The following are previews with betting tips for selected Round of 32 fixtures in the 2018 FFA Cup.
Wednesday, August 1
Adelaide United vs Central Coast Mariners
7:30 PM, Marden Sports Complex
Last season/ off-season: Adelaide came a very respectable 5th last campaign and if it weren’t for a late Besart Berisha winner, they would have been a fair chance to at least advance into the second week of the finals under Marco Kurz & Co. While for the Central Coast, Wellington beat them out and as a result the Gosford based side finished with the dreaded Wooden Spoon. And to compound their misery they had only four victories throughout their horrible campaign. The Mariners final game was an 8-2 loss in the F3 Derby.
One of the only two goal-scorers in that game for the Mariners was youngster Trent Buhagiar, a player that Sydney FC have since poached from Mike Mulvey’s team. However other players such as former-Jet Mario Shabow, Corey Gameiro and Jack Clisby have joined the side in what is a revamped Mariners outfit. What could prove to be the biggest shock in A-League history is the potential possibility of international and superstar athlete Usain Bolt joining the side, pending a successful six-week trial. His speed alone should and will scare every other team in the A-League. As for Adelaide they too have gained some and lost some. Craig Goodwin returns to the club on a 3-year deal, however they have lost Daniel Adlung. While in a major boost to the squad former Denmark international and Melbourne City player Michael Jakobsen is a superb acquisition.
Who’ll be victorious?: The past six games played between these two sides have resulted in either draws or the winners only winning by one goal. While 2-all was the score when the last met in Adelaide. It was a start-to-finish match with Andrew Hoole giving the Mariners the lead inside seven minutes, however United secured a point with a late George Blackwood ball finding the back of the net. Both sides should and will look a bit clunky given how early it is in the season and you can expect it to be an error-filled game. However one side has to go through, even if it is on penalties and as a result you can expect it to be last years FFA Cup runner-ups advancing through to the Round of 16.
Bet on Adelaide in the head-to-head at $1.70 (TopBetta)
Rockdale City Suns FC vs Sydney FC
7:30 PM, Rockdale Illinden Sports Center
Last season/ off-season: Rockdale currently sit in 5th on the ladder, while they have scored an impressive 34 goals from 18 matches this season. While for Sydney, despite having a 5-0 trial win recently, they might struggle against a more professional side. They no longer have Bobo or Adrian to rely on. While key-bench impact players such as David Carney and Matt Simon are also gone. However despite 40 goals now gone in the form of Sydney’s two sold major-ex men, they still have both Milos Ninkovic and Alex Brosque who were prominent parts of Sydney’s two trophies last campaign. Not to mention a semi-final finish. Gone also is Graham Arnold and replaced with club legend Steve Corica, a man who bleeds Sky Blue from the inside out.
The Sky Blue’s last A-League game was of course their heart-breaking defeat to the Melbourne Victory who would go onto become the A-League’s controversial Champions. Former Sydney man Terry Antonis stabbed them at the heart with the late winner after his unfortunate own-goal allowed the game to go into ET. As if Sydney didn’t need any more motivation to start the season on fire, the prospect of them becoming the first team in the short history of the FFA Cup to win it twice should help spur them on a little bit as well.
Who’ll be victorious?: Sydney FC, although not as easily as some may think. Rockdale are well into their current season already, while on the opposite end Sydney are just starting theirs. While this combined with what should be a strong turn out of Suns supporters will work in the underdogs favour as well. However only two seasons ago Sydney were considered the best team to ever play in the A-League while they still won 2/3 available domestic trophies last season. To go along with this, Milos Ninkovic should be looking to have an absolute belter. With his other two major marquee names gone, he’s now the best player at the club. And while he was relatively quiet last season with only four goals and five assists, look for him to run riot in this game.
