This weekend’s A-League matches will hopefully provide a positive distraction for some from the Queensland floods. As we come to the end of one of the most harrowing weeks in Australia’s recent history the football show must go on and another action packed weekend of A-League awaits.
Gold Coast United v North Queensland Fury (AEDT 2030)
This is a no brainer, back the Gold Coast to win. It might seem strange to say that about a side that has gone 4 games without a victory, but if we look at the facts you’ll see why. They play bottom side North Queensland. The Fury have had a hectic recent schedule and this will be their 11th game since the start of December. The Fury’s players are tired, and not just physically, but also emotionally as their state comes to terms with an horrific death toll from the floods. North Queensland also enter this match without leading scorer David Williams who will miss with a knee injury. Gold Coast are fresh from a week off and will be buoyed by the return of star kiwi striker Shane Smeltz. Smeltz comes back from a spell in Turkey’s top flight and A-League defenders will be quivering at the prospect of dealing with the big number 9.
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win @ 1.44 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win by 2+ Goals @ 2.30 (Sportsbet)
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 1930)
The city derby is the match of the round. The A-League’s version of El Classico is up to it’s 21st edition. Melbourne leads the head to heads 7 to 5 with 8 draws, but the Victory come into this one in terrible form. Melbourne have been spanked in their last 2 matches and skipper Kevin Muscat is suspended, joining Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson on the sidelines. The sky blues have won 2 in a row for the first time all season and will fancy their chances at getting number 3 over their arch rival. Sydney probably can’t make the finals but they can make it difficult for their great enemy to qualify. If there is one thing we have learnt about the Victory during the A-League it is that you can never write them off. They will love this situation and should escape Sydney with a point.
Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.40 (TAB Sportsbet)
Perth Glory v Melbourne Heart (21:45 EADT)
A match between 2 teams in form. Perth might be 10th, but are unbeaten in their last 3 at home, and the Heart have won 3 on the spin to propel themselves to the cusp of the top 6. They will have a tough job to get in as Newcastle occupy 6th spot and have a game in hand on the Heart. I think both teams will be going for goals, so this could be a free for all. I am going to back Perth purely based on the home ground advantage.
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win @ 2.15 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Over3.5 goals @ 3.85 (Centrebet)
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners (AEDT 1700)
The 22nd F3 derby headlines the Sunday night A-League action. These two teams have always been evenly matched and this is reflected in the overall head to head record. Newcastle just edge it with 7 wins to Central Coast’s 6, while there have been 8 draws. Both teams were in action midweek, so neither side will have the advantage of fresh legs. This is a massive game for both clubs. The Jets will be looking to cement a spot in the top 6, while Central Coast have a chance to snatch 2nd spot, and a potential Asian Champions League place, away from Adelaide. The Jets rarely lose at home, so I’m going to snap up the 2.70 Centrebet are offering up for a Newcastle triumph. And since it is an often spiteful derby there might be a controversial penalty.
Andy’s Bet: Newcastle to win @ 2.70 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Penalty Scored – Yes @ 4.33 (Sportsbet)
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
Due to the Queensland floods, this fixture will no longer be played at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. At the time of writing it is unclear where or when the match will be played. An announcement is expected soon.