The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2017/18 A-League season.
Wednesday, January 3
Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets
7:50 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
Recent Games: Sydney have won 12 of their past 13 matches against Newcastle, a simply astonishing record. With the other game being a 0-0 draw. The last time they played the Sky Blues won 2-1. That day Milos Ninkovic and Bobo were the scorers for Sydney, while for the Jets it was Dimitri Petratos. The Sky Blues were the more dominant team taking 16 shots to Newcastle’s 9, as well as having 54% possession of the ball. They also had a better passing accuracy then them and got more corners as well.
Will the Jets come to play or will Sydney claim an 8th straight victory?
What Happened Last Round: Simply put, another outstanding victory by the reigning champions. They thumped Perth 6-0. O’Neil, Mierzejewski and Brosque all found the back of the net for the Sky Blues. While Bobo secured his second consecutive hattrick. Sydney killed them all over the park as they had 57% possession, had 16 of their 17 shots be on target vs the Glory’s 2 of 14, had a better passing accuracy and won more duels than their opponents. The victory left them in 1st place and 8 points clear of 2nd, as well as not having lost a game since Round 6. While for the Novocastrian’s, they suffered a rare loss, going down 2-1 to the Victory. However, it could have been a bigger score-line had Mark Milligan not fluffed his penalty attempt. It was only the Jets 3rd defeat of the season. Jason Hoffman evened things up for the Jets in the 46th minute, before a Berisha goal in the 53rd minute gave the Victory the result.
What Should Happen: A game that’s worthy of being 1st vs 2nd. Sydney have been the absolute best of the best this season. While Newcastle who haven’t been as great as the Sky Blues, have still been pretty damn good. And that’s been without their two best players in Ronald Vargas and Roy O’Donovan. Both Milos Ninkovic and Dimitri Petratos should have absolutely stellar games in their attempts to deliver their side the victory. This one is a must watch!!!
Also pick Sydney to be leading after 60 minutes at $1.85 (Ladbrokes)
Friday, January 5
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
Recent Games: The last time Western Sydney and Brisbane locked horns, the Roar came away as surprise 2-0 victors in a hard-fought battle at ANZ Stadium. Brisbane opened the scoring through Massimo Maccarone on the stroke of half-time before an Ivan Franjic wonder goal just moments after he had been subbed on, sealed the result for John Aloisi’s men. Despite getting the win it was tough goings for the QLD based side as they had only 40% possession and less shots on target than the Red & Black. They also completed only 261 of their attempted 368 passes for a poor 71%, compared to the Wanderers 84% completion rate.
Will it be Gombau or Aloisi who have a bit of pressure taken of them after their two sides play?
What Happened Last Round: Both sides are still out of the Top 6 after their respective results last round. However, Brisbane are looking a lot more livelier than the Wanderers. For Brisbane, both Ben Khalfallah and Maccarone found the back of the net in their 2-1 win over Adelaide. While Matt McKay also found his way to the locker rooms early after a second-half red card. Adelaide had a simply massive 72% possession, but the Roar still managed to find a way to win with only a measly 28%. While for the WSW, Johnathan Aspropotamitis has earlier in the week described the Wanderers current situation as an extreme one. But while he realises the situation isn’t good, he also called Josep Gombau the right man for the job. This despite their mostly poor results under him and various rumours of players wanting out. It’s fair say it’s tough times at the moment out in Wanderland.
What Should Happen: Not much defence, if any at all. Western Sydney have conceded 13 goals from their past 5 games. While Brisbane have given up 5 from their past 3, not a great stat either. It’ll be up to the leader in Janjetovic and the entirety of Brisbane’s back-line to ensure that the result doesn’t get to embarrassing for either side. However given all of Maccarone, Santalab and Riera are playing, it might just get that.
Betting tip: Pick the draw at $3.60 (TopBetta)
Perth Glory v Adelaide United
10:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Recent Games: An 80th minute Andy Keogh strike was all that separated the two teams when they last met. However, it should have been more as in the very early stages of the game, Diego Castro missed his penalty attempt. This match had a bit of an attacking flair to it as in total the two teams took 29 shots at goal. While 9 of the 29 attempts were blocked by the opposing defences. Interestingly in this game, Adelaide received not a single yellow or red card.
Will the Irishman save the day again for the Glory or will it be Adelaide who come out on top?
