The following are previews with betting tips for Round 1 of the 2018/19 A-League season.
Friday, October 19
Adelaide United v Sydney FC
7:50 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
Whats happened most recently: For Adelaide their last match saw them cruise into the FFA Cup Final with a rater comfortable 2-0 victory vs Bentleigh away from home. Ben Halloran got a debut goal in the 21st minute and then just after half-time (49th minute), Jordan Elsey sealed the result with a strike of his own. Adelaide were victorious despite having only 49% of the ball. However they peppered their opponents in front of goals taking 21 shots. And in a massive positive they can take into this game against the Sky Blues, versing the Greens they completed an outstanding 82% of their passes (314/383). However in more of a negative for United they conceded 15 fouls, that compared to Bentleigh who gave away only nine.
For Sydney during the first-half it looked like they could be bowing out of the FFA Cup and giving Western Sydney the win. However they burst out of the gates during the second stanza and ended up taking home a convincing 3-0 Derby win and sending themselves to their 3rd FFA Cup Final in as many seasons. Trent Buhagiar bagged his 4th goal from as many Cup games in the 49th minute. And then a simply superb debut free-kick goal from Siem de Jong put the icing on the cake in the 64th minute. After that a 75th minute penalty conceded by Tarek Elrich gave Adam Le Fondre his second goal from his past two matches. The Sky Blues took only eight shots during the match but 50% of them were on target. However fouls were a bit of a sore issue for them as they gave away a stupid 21 of them.
What should happen: A close and tight affair. Excluding the last match between these two sides which resulted in a 3-0 Sydney win, four of the past six games contested between these two sides have either been draws or a win with only a one goal margin in it. Both sides are known for having notoriously good defences. For Adelaide having 6x Australian U23 player Paul Izzo between the sticks is simply always a comfort for them. And for Sydney when your back for is Zullo, Van der Linden, Wilkinson and Grant your pretty damn comfortable as well! Pick defence to be the theme here in what should turn out to be a low-scoring Sydney victory.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to win at $2.45 (Sportsbet)
Pick Sydney to find the back of the net first at $1.85 (Neds)
Saturday, October 20
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
7:50 PM AEDT, Marvel Stadium
Whats happened most recently: The Victory suffered a 3-1 trial match loss to the Wellington Phoenix. This is of a great concern to Kevin Muscats men, or at least it should be given the two different status’s of the two sides. Really the only positive to emerge from the game from the Victory’s perspective was that Honda got of the mark converting a penalty for them. Other then that, ehh! And their last professional match wasn’t much more of a positive either as they, the reigning A-League champions, were knocked out of the FFA Cup by APIA Leichardt. Kenny Athiu scored a double within the 60th-66th minutes of the game but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers had already led 2-0 by that point. And the opposition sealed their unlikely win with an 80th minute Milgate winner. Melbourne had 73% of the ball and took 16 shots. Very concerning that the victory wasn’t theirs.
For City they went out of the Cup to the Wanderers in a 2-1 loss at home. They were down 2-0 before half-time. And despite a 53rd minute special Riley McGree goal, it wasn’t quite enough to get them back into the game. However the result could have been so, so different had Bruno Fornarolli converted his 13th minute penalty attempt. That quite literally could have changed the entire outcome of the game. And the Wanderers absolutely dominated them from the get-go as they had 67% possession. While of the field new signing Richie de Laet a former Manchester United player has claimed there’s no “pressure” for him heading into the new campaign. That type of approach is what might do the entire City squad best as they try not to get too overwhelmed in their pursuit of an A-League trophy and a debut ACL spot.
What should happen: A perfect spectacle to start both teams new seasons. Tim Cahill’s crazy goal, a late Berisha winner, hectic red cards. These Derbies create ever lasting memories and this match should prove to be no different in the slightest. Both teams hate each other and will desperately want to get a one up on the other to open their campaign in the best way possible. However looking at recent results, the Victory have been very, very shaky while City despite their WSW defeat, have looked quite strong. With Fornarolli having that continuity with Luke Brattan + Riley McGree now in the mix as well. That questionable form in addition to what City offer attack wise and continuity wise should see them edge out their rivals, if only just.
Betting tip: Pick City to be victorious at $3.00 (Neds)
Pick both teams to score at $1.57 (Bet365)
Sunday, October 21
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
3:00 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
Whats happened most recently: Wellington signed Steven Taylor and then Mitch Nichols. They were knocked out of the FFA Cup by the freaking Gold Coast! But then they convincingly beat the Victory in a trial game 3-1. It’s been/was a very, very interesting off-season/pre-season for Wellington. They’ve made some great signings, but also some really poor ones also. They’ve also had some really awesome results, but also some quite poor ones. It’s a little bit hard to get a read on them so far but, Roy Krishna (32 goals for the Phoenix), looks to be raring to go for the start of the new season and Mark Rudan as manager seems to be a very good acquisition. However in some ways it’s been a very disappointing lead-up to the season for Wellington as they were linked to massive Footballers such as former Chelsea man Michael Essien but nothing ever came of those rumours.
