For the first time in recent memory, the off field A-League publicity provided greater substance than the on field action. Isn’t this meant to be the season when our big guns return home to make the league a great spectacle? Unfortunately for the 40,000 strong crowd at Etihad Stadium last Saturday night, Harry Kewell, Brett Emerton and friends could only fire blanks, much like this betting column! Bring on week 2.
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $100 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $47
Profit/Loss = + $53
% Profit/Loss = -53%
CHEEKY ROUND 2 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast and Wellington to win @ 3.40 (Centrebet)
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 2000)
At the moment Melbourne’s attack resembles a meat lovers pizza. You know the one, a bit of dough topped with every type of meat imaginable. It looks great on the menu, but often there are too many meat flavours and it all becomes a bit much for your tastebuds. The Victory have many toppings, but can’t fit them all on the one slice and haven’t yet perfected the perfect recipe. Last week it was Danny Allsop playing the role of target man, with Harry Kewell playing just behind him and Archie Thompson shunted out to the left wing. Jean-Carlos Solorzano was reduced to a cameo appearance off the bench and Carlos Hernandez was away on international duty with Costa Rica. Youngster and new signing Marco Rojas was arguably the Victory’s most dangerous player foraging down the right flank. Even with all these attacking options Melbourne still failed to find the net against Sydney, proving you can have too much of a good thing. In their match, Adelaide were awful in the fast half, but somehow kept the scoreline to 0-0 at halftime. Rini Coolen’s Reds were much better after the break until conceding a soft goal late in the second period. I’m tipping Melbourne coach Mehmet Durakovic gets his order right this week, and if he doesn’t, can someone please get an Hawaiian Pizza delivered to Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night?
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win @ 2.75 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.92 (TAB Sportsbet)
Central Coast Mariners v Gold Coast United (AEDT 1730)
Central Coast fans could be forgiven for thinking they have stepped into Doctor Who’s TARDIS and are somehow travelling backwards in time. In Week 1 the Mariners travelled north for a Grand Final replay with Brisbane and this Saturday they’ll travel back one step further, to a Preliminary Final replay against the Gold Coast. United will visit with mixed feelings after snatching a late equaliser to draw with Wellington in their season opener. Gold Coast were expected to win, but will be thankful for attacking midfield prodigy James Brown, who lashed home a dipping effort from fully 25m to rescue a point for his team. Like his namesake, Brown has got a bit of funk about him. Under defensively minded coach Graham Arnold, the Mariners won ten games at Bluetongue Stadium last season, keeping their opposition scoreless in nine of those ten victories. Look for another professional Central Coast performance this Saturday.
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast to win @ 1.77 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast to win to nil @ 3.14 (Sportsbet)
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar (AEDT 1945)
“What a waste of money, what a waste of money!” That was the cruel chant which reverberated around Etihad Stadium last Saturday night after Sydney’s new marquee signing Brett Emerton fluffed a first half penalty kick. There is no doubt Emerton will be a great player for Sydney this year, but his glamour signing may have taken the limelight away from an even better bit of business done by the Sky Blues. Thirty year old Michael Beauchamp joined Sydney at the start of the season on a three year deal. The defender has been a part of the Australian squad at the last two World Cups and immediately looked impassable in a sky blue shirt on debut last week against Melbourne. Playing as a mobile brick wall, Beauchamp comfortably repelled the best attacking efforts of Harry Kewell, Danny Allsop and Archie Thompson. Life doesn’t get any easier for him this week with the all-conquering Brisbane Roar coming to town. The Roar have an amazing unbeaten run, which stretches back almost as far as the date of Ricky Ponting’s last test century. The defending A-League champions kicked off their season in style last week with a tight 1-0 win over Central Coast. However, if Beauchamp is on form again this could be Sydney’s second low-scoring draw in a row.
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1430)
Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 movie starring Clint Eastwood, although for the next few months there might be a few sequels played out at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium. Just as many prisoners unsuccessfully tried to escape from the American high security prison in the mid-1900s, A-League clubs will attempt to leave Wellington with three points. The odds of escaping Westpac Stadium are slightly better than Alcatraz, but not by much. 36 prisoners are said to have made escape attempts from Alcatraz, with all failing. In their last 36 home matches, at least the Phoenix have been beaten three times. This week’s detainees are the Newcastle Jets, who only won last week due to a lucky stoppage time deflection, while the Phoenix would have won but for a late wonder goal by the Gold Coast. Keep sticking with Wellington at Alcatraz, err, I mean home.
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win @ 1.93 (Centrebet)
Melbourne Heart v Perth Glory (AEDT 1700)
I like Perth Glory for this season. Coach Ian Ferguson has assembled a talented squad and looks to have found a real star with the delightfully named Andrezinho. The Brazilian was a bundle of flair and excitement on the left wing during his Perth debut last Sunday. With Shane Smeltz, Travis Dodd, Liam Miller and Billy Mehmet providing further creativity, the Glory will be looking for a second straight win. Melbourne are still without first-choice goalkeeper Clint Bolton, and his understudy Nikola Roganovic could be a busy man as twilight approaches AAMI Park this Sunday. Liam Miller was the chief free kick taker for the Glory last Sunday and he is more than capable of finding the net from a dead ball scenario. Miller also popped up in the box for a couple of sights on goal too, so I reckon he is good value to score at any time in this fixture.
Andy’s Bet: Perth Glory or Draw @ 1.65 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Liam Miller to score anytime @ 6.00 (Sportsbet)