What Happened Last Round: For Perth, they were taught a masterclass in how to play proper Football as they were simply humiliated by Sydney FC by the tune of 6 strikes to 0. One of their former players in Brandon O’Neil struck first in the 21st minute before in the space of the 58th minute to the 67th minute of the game, Sydney scored 3 times to put the result absolutely beyond any reasonable doubt. Bobo also lit up Perth for an easy 3 goals all by himself. Perth’s poor shooting hampered them a bit as only a pathetic 2 of their 14 shots ended up on target. If it weren’t for the reliable Joel Reddy, the score would have been a lot worse. The Glory are now just inside the Top 6. While for Adelaide, at home they suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Brisbane and they to now sit only just inside a finals spot. George Blackwood was the only goal-scorer for United. However, it was his 3rd in 4 games in an impressive stat for the young striker. Adelaide also had an advantage from the 50th minute onward as Matt McKay was sent of the field with a red card to his name.
What Should Happen: Adelaide are coming of a bad loss against the struggling Roar, while for Perth it was so much worse for them against Sydney. However, Diego Castro and Andy Keogh never stay down for long. Plus given their relatively poor seasons (by their standards), it’s safe to expect that they’ll both put in big performances in this Top 6 affair. Look for the Glory to claim the win, with those two players leading the front-line.
Also pick both teams to score at $1.61 (Bet365)
Saturday, January 6
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
5:35 PM AEDT, Simonds Stadium
Recent Games: The Victory have won 10 of their past 12 encounters against the Central Coast (with the other two being draws). Excluding the ties, the aggregate score has been a massive 26 goals to 6. However, the most recent match was a relatively boring 1-all draw. In that game Leroy George struck the back of the net within quick succession of Connor Pain’s goal to make the result what it was. Both squads had a hint of bad luck with them in this match as the Mariners struck the woodwork twice and Melbourne once.
Will it be Pain or George who proves to be the big man again in this match, in the hope of delivering their side a victory?
What Happened Last Round: The Victory are now in 3rd spot after their upset 2-1 win over the Jets. Barbarouses struck 1st in the 33rd minute, before Jason Hoffman squared things up in the 46th. Not long after recent contract extender Bersart Berisha got yet another goal and in the process, gave his side a much needed 3 points. The Victory were also a bit unlucky as well as they had a shot come of the woodwork. They were also fairly impressive in front of goal with 5 of their 8 shot attempts proving to be on target. While Paul Okon has said recently that during the upcoming January transfer window, that the Mariners will look to sign at least one player. Fans should get excited, this given the quality of some of the players they bought in for this season. As well as this, it wasn’t all that long ago that ex-Liverpool player, Luis Garcia had a stay up in Gosford. Whoever they do end up signing, should prove to add extra quality to a squad strongly in contention for a finals spot.
What Should Happen: Another win for the Melbourne Victory, helping them to further consolidate a finals spot. For the first part of the campaign, Melbourne struggled out of the blocks a bit, winning none of their first 6 games. But now as of lately they’ve come out victorious in all of their past 3 matches. Berisha has regained some of his old form while the rest of the team is being led behind him and a few other leaders within the squad. Soon it’ll be 4 from 4 for last years runner ups.
Betting tip: Pick Melbourne to win at $1.67 (PalmerBet)
Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
Recent Games: City are 5 from their past 5 against the Phoenix. The last match they contested was a tight 1-0 victory to Melbourne. In that game, Ross McCormack was the solitary goal-scorer in the 69th minute. And City did it the tough way as well, grinding out the victory despite having only 40% possession and having taken only 10 shots vs Wellington’s 18. Melbourne also had a worse passing accuracy and gave away more fouls as well.
With McCormack only just returning from injury, no Fornarolli and no Cahill, who will prove to be the MOM for City in a game that they no doubt should win?
What Happened Last Round: Melbourne announced the signing of ironically ex-Wellington player Dario Vidosic. Given the absolute dearth of attacking options currently playing for the other ‘Sky-Blue’ team, this is a brilliant signing. Despite his abrupt departure from Wellington this campaign, he still scored 4 times in 10 appearances for them. That not at all being a bad strike rate. His attacking qualities up front will greatly help them in a season in which they are competing for both a domestic trophy and an ACL spot. While for Wellington, they to themselves recently made an announcement, Nathan Burns is returning to the club. The Socceroo and ex-Johnny Warren Medallist is arguably one of the best ever players if not the very best to suit up for the Phoenix. He knows how to score a goal or two and will add some much-needed leadership and experience to the club. He might just be able to save their fast sinking season.
What Should Happen: A fairly comfortable City victory. Wellington are last and by a fair bit. This while Melbourne are fighting tooth and nail for a Top 3 spot against the Victory. They might not always play pretty, but they mostly get a result. This should no doubt be the case for City when they face of against the Phoenix. However, Anrija Kaluderovic and his 9 goals for the season (2nd highest in the league, only behind Bobo) should prove to be a threat. Despite that, Melbourne should still claim the win.
Betting tip: Pick City to be victorious at $1.60 (TopBetta)
Best Bet of the Round
Pick only one team (City) to score in MEL vs WEL at $2.15 (Ladbrokes)