The following are previews with betting tips for Round 21 of the 2017/18 A-League season.
Friday, February 23
Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix
7:50 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: The Mariners blew a 2-0 lead to draw 2-all with Adelaide. While Wellington posted a 2-1 victory over Perth. The Central Coast’s result was filled with controversy including an early red-card to Gulum and through Andrew Hoole opening the scoring. Combined with this, one of the Mariners strikes was an OG from Ryan Strain. However, despite everything seemingly going against them, they hit back with goals to Jordan Elsey and George Blackwood to seal an un-believable result. Because of their strong fightback (Adelaide’s), the result for the Mariners is being equal last with their opponents for this game. While for the Phoenix, their upset win over a desperate Glory side now sees them only 2 points of catching them in 8th spot. While in addition to that, they are now only 3 wins behind the Wanderers for a spot in the finals. The Black & Yellow opened the scoring in the 3rd minute of the match through Sarpreet Signh and won the match via a Shane Lowry OG, however it didn’t matter as they claimed all 3 competition points. Diego Castro also fluffed his penalty attempt late on in the match.
What Should Happen: The last time these two teams played, it resulted in a dour 0-0 draw. However in that match, Wellington took 16 shots to their opponents 8. While in their last game, the Phoenix managed to have 14 shots vs the Glory’s 10. They’ve been a bit trigger happy in front of goal recently and its worked out well for them as they are no doubt in the best form they’ve shown all campaign. While the Central Coast have only scored 1 goal each in 3 of their past 4 games. The New Zealander’s are surging up the ladder a lil bit, while Paul Okon’s men are not. Expect the Phoenix to claim their 2nd consecutive victory in what should be a hard-fought battle.
Betting tip: Pick Wellington to win at $3.30 (Pinnacle)
Saturday, February 24
Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
5:35 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: A 10th goal of the season to Massimo Maccarone and a 1st of the season to Brett Holman saw Brisbane come up victorious against the Victory 2-1. And they did it with only 36% of the ball and 9 less taken shots than their opponents. John Aloisi fielded a very old squad, yet they showed their experience where they counted as they taught Melbourne a lesson or two on how to play the game properly. As a result, Brisbane are now only 4 points of a finals spot, however given the closeness of this seasons competition, they are also only 5 points ahead of last place. While for the Jets, they remain 2nd after their thoroughly entertaining 2 goals apiece draw with Western Sydney. Oriol Riera struck home 2 penalties for the home side, while a wonder goal each from Petratos and Nabbout saw the result be what it was. Shooting was a key factor for Newcastle this game as an impressive 7 of their 15 taken shots ended up on target. While they also had 56% possession to their opponents 44%. Newcastle also gave away only 9 fouls to the Wanderers 18 in another key stat from the game.
What Should Happen: A close game. The Roar have won 3 of their past 4 matches and are surging up the ladder in their pursuit of a finals spot. While the Jets just won’t give up their chase of Sydney FC and have in their past 3 matches, drawn twice with Top 6 opposition, while also keeping the Victory scoreless in a commanding 2-0 win. In addition to this, both Jamie Young and Jack Duncan will go head to head in this game and being among the games best goal-keepers, they will keep the opposing teams defences very honest!!!
Betting tip: Pick both teams to score at $1.61 (Bet365)
Pick Newcastle to score first at $1.85 (CrownBet)
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
What’s Happened Most Recently: One side is coming of a poor result, while the other of a great one given the circumstances they were in. The poor defeat came courtesy of the Victory in their 2-1 loss against a very old Brisbane side. They were down 2-0 before a magnificent strike from James Troisi bought back the score-line a little bit. The loss came despite the fact that they dominated possession (64%), had 15 shots vs Brisbane’s 6 and had a better passing accuracy than them (77% vs 64%). However goals to Maccarone and Holman proved to get the better of the home team. While for Adelaide, their 2-all draw with the Mariners was an amazing result given the refeeres un-fair ‘bashing’ of them. This included a potential hand-ball in the lead-up to Andrew Hoole’s goal for the visitors and Gulum’s 18th minute red-card. Those were among the calls that went against Adelaide on the night. While in another piece of bad luck for the home-side, Ryan Strain scored an un-fortunate OG. However a George Blackwood strike in the 83rd minute saw Adelaide claim the un-likely result.
