Week 2 of the A-League was better than week 1 for this column, but only slightly. The action on the pitch has also been luckluster, with only 19 goals netted in the opening 10 matches of the season. This average of 1.9 goals per game is much lower than the long-term average of 2.69 for the league (last season was 2.63). Time will tell if this is the start of a defensive phenomenon or an early season statistical anomaly. For interest’s sake, I’ve compared the goals per game ratio of the A-League to some top European Leagues.
League: Goals per game this season (goals per game last season)
A-League: 1.9 (2.63)
English Premier League: 2.85 (2.8)
Serie A: 2.37 (2.51)
La Liga: 2.56 (2.74)
Bundesliga: 2.88 (2.92)
Ligue 1: 2.67 (2.34)
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $200 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $101.30
Profit/Loss = – $98.70
% Profit/Loss = -49.4%
CHEEKY ROUND 3 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane, Melbourne Victory and Perth all to win @ 4.20 (Centrebet)
Brisbane Roar v Gold Coast United (AEDT 2035)
This is the first of three derby clashes for rivalry weekend. Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou must be loving his job right now. His team are dispatching opposition sides with disdain, victorious in both matches this season without conceding a single goal, and now he can recall fit again wingers Henrique and Rocky Visconte. Things aren’t travelling so smoothly for the Gold Coast, with striker Dylan Macallister bitten on the foot this week by a redback spider and now only a 50-50 chance to line up. If Macallister does miss, United will likely include Dutch striker Maceo Rigters for his debut. Both Gold Coast’s goals this season have been scored by attacking midfielder James Brown. The youngster has struck with two fabulous hits and is now, officially, this column’s new favourite player. I learnt a lesson last week that when Brisbane are playing, do not back against a Roar win. Just don’t do it. It really should be Australian law.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win @ 1.53 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.70 (Sportsbet)
Adelaide United v Sydney FC (AEDT 1735)
Both these teams need to shoulder some responsibility for the dreary start to this season. Their matches have averaged just a single goal, with Sydney yet to even score, meaning the under 2.5 goal option looks a smart play for this fixture. Hindmarsh Stadium became a fortress for Adelaide last season and at one stage the Reds had a seven game winning streak at their home venue. Adelaide also boast an impressive recent record against their visiting opposition, defeating Sydney in all three clashes between the sides last season. With striker Mark Bridge still suspended from the Sky Blues’ season opener, Sydney lack a class finisher. Adelaide have no such problem and their main-man, last season’s golden boot winner, Sergio van Dijk, was on target last week against the Melbourne Victory. Anything other than an Adelaide win would be a surprise.
Andy’s Bet: Adelaide United to win @ 2.15 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.75 (Centrebet)
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne Heart (AEDT 1950)
It’s derby day in Melbourne on Saturday and Etihad Stadium will be the place to be. Both teams are without a win in 2011/12, so will desperate for all three points. The Victory were hyped up all off-season, but are yet to score a single goal and already the pressure is on new coach Mehmet Durakovic to start getting results. The decisive battle on the pitch will be fought between Heart’s leaky backline and Victory’s misfiring attack. The Heart have conceded five goals in two games and may present the sort of opportunities Harry Kewell, Archie Thompson and co need to kick-start their season. Heart defender Simon Colosimo could be rushed back from injury for this game, but even he will be a couple of games off the pace, while Heart captain and former Victory star Fred will miss through injury. I was on the Victory bandwagon at the start of this season and it’s not time to hop off just yet!
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win @ 1.80 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory half time/full time double @ 3.10 (Centrebet)
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners (AEDT 1705)
The F3 derby is a super way to kick off Sunday football! Last week I said the Central Coast Mariners were in the Doctor Who TARDIS travelling back in time, but this week it is the Jets going back to the future after appointing former boss Gary van Egmond to the vacant coaching position. Van Egmond took the club to A-League glory in 2007-08. Having a coach generally improves a team (note the sarcastic tone) and it was remarkable the board didn’t have one in place at the start of the season! Current caretaker coach Craig Deans will lead Newcastle one last time this week and I expect a 100% improvement from the Jets this week as the players look to impress the new manager. The Jets lost last week, so what does a 100% improvement mean, a draw? Close enough I reckon. The Mariners let in one goal in week 1, then one goal last week and if they concede a single goal once more, the 1-1 looks good.
Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.35 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1-1 @ 7.50 (Sportingbet)
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix (AEDT 1935)
Perth are my early tip to be the team to challenge Brisbane for this season’s crown and for futures punters, the Glory can still be found at $7.50 for the title. Ian Ferguson’s men have hit the ground running to remain one of two teams with a 100% winning record. Shane Smeltz is again dominating the league from his striking position and will get plenty of supply from a creative midfield. The question mark is over the Glory defence, although a clean sheet here will give real momentum to their climb to the top of the ladder. Wellington have surprised many to remain unbeaten after two matches, however a long trip to Perth seems like a bit of a stretch for the Phoenix. Wellington will be without midfield fulcrum Tim Brown for this match after the vice-captain received a dubious second yellow card for time wasting in the dying stages of their win last week. Without Brown, the Phoenix will be overrun in the middle of the park and the Glory should stroll to a comfortable win.
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win @ 1.60 (TAB Sportsbet)