the Glory appear to have the best chance and can be backed at 4.00.

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