What Should Happen: An easy Adelaide win. While Adelaide have been very good this season and no doubt have exceeded expectations by currently sitting in the competitions Top 4, they’ll win this game because of how bad the Victory have been of late, not because of the magic they should produce in this match. Last round, playing at home, in a must-win game, the Victory produced next to nothing in their 2-1 loss to a historically old Brisbane side. While before that, they got kept to 0 goals by Newcastle in a loss and before that was a 3-1 loss to Sydney at home, a match in which they blew a 1 goal lead. HC Kevin Muscat has seemingly been on the chopping block for a while now but his side hasn’t responded, in the un-likeliest of events that this chooses to be the day they do something about it, they still won’t be able to beat a class Adelaide team.
Betting tip: Pick Adelaide to be victorious at $3.75 (Pinnacle)
Perth Glory v Melbourne City
10:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: Perth’s faltering season continued as they suffered a 2-1 loss to last-placed Wellington. Now instead of being in the thick of the race for a finals spot, Perth are only 2 points of last-place. To compound matters in this game for Kenny Lowe’s men, they conceded the opening goal of the match within the first 3 minutes, they missed a penalty (courtesy of a major Diego Castro stuff-up) and the Phoenix’s winner came in the 90th minute after a Shane Lowry OG. Things could simply not get worse for the WA based side!!! Well, they had more of the ball and a better passing accuracy and still couldn’t claim something from the game, Lowe must be close to getting fired, while the Glory recently, they’d struggle to beat a high-school side little-lone anyone in the A-League. While for City, they remain in 3rd place, but their Championship hopes took a battering as they went down 4-0 to the real Sky Blues. The goals came from 2 apiece to Bobo, 1 to Ninkovic and 1 to Mierzejewski. Melbourne’s shooting really let them down in this 1 vs 3 battle as of their 16 shots, only 3 were on target. Just about the only positives from this match for Melbourne was the strong play of wonder-kid Daniel Arzani and the return of Bruno Fornarolli.
What Should Happen: These teams like to score a goal or two. Diego Castro is evident of that for the Glory + his partners in crime in Keogh and Taggart (when they choose to turn up). While for City, Dario Vidosic is usually a decent option, while Arzani is the face of the club and Fornarolli loves to find the back of the net. While neither team fancies defending all that much. Perth gave up 2 to the cellar-dwellars who have an absolute dearth of attacking options, while City leaked in 4 in their last game. Pick this match to be a high-scoring affair, even if it’s absolutely nothing else.
Betting tip: If neither team scores, it’ll be a pleasant surprise, however that won’t happen, pick both of them to find the back of the net at $1.50 (Bet365)
Sunday, February 25
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:00 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: Like their Melbourne rivals, who drew 3-all in the ACL, Sydney also had to contend with that recently in their 2-0 loss. However for the Sky Blues, it should be back to dominating Australian opposition as normal, such was their 4-0 dismantling of City in the 1st edition of the split round. Bobo had 2x goals, while Ninkovic and Adrian scored 1x each. For Bobo those were his 19th & 20th strikes of the season, while it was Adrian’s 10th. While Milos is slowly finding his feet again after his long lay-off from injury as it was the 4th time of the season he has found the back of the net. Sydney are killing it in 1st place as they currently sit 11 points clear of the 2nd placed Jets. While for the Red & Black, they currently reside in the top 6 and are 4 points clear of the 7th placed Roar after their entertaining 2-all draw vs Newcastle. 2 wonder strikes were scored by the away side, however 2 penalties from Mr Reliable in Oriol Riera saw the end result not being able to split the two sides. They were his 10th and 11th goals of the season and he’s now only behind his opposing man in Bobo in the race for the A-Leagues Golden Boot.
This will no doubt be the game of the round!!! While the last time they met, Sydney came away with a very comfortable 5-0 victory. That day the Wanderers were absolutely humiliated, will they, led by Riera come back with revenge against Sydney or will the Sky Blues and reigning champions prove why they are the best in the league by a country-mile once again?.
What Should Happen: Your typical derby game between these two very in form teams.
Passion should be on display all throughout the match. This being highlighted by both Andrew Redmayne and Vedran Janjetovic playing against their former teams, they always have a point to prove and care so much about their current employers.
Skill should also be in abundance during this game, led by the previously mentioned Bobo and Riera. For Sydney it’s to a lesser extent, but if either side wants to take all 3 points from this game then their main marksmen will have to be on point. This being based of not many chances should be given to either side in what should be a very stoic defensive affair.
Also pick them to score first at $1.44 (CrownBet)
Best Bet of the Round
Pick MEL vs PER to be a draw at $3.93 (Pinnacle)
Pick Perth to score first at $2.25 (Bet365)