As for the Jets, the A-League runner ups of last season, their FFA Cup campaign ended in just the second round as they went down to Melbourne City 1-0. Bruno Fornarolli scored the only goal in the 54th minute for the oppostion as City got their revenge for their finals defeat to them last season. And in some of the field news all of Nigel Boogard, Jason Hoffman, Steven Ugarkovic and Dimitri Petratos recently all signed extensions with the club. All three veterans re-signing with the club is great for them as they continue to retain the bulk of last years incredible sqaud. However probably the most important was Petratos re-upping with the club. He made his Socceroos debut as a result of the Jets and it’s simply wonderful for not only Newcastle but the entire A-League that he wanted to continue his Footballing development with them instead of somewhere else.
What should happen: Fire, fire and fire and not from the Jets either. Could Wellington be kicked out onto the curb at the end of the A-League season? Who knows. But the Phoenix will be aiming to make that a non option and will look to be showing what they can achieve from the get go as they seek survival as a franchise. Expect Krishna (22 goals/34 games for Fiji), Nathan Burns (former Johnny Warren Medal winner) and Singh, the hottest talent out for the phoenix, to lead the attack strongly as they seek to cause a monumental upset against Newcastle. It’s do or die quite literally for Wellington and expect them to leave it all out there on the grass against the Jets.
Betting tip: Pick Wellington to claim the upset win at $3.25 (Bet365)
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
5:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
Whats happened most recently: The Roar were knocked out of the opening round of the FFA Cup 1-0 by Melbourne City. And it was a very unfortunate defeat at that as well as with the last play of the game in the 120th minute Bruno Fornaroli scored. However post then Brisbane have progressed quite well and have made obvious improvements under John Aloisi. One major and obvious one was subbing out the very old Massimo Maccarone for the younger and more vibrant Adam Taggart. While new midfielder, influential Spanish player Alex Lopez was described as the “perfect signing” by Aloisi. That is another very positive isgn for the club and where they are trying to head this season. And in some heart-warming news academy player Aaron Reardon penned his first ever professional deal. It’s been positive all-round for the Roar as they seek to do better than last seasons Week One Finals defeat.
For the Central Coast pretty much everything but being knocked out of the FFA Cup 3-0 by Adelaide has been good for them. They’ve gained so much more support since Usain Bolt arrived at the club and the Mariners are now known throughout the world. And they’ve won a lot of their trial games as well, a good sign for a club that could only muster together four total victories last campaign. Matty SImon’s banging them in, the attack looks good. It’s positive feelings all-round for Mike Mulvey’s men. And they’ve had the perfect finish to their pre-season before they face Brisbane as the posted a recent 3-0 victory with all of Michael McGlinchey, Connor Pain and Simon finding the back of the net. While signing players such as former Reading man Kalifa Cisse, Ross McCormack and Tommy Oar has shown that the Mariners finally may not be stingy anymore and that they are being legitimate about competing for trophies this season.
What should happen: An all-out attack affair. On one side your featuring Adam Taggart, Tobias Mikkelsen, Bautheac and Henrique among others. And on the other you have McCormack, Oar, Simon and Murray among their other attacking weapons. Both sides when they’re close to the box have the potential to really go at it and that’s one of the reasons goals should be a plenty in this match-up. As well as that, four of the past seven games contested between these two sides have seen three or more goals been produced, including when Brisbane thrashed them 5-1 and four different men put their names on the score-sheet (Maclaren, Broich, D’Agostino and Ferreira).
Betting tip: Pick the Mariners to get the upset victory at $4.00 (Neds)
Pick both teams to score at $1.61 (Bet365)
Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Whats happened most recently: Perth were knocked out of Round One of the FFA Cup 1-0 by the Melbourne Victory. However they put in a decent shift against Chelsea to only lose 1-0 and make the entire A-League proud. And the rest of their off-season/pre-season was pretty damn impressive as well as they lured several fringe/former Socceroos to their side, signed Tony Popovic as manager and got him to bring along record Wanderers goal scorer Brendan Santalab with him. And back to the on-field stuff, in the Glory’s most recent trial match they were beaten 1-0 by City in a tight affair. It was mainly an impressive game by Perth as only a stunning long range Dario Vidosic strike is all that separated the two sides.
As for the Red & Black they were most recently torn apart by the Sky Blues in a first ever FFA Cup Sydney Derby. They held it to 0-0 at half-time however after the interval a 49th minute goal, a superb free-kick and a penalty won the game for their rivals on a very frustrating night for the Wanderers. They had half the possession and more shots then their rivals, yet they couldn’t find their way to the back of the net. And in some interesting signing news for Marcus Babbel’s men, Rashid Mahazi was recently announced as his latest acquisition to the squad. A very puzzling move indeed as despite playing as a Midfielder, from 115 career matches he has only two goals, TWO! If Wanderers fans were questioning how they could get better after their loss, this sure as hell was not the solution they were looking for.
What should happen: Tony Popovic led the Wanderers to plenty of silverware during his regime there. And now for the first time ever he comes up against them in charge of a different side. He was a massive loss to Western Sydney and a massive pickup for Perth. He might not show it or say it, but no doubt this match will mean a lot to Popovic. While the same goes for Brendan Santalab. It will be an emotional game for both men, however expect former Crystal Palace assistant Popovic to be prepared for it and lead his side to the win.
Betting tip: Pick the Glory to be victorious at $2.65 (Sportsbet)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite and best bet of the round is SYD to beat ADL at $2.45 (Sportsbet)
The Sky Blues are too good and too talented not to win their opening match