A-LEAGUE WEEK 22
SYDNEY FC V MELBOURNE VICTORY
Melbourne Victory travel to Sydney with everything to play for leading into the final rounds of this regular season. If the Victory can manage the three points, then their slim hopes of the minor premiership will get that little extra boost, whereas their counterparts Sydney FC, will start to feel all the pressure back on them if they drop their second game in a number of weeks. Berisha and Rojas were once again the class acts for Melbourne last week when they scrapped past Adelaide. The free kick of Rojas' was absolutely class and i'll doubt we'll see his stay in the A-league as a long one due to his quality.
The game itself always delivers a high level of quality, albeit sometimes that quality can be seen through rough tackles and moments of madness, but that's what these games are all about. I'm more than certain that this will be the two teams competing for the grand final in weeks to come and i don't think either team will be giving out any big surprises, i think they'll leave that for the final series. Therefore i'm going to be having a small play on the unders here as both teams have the quality to not only score, but not concede themselves.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX V PERTH GLORY
Wellington surprised everyone last week with an upset win over the Roar in Brisbane. The win was made even more impressive with the omission of three key players from the Phoenix before kick off time, those three players have since been reinstated to the squad and will be in selection contention against Glory however. After that loss to the Phoenix, Brisbane went on to lose a record 6-0 in their Asian Champions league tie so the form can now be questioned so slightly.
Perth did the solid last week and converted their chances to breeze past WSW. The lead up to the game was all about the crowd troubles from previous matches from the Western Sydney fans and therefore this allowed Perth to be completely distracted and focus on football, to which they did superbly. Perth struck late in both halves to record a 2-0 victory and it shows that don't switch off in the crunch moments, especially Diego Castro who masterminded both goals.
Strange match with the Phoenix pulling off the unthinkable last week but i was more disgusted by Roar's performance rather than Wellington's win. Perth did me no harm and i will be in their corner once again for this one.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS V ADELAIDE UNITED
After disappointing midweek displays against their Asian counterparts, both of these sides will be coming out with something to prove. WSW were utterly humiliated whereas Adelaide were quite unlucky to not salvage something out of the match, although the bottom line is that both teams left with nothing. Adelaide having to do the travelling is going to take it out of them and despite their improved performances recently, i think WSW will take it.
The Wanderers weren't horrible against Perth last week but they were simply beaten by a better team. They didn't necessarily do anything drastically wrong but they weren't on the same level Perth were on. Returning home and putting the crowd troubles and midweek Asian disaster behind them, they'll be able to focus on returning to top 6 hopes with a win over the bottom placed side. There are a host of teams competing for those final few slots and WSW need this win desperately.
There will no doubt be goals in this match as Adelaide will be throwing everyone forward to scrounge together anything they can call a result. Western Sydney hopefully will start Santalab and that will at least spark some aggression into the squads.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS V MELBOURNE CITY
The Mariners host City this week and they'll back themselves to get a result here, especially when they consider the recent history between the two clubs. Mariners have only been bested once in City's past nine visits, which gives the indication that no matter what is happening in the league table, City find it hard to go to Gosford and get the three points. They'll be counting on Roy O'Donovan to be the target man as he's bagged goals in the last two fixtures with these teams.
City were pretty woeful against Sydney last week, but a bit of that blame can be attributed to the dismissal of Manny Muscat in the first half. His reckless second yellow put City on the back foot for the rest of the game and with a whole half still to play, the Sydney goals were inevitable. They had showed glimpses of character when scoring instantly after Bobo had put Sydney ahead, although the heads dropped noticeably when the second half started.
Central Coast are still showing that they are capable of winning when it counts and i have to be somewhat in their corner for that. City on the other hand will be chomping at the bit to get back on the park and rectify all the wrongs of last week and you can only imagine the mood Fornaroli will be in. The game looks like it will easily surpass the expected 2.5 goals but i think the game will be a lot closer than most.
NEWCASTLE JETS V BRISBANE ROAR
Not many positives are coming out of the Brisbane Roar camp this week after they received a history equalling drubbing in the AFC tie with Ulsan. Obviously there are a few underlying issues at hand that aren't seeming to find its way to the media, but the overall consensus in the camp at the moment is that there is huge trouble. Things would've been made worse when not only did they lose at home to a lower placed side and then get thumped a couple of days after, they saw old boy Dimi Petratos assisting goal after goal. Morale must be crushing at the moment and Newcastle will be looking to exploit that.
An interesting display from both teams last week meant that Jets and Mariners would end up sharing the points in the low scoring affair. The lack of goals wasn't a surprise due to the improved defense recently but the lack of chances made was a surprise. Being at home for a second successive week will do the Jets wonders, especially when their counterparts would be feeling like they've travelled nonstop this last week or so.
I really like Newcastle here. The price of them at home reflects the problems Brisbane are currently in but i still feel it's good value. Let's also not forget the drubbing Jets gave Roar earlier this year.
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%