Bet on Sydney in the head-to-head at $1.17 (TopBetta)
Tuesday, August 7
Brisbane Roar vs Melbourne City
7:30 PM, Dolphin Stadium
Last season/ off-season: Brisbane just scraped into the A-League’s Top Six last season while City finished 3rd on 43 points. However Brisbane were knocked out in the first week 2-0 by City themselves, while Melbourne were eliminated 2-1 the week after by Newcastle. The first round elimination culminated in what was a very patchy season for Brisbane in which they finished with more defeats then they did wins (12 vs 10). While for City despite having a very good regular season, on the whole it was considered a failure for them considering they won nothing and missed out on ACL qualification.
Massimo Maccarone knew how to find the back of the net despite his old age for Brisbane and now he’s gone, while John Aloisi will have to find someone else within his side to fill the goal-scoring void that he’s now left upon his return to Italy. While for City constant rumours have Daniel Arzani heading abroad to try his hand in Europe. Whether his leaves this season or next campaign. What effect will this have on his mind-set while he’s representing the brighter side of Melbourne? For Brisbane despite some of their losses, guys like Adam Taggart (a former A-League Golden Boot winner) and Danish winger Tobias Mikkelsen have been added to the side in what are two massive boosts for them. Their owners in a nice change of pace for the organisation haven’t been afraid to open their purse-strings recently. And as long as Warren Joyce is in charge of City, they’ll always have a shot no matter what comp they’re competing in.
Who’ll be victorious?: Last season as previously mentioned it was Melbourne who sent Brisbane packing from the finals. This time it’ll be the opposite and just in a different competition. If Adam Taggart, a player who had more than a goal per match during his most recent stint with Perth (20 goals from 28 games), Mikkelsen, a new signing who has repped Denmark in the past and Éric Bauthéac, one of Brisbane’s best players last season, all combine to fire against City, then it’ll be over for Melbourne, not matter how hard they try to counter what Brisbane throws at them. The Roar have invested well this season and expect that to show through in the form of a victory.
Bet on Brisbane in the head-to-head at $2.60 (Neds)
Perth Glory vs Melbourne Victory
7:30 PM, Dorrien Gardens
Last season/ off-season: For the Glory they finished 8th last season, a bit ironic considering their name. Their campaign was ultimately a disaster. Injuries plagued them throughout the year while Kenny Lowe was eventually sacked. They also no longer have Adam Taggart. However at the end of the tunnel Perth can see the whole damn sun given the signing of Tony Popovic as their new head coach and several Socceroos bolstering the side including recent-signing Jason Davidson. While they still have Diego Castro and Andy Keogh up front combined with the re-signed Neil Kilkenny. As if all of this wasn’t enough to look foward to for Glory fans, they will have played a massive game against Chelsea before this match and it will be the perfect preparation for it. If they can successfully defend maybe a Willian or an Olivier Giroud, then whatever the Victory throw at them should really be no problem at all.
While for the Victory they are the reigning A-League champs after their 2-1 Grand Final victory over the Jets. However it was one that had a bit of controversy attached to it. However champions are still champions, no matter what happened. But despite this their off-season has reflected totally different to what a normal winners one should and normally would look like. Rhys Williams is gone, Jamies Donachie is gone and Berisha is even gone among others. While the biggest loss of them all is Leroy George, a man who bagged nine goals and 13 assists last season. On his way out from the Victory he took his own not so subtle shot at them saying that the club basically wasn’t paying him what he was worth and that due to the finals structure of the A-League, the League itself is inherently a joke. Compounding this is that Kevin Muscat hasn’t added a whole lot of players to replace those who have already departed.
Who’ll be victorious?: Perth for so many reasons and it’ll be as easy as 1, 2, 3. One reason is that without Berisha will will the Victory’s goals come from with Leroy George no longer there either. Both were the main threats in front of goal for the Victory last campaign producing a combined 28 goals. Another being the Glory will want to impress the new gaffer in the form of Popovic while their newly-rebuilt defence featuring some excellent Socceroo defenders won’t hurt either. While finally another reason is given that the Victory haven’t acquired much in the way of players during the off-season, what they put out onto the field vs Perth could be quite a youthful team. And as hard as they might try, the Glory will have them covered in all areas of the game.
Bet on Perth in the head-to-head at $2.55 (Neds)