A-League snapshot - Round 19 (midweek) & Round 21
It's Christmas time in the city - With the inclusion of the midweek games the Hyundai A-League is always just a little bit closer around Christmas.
On Boxing Day the Hyundai A-League heads to Skilled Park for another derby as Gold Coast United host Brisbane Roar in a match that is building to be a post-Christmas cracker. Following Charlie Miller's departure from Brisbane Roar to south-east Queensland rivals Gold Coast friendship and bragging rights are on the agenda in this season defining clash.
Perth Glory face Newcastle Jets in the second Boxing Day match with Perth looking to force their way back into the 6 - a position they have been used to for the majority of the season - but they will face a huge test in a Newcastle Jets team currently on a four-match winning streak.
On Sunday, Sydney FC take on Adelaide United at the SFS. The Sky Blues are hot on the heels of Melbourne Victory and need the three points to continue their push for the Premiers Plate. Adelaide United, following a 1-all stalemate with Wellington, will look to gain some much needed confidence and surge their way up the Hyundai A-League ladder with a win.
Then it's up to Dairy Farmers in a match that sees top-of-the-table Melbourne Victory visit last placed North Queensland Fury. Fury will need all the support of their fans as they look to prove their Hyundai A-League credentials with a win for the Robbie Fowler lead team able to shoot them back into finals contention.
The festive cheers continue on New Year's Eve when Central Coast Mariners take on Wellington Phoenix. With the league table so congested a win for either side will leave them well placed going into the busy January period in the lead up to the finals.
With the title race wide open and a spot in the 6 still any teams' to take - Round 21 is set to catapult the season into 2010.
Stats, facts & milestones
Round 19 (midweek)
- Sydney FC captain Steve Corica is set to make his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance. Corica made his Hyundai A-League debut for Sydney in Round 1 of the 2005/06 season. - Central Coast Mariners defender Nigel Boogaard is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance. - This match features the Hyundai A-League's number one and two ranked goalkeepers in terms of most career clean sheets. After keeping Melbourne scoreless last weekend, Sydney FC's Clint Bolton returned to being the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the Hyundai A-League (31), while Danny Vukovic of the Central Coast Mariners remains just one clean sheet behind (30 clean sheets) having not kept a clean sheet since the Mariners' Round 16 match against the Perth Glory.
- Having scored his 36th Hyundai A-League goal last weekend, Gold Coast United striker Shane Smeltz moved into equal second in terms of most goals scored in the Hyundai A-League, equal with Danny Allsopp. Smeltz and Allsopp lie behind first-placed Archie Thompson (45 goals). TOP FIVE HYUNDAI A-LEAGUE SCORERS as at 21-December-2009 45 Archie Thompson (95 appearances) 36 Shane Smeltz (56 appearances) 36 Danny Allsopp (89 appearances) 30 Alex Brosque (100 appearances) 30 Sasho Petrovski (100 appearances)
- Perth Glory captain Jacob Burns is set to make his 100th Australian national league appearance. Burns, who joined the Glory this season, made 82 appearances in the old NSL with Sydney United (57 appearances) and Parramatta Power (25) - Newcastle Jets midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance. Wheelhouse has been with the Jets since the commencement of the Hyundai A-League
- Melbourne Victory are on a five match undefeated streak, and are aiming to remain undefeated for six matches in a row - for only the second time for a club this season, the previous occasion being Wellington Phoenix (Round 5 to 12)
- Central Coast Mariners are aiming to not create a new record for longest winless streak at home - the Mariners have not won any of their previous five home matches, which is an equal record for the club
Birthday celebrations - Sung-Hwan Byun (Sydney FC) turns 30 on Tuesday 22 December - Chris Greenacre (Wellington Phoenix) turns 32 on Wednesday 23 December - Joel Porter (Gold Coast United) turns 31 on Friday 25 December