A-LEAGUE WEEK 19
SYDNEY FC V WELLINGTON PHOENIX
An interesting Thursday night game kicks us off when Phoenix cross the ditch to see if they can be the team to finally give Sydney their first defeat of the season. The last time these two teams met, Phoenix were left reeling when Ninkovic popped up in the 92 min to give Sydney the 1-0 win, a score and scenario which would've no doubted crushed some spirits in the dressing room.
Wellington's newest addition to the squad, Shane Smeltz would be chomping at the bit to get on the pitch against his former club but sadly he'll be missing this match due to suspension after picking up two yellow's against Western Sydney last week. That bit of unprofessionalism will no doubt cost Phoenix here, especially after he bagged a goal to get them back in the match.
The bandwagon fans are singing and the rest of the league has almost given up hope here. Sydney are now a very realistic chance of making it through to the finals undefeated in what would be an unprecedented first for the league. I will jump on the train as well as I think at home they should be far too good for Wellington.
ADELAIDE UTD VS PERTH GLORY
The most trickiest game of the week happens in Adelaide where the Glory will try and claim a precious three points on the road. I was very impressed with the quality of football on display in Perth last week between the two squads and I think Perth can build on that performance and step it up against an Adelaide side now who surely must have nothing to play for except pride.
Adelaide weren't horrible in Canberra last week but the fact they still came away with nothing after 90 minutes to Central Coast is an indicator of how their season has gone from bad to worse. The price for Central Coast was far too enticing to pass up and they showed why they should've been much closer to a pick then the $4 on offer.
Adelaide have made a few desperation signings this week with Eli Babalj, Kim Jae-Sung and Baba Diawara have all joined up, the latter still pending a visa approval, which will hopefully inspire a performance, however they did lose Henrique who has cancelled his contract to ply his trade in Thailand.
I like Perth here as they represent better value than Adelaide at the moment. The home advantage will be Adelaide's saving grace but I still can't pass up Glory at the price.
NEWCASTLE JETS V MELBOURNE VICTORY
Victory travel to the hunter to try and take three points from a Newcastle outfit who are continually displaying attractive football with mixed results. Their unlucky defeat to Perth didn't go unnoticed last week, especially Hoffman who produced a superb half volley to get the Jets within one. This match will be incredibly harder for Jets as Victory historically have Newcastle covered in every aspect.
Victory produced another controversial result against their fierce rivals last week when they scored two goals in the dying stages to give them a 2-1 victory. The game itself was quite lacklustre up until that point and Victory were perhaps extremely fortunate to jag a result there.
Victory are undefeated in the last 5 outings in the league against Jets, with their last loss coming in October 2013 when David Carney found the solitary winner at home. I've found Newcastle this year to be surprisingly impressive and this game is not out of their reach. I don't think Victory are the dominant side they are use to being in recent times and that might open the door for a Newcastle result at a fair price.
MELBOURNE CITY V BRISBANE ROAR
Injuries, suspensions and players jumping ship have put more question marks on this match than any other fixture this weekend. For starters Dimi Petratos, who signed a pre-agreement with Jets last week, has departed Roar instantly for a career in South Korea and will no longer be available for selection. Tim Cahill leads the frontline in a host of players that are not available for selection after his outburst to the referee in the derby last week. Luke Brattan, Bruno Fornaroli and Osama Malik are also unavailable.
On paper, City look like the better squad but with the uncertainty of the lineups and player morale, this match could go either way. The team's played out a 1-1 draw last time they met, a match which was layered with controversy after the Jade North/Fornaroli headbutt incident which was more laughable than anything. With Fornaroli out of action this week, there's no chance of that little relationship rekindling its flame.
I can't separate the two sides and the unknowingness of the lineups is a major factor. We'll play this one safe and focus on other matches this week.
WESTERN SYDNEY V CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
The last match of the round takes us to Western Sydney to see if either team can continue on their winning ways. Both teams were gallant and tough in their respective matches last week and I was especially impressed with how they endured the travelling to still display decent performances.
Western Sydney definitely have the wood on the Mariners in recent years, they haven't been beaten in the league since April 2011 and they've managed to bag a significant number of goals against them in those times, including four in a match twice.
The Mariners aren't exactly the team you want to be backing but after beating Adelaide last week and doing nothing wrong really, they look fantastic value at the currently quoted $7.50 mark. We'll play it even safer however and have something on the double chance price as I believe if Western Sydney score early, Mariners will find it difficult to get back in the game.
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final -5 5 -100% Finals Week Two +23 10 230% Finals Week One -10 10 -100% Week Twenty-Six -6.65 15 -44% Week Twenty-Five +12.9 22 59% Week Twenty-Four -2.5 14 -18% Week Twenty-Three +15.83 19 83% Week Twenty-Two -11.25 18 -63% Week Twenty-One -1.79 16 -11% Week Twenty +2.24 16 14% Week Nineteen +20 11 182% Week Eighteen +12.16 11 111% Week Seventeen -5.88 15 -39% Week Sixteen -2.5 11 -23% Week Fifteen -15 15 -100% Week Fourteen +0.93 17 4% Week Thirteen +5.5 13 42% Week Twelve +3.05 18 17% Week Eleven -7.18 13 -55% Week Ten -2.07 18 -12% Week Nine +0.51 15 3% Week Eight -20 20 -100% Week Seven -3.22 16 -20% Week Six +10.2 14 73% Week Five -16 16 -100% Week Four -0.27 15 -2% Week Three -4.6 13 -35% Week Two -0.70 12 -6% Week One +1.05 12 9% Total -7.24 420 -2%