With the top 3 teams all winning last weekend, the A-League table is starting to take shape. Brisbane and Adelaide are comfortably clear in the top 2, with the Gold Coast moving to 3rd. However, the Gold Coast lost their midweek fixture to Newcastle, meaning Central Coast could leapfrog them with their game in hand.
Newcastle have come into form at the right time and are 5th, 3 points clear for a finals spot, with 2 games in hand. 6th place, and the last finals position, is currently held by the Melbourne Victory. Wellington and Melbourne Heart are in hot pursuit, but have played more games than Victory, so will have to keep winning if they want to secure a finals berth.
This weekend’s action is headlined by a triple header on Saturday. Football fans can relax and get comfy on the couch from 5pm on Saturday. If you’re feeling particularly keen, you can then go straight into an English Premier League triple header!
This column’s suggested bets recorded a 3rd straight profit last weekend. Hopefully the trend continues again this week!
Adelaide United v Melbourne Heart (AEDT 2000)
Another Friday night fixture at Hindmarsh Stadium! This is the 3rd in the last 4 weeks and this suits United as they have been in devastating form at their home venue. The 2-0 win over North Queensland was their 7th home win in a row. Heart have been fairly ordinary in recent weeks. Melbourne’s new team have lost 6, and drawn 1, of their last 7 fixtures. This has seen them fall out of the top 6. These 2 teams met just a month ago in Melbourne and Adelaide took all 3 points with a 2-0 victory. Heart have had a number of players returning in recent weeks and coach Johan van’t Schip doesn’t seem to know how to fit them all in. Kristian Sarkies and Josip Skoko are battling for a midfield spot, and puzzlingly Michael Beauchamp has been squeezed out of the side. Matt Thompson has taken Beauchamp’s spot. Thompson was horrible last weekend and I cannot understand him playing in defence ahead of a player who performed well for Australia during the 2010 World Cup. Adelaide are too short (approx 1.55) to back straight out for the win, so I am going to be a bit risky and hope the Heart can hold out for 45 minutes.
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1700)
This will be an interesting one. Newcastle continued their recent good form with a third successive 2-0 win during the week. They have scored most of their goals in those games after the 75th minute as well. The Jets are now unbeaten in 7 and they have rocketed up to 5th. The Phoenix haven’t reached the heights of last season, but they are still a tough nut to crack at the Westpac Stadium. Wellington have only been defeated by visiting sides twice in 10 matches on their home turf. Crucially, Wellington skipper Andrew Durante is suspended for this one. The defender has played every minute of Wellington’s last 50 matches, so his loss will be felt. In spite of this I think the Phoenix will win as I expect Newcastle to be fatigued after a busy recent schedule. This will be their 5th match in December already. They also have their skipper suspended after Ljubo Milicevic was sent off against Gold Coast.
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win to nil @ 3.85 (Centrebet)
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory (AEDT 1900)
The league’s top 5 sides will be anxiously looking back over their shoulders because Melbourne Victory are back in the top 6. The league powerhouse is in ominous form as well, unbeaten in 4 games and scoring 10 goals during that period. The golden triangle of Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson up front with Carlos Hernandez in behind is back to its best. Perth travel to AAMI Park without a win in their last 9 away matches. If Victory keep Robbie Fowler quiet, then I think they will win comfortably.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.50 (Centrebet)
North Queensland Fury v Brisbane Roar (AEDT 2115)
North Queensland picked up a nice win against Sydney during the week. That win lifted the Fury up from the bottom of the ladder. They will have their work cut out for them against a Brisbane team who have made winning a habit. The Roar are 7 points clear at the top of the table and are crusing to the minor premiership. Last weekend they battered Sydney, but only won 1-0. This week they might just take all of their chances.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win @ 1.73 (Sportsbet)
Gold Coast United v Central Coast Mariners (AEDT 1700)
We have to wait until Sunday for the match of the round between these two teams occupying 3rd and 4th on the league ladder. Gold Coast have only lost one of their last 8 home matches and that was with a very weakened team. Central Coast trekked west to Perth last Sunday and another away trip this weekend might mean some weary legs in the last 45 minutes.
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win @ 2.15 (multiple sites)
Andy’s Bet: Draw at half time and Gold Coast to win at full time @ 5.00 (Centrebet, Sportsbet)