I’m not sure who is under more pressure for a result this weekend? Melbourne Victory or this column! Three weeks in and we’re both struggling. I was supremely confident in my tips last weekend, but only successful in two of the five matches. This week’s games are incredibly open, which I like to think of as an opportunity, as it means us punters will be well rewarded for any successful bets.
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $300 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $159.60
Profit/Loss = – $140.40
% Profit/Loss = -46.8%
CHEEKY ROUND 4 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win, Central Coast and Perth under 2.5 goals and Gold Coast to win @ 6.35 (Sportingbet)
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United (AEDT 2000)
Brisbane are getting a goal better each week. The Roar started the season with a 1-0 victory over Central Coast, followingthat up with a 2-0 win in Sydney, before a 3-0 triumph over the Gold Coast last week. Although Brisbane weren’t as dominant as last week’s 3-0 scoreline suggests. The Roar did score early, but were largely outplayed by their Queensland counterparts for most of the first half and the first 15 minutes of the second period. At that point Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou introduced Massimo Murdocca from the bench and the diminutive midfielder played a superb through ball to set up Brisbane’s second. I love watching Brisbane play. They are the Arsenal equivalent of the A-League, skilfully knocking the ball around, keeping it on the floor and trying to manoeuvre their opponents out of position to play that killer pass. Adelaide were outplayed by Sydney last week and have plenty of injury concerns going into this match, notably last week’s goalscorer Dario Vidosic, striker Bruce Djite and defender Jon McKain. You need to be at the peak of your powers to trouble Brisbane at Suncorp and Adelaide are currently a long way from that particular summit.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.88 (Sportsbet)
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory (AEDT 1730)
Saturday’s action commences with this intriguing fixture between the joint bottom side and their Perth visitors, who are joint top. The Mariners have picked up just a single point from their first three fixtures, while the Glory arrive boasting a 100% winning record. For Graham Arnold’s men, lapses at the back have been costly, with the Mariners conceding a single goal in each of their three fixtures, only netting once in reply. Their captain and defensive marshal Alex Wilkinson is still sidelined, while this column looks forward to the return of the league’s best haircut, the splendidly overgrown part ginger part awesome afro that shines like a beacon atop Mustafa Amini’s head. Amini played in the National Youth League last week and is a small chance of making the subs bench this Saturday. I really hope he hasn’t ventured near a pair of scissors in the off-season. Perth have won each game by a single strike, with main marksman Shane Smeltz’s goals turning draws into victories twice already this campaign. Perth might be the visitors here, but they are in superior form and are ready to pounce on the Mariners’ weekly defensive lapse.
Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.75 (Sportingbet)
Melbourne Heart v Sydney FC (AEDT 1945)
From my vantage point, perched in the upper reaches of Etihad Stadium last Saturday night and watching on as the Heart continuously broke through the Victory midfield, I wondered to myself if the red and whites would score another goal. Ever. The unfancied Melbourne club seemed to have no problem getting the ball to, and inside, their opponents penalty area, but had no idea what to do when it came to having a pop at goal. The lack of a quality finisher threatens to derail what could otherwise be a promising season for the fledgling Melbourne club. In contrast, Sydney found their shooting boots last week, with Nicky Carle slotting home the winner as the sky blues took maximum points for the first time in 2011/12. I didn’t see all of that game against Adelaide, but it was widely reported Brett Emerton put in a good shift down the right flank. That encouraging news, combined with the return from suspension of striker Mark Bridge, has got me excited about the Sydney boys recording back to back away wins.
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 1430)
Memo to Mehmet – If your team doesn’t score a goal this weekend, don’t bother catching the plane home. You can stay in Wellington! Mehmet is Mehmat Durakovic, Melbourne Victory coach, but for how much longer? The signing of Harry Kewell increased supporter optimism amongst the Victory faithful, however the raised expectations have not translated to on pitch performances, with fans clad in navy blue booing their players from the pitch last week after a third scoreless match to start the season. If I was in charge I would be starting Jean Carlos Solorzano. The ex-Brisbane striker has looked the most dangerous of any Victory attacker during his cameo stints off the bench. Carlos Hernandez should also be given the nod to play in an attacking midfield role, with Marco Rojas on the right and Harry Kewell drifting in from the left flank. Archie Thompson can play up top with Solorzano. Grant Brebner will need to do a mountain of work in a defensive midfield role as that is where the Victory have been overrun in their first three matches. Wellington rarely lose at home and dispatched Newcastle 2-0 in their only game on home soil this term. Without Paul Iffil, the Phoenix will lack a little creativity and that might keep them from taking all 3 points this week. For Durakovic’s sake, I really hope his team can score a goal!
Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.35 (Centrbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1-1 @ 7.50 (Sportingbet)
Gold Coast United v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1700)
Gold Coast supporters should stick with their team this season. The youthful outfit will have plenty of ups and downs, but they’ll give their fans plenty of excitement along the way. Last week I was talking up United’s James Brown, this week Maceo Rigters is the one catching my eye. Rigters is a Dutch striker and very much a man of action on the pitch. A powerfully built unit, Rigters is about to take the A-League by storm and I fully expect the deadly finisher to leather one into the Newcastle net on Sunday. He is still tasty odds on TAB Sportsbet, so hop on. Being a man of symmetry, I hope the Jets crash land in this one, if only to balance up their win-draw-loss record, which currently sits at 2-0-1. Yep, banking on symmetry, I must be out of punting form!
Andy’s Bet: Gold Coast to win @ 2.25 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: Maceo Rigters to score anytime @ 3.50 (TAB Sportsbet)