Hooroo And Hooray Harry!

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Getty Images
Australian soccer legend Harry Kewell hangs up the boots this weekend. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Getty Images
Melbourne Heart v Western Sydney Wanderers
Westpac Stadium
Saturday April 12 at 5.30pm (AEST)

Head-to-head:
Played: 5, Wins: Heart 0, Wanderers 4, Draws: 1

Previous encounter:
Wanderers 1-1 Heart, December 7 2013

Form:
Past five matches (in all competitions):
Heart: DLLDL
Wanderers: DLLWW

The Game:
There's no denying the Wanderers are in charge going into the final round of the season. Tony Popovic's team are second on the table, level on points with third-placed Central Coast but with a goal difference of plus four compared to the Mariners' negative five. They are a point ahead of Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory, meaning even if the teams below them both win, their destiny remains in their own hands. As for Central Coast, who are away to newly crowned premiers Brisbane Roar, there would have to be a 10-goal swing across a Mariners win at Suncorp Stadium and a Wanderers loss at AAMI Park for the two teams to switch places. So the formula is very simple for the team in red and black - put Heart away and take a week off, before enjoying home advantage in the semi-finals.

The big issue:
Heart – Why bother? The only 'prize' on offer for the home team is trying to avoid the embarrassment of collecting the 2013-14 season's wooden spoon. Heart are bottom of the table on 26 points, two points back from Wellington and Perth. Both of those teams are in action later in the round, meaning a win for John van 't Schip's team will oblige the Phoenix and the Glory to go for it at home to Melbourne Victory and away to Sydney FC respectively if they don't want to finish last. After all, it would be a shame for Heart to end the campaign propping up the table after their stirring recovery from such a horrible start.

Wanderers – Complacency is not something you'd usually associate with Popovic's hard-working, unflashy outfit. But with an unbeaten record of four wins and one draw in five matches against Heart, as well as the knowledge that they are in the driving seat in the race for second place, is there a danger of Western Sydney's players thinking the job is already half-done? Surely not, but with an eye on the crucial AFC Champions League game away to Ulsan on Tuesday, the coaching staff would do well to remind the squad of the importance of the task at hand.

The game breaker:
Harry Kewell. Who else could it be in the final game of one of Australia's greatest players? The A-League hasn't been the happiest hunting ground for the former Liverpool and Leeds forward, who endured a season of turmoil and underachievement at Victory, before spending plenty of time on the sidelines through injury at Heart this term. He's missed the last two games with an abdominal strain but is set to return in a farewell clash against the team from his home town. The stage is set for one last memorable performance.

Prediction: Melbourne Heart 1-2 Western Sydney Wanderers
Playing to avoid the wooden spoon and also seeking to impress John van 't Schip ahead of an off-season of upheaval under new owners Manchester City, Heart are more than capable of giving a good account of themselves and troubling the visitors this weekend. But the Wanderers won't be coming to Melbourne just to see off Kewell in style. They have serious ambitions of improving on last season's grand final defeat, and are unlikely to let a top-two finish slip through their grasp. So we're going for a narrow away win, with Kewell to score for the home team.

LIVE FoxSports 3

Click here to bet on A-League Round 27 matches