With the international break sidelining Europe’s major leagues this weekend, attention in this part of the world will be focused on our domestic competition as well as the national team, who should progress through to the next World Cup qualification stage with a good result against either Oman (Friday night) or Thailand (Tuesday night). After a slow start to the season when just 27 goals were scored in the first 15 A-League matches, there have been 36 goals plundered in the last 10 games. More, please!
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $500 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $333.40
Profit/Loss = – $166.60
% Profit/Loss = -33.3%
CHEEKY ROUND 6 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Heart, Perth and Brisbane all to win @ 7.30 (Sportingbet)
Adelaide United v Gold Coast United (AEDT 2000)
What’s gone wrong? Adelaide were meant to be title contenders this season, leaping from the chasing pack to join Brisbane at the top of the table. Instead, for the first five weeks, their attack has been more pop gun than top gun. No team has scored fewer goals that Rini Coolen’s Reds and that horror statistic gets even worse when coupled with the knowledge that Adelaide have conceded the most goals too! Bottom side Melbourne Heart escaped from Hindmarsh Stadium with a point last Friday night and I’m backing Gold Coast to do the same. The Gold Coast were unlucky last week against Sydney, seeing a 2-0 second half lead evaporate, before a dubious stoppage time penalty consigned them to a 3-2 defeat. Gold Coast direct most of their attacks through Dutch target man Maceo Rigters and the powerful striker is a very good chance to strike first for the visitors.
Andy’s Bet: Maceo Rigters to score first for Gold Coast @ 4.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
Melbourne Heart v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1730)
37 days have passed since early October when these two team kicked off the season in Newcastle. On a topsy-turvy afternoon both sides held the lead at different stages, but the match was heading for a draw until Korean full-back Sung-Hwan Byun popped up with a late winner for the Jets. Newcastle built on that early season success to overcome the Culina saga and sit second on the table, while late lapses have been a frustrating constant for Melbourne. But for conceding goals in stoppage time, the Heart would be in the top 6, not winless and propping up the rest of the ladder. Newcastle have loaded up on washed up Premier League players, this week signing Michael Bridges to join last weekend’s debutant Francis Jeffers. At the risk of placing myself offside with Jets fans, I hope the gamble doesn’t pay off as I’d like to see a greater emphasis placed on developing Australian talent. Heart skipper Fred should be back to full fitness after being introduced from the bench last Friday night against Adelaide. His creativity could expose the cracks that have been reliably appearing when Newcastle play away from home.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Heart to win @ 2.45 (Centrebet)
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 1945)
Something extraordinary happened at Etihad Stadium last weekend. The audience came expecting to see the mighty Brisbane Roar tested by their home town Melbourne Victory players. However, the plot took an unexpected early twist in just the second minute as the Victory ‘keeper was red carded and sent from battle. His replacement couldn’t keep out the spot kick and the home team were left with a mountain to climb. Two well taken Archie Thompson goals later and the Victory were proudly atop the aforementioned mountain, and dancing at the summit. The crowd was euphoric, but inevitably it could not last, a Brisbane equaliser knocking Melbourne from their perch, before a harsh red card sent the Navy Blues tumbling towards the valley of defeat. All this drama occurred in the first 37 minutes. Not even the best filmmaker could script something like it. Pressing on with 9 men, Melbourne faced the biggest man disadvantage since William Wallace led the Scots into battle against the English during the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. On that occasion the numbers were more like 2,000 to 10,000, but the same defensive principles applied. Well, sort of. Victory defended tightly, not allowing Brisbane to catch them out of position and fairly comfortably kept their goal intact for the entire second half. A 2-2 draw might not appear great on paper, but it was the type of performance that should unify a previously disjointed playing squad. Unfortunately for Melbourne they play a Mariners outfit who are coming off back to back wins and getting closer to full strength each. I’m not confident enough to back Melbourne outright, but I reckon they can get something from this.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win or draw @ 1.66 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 2.04 (Sportsbet)
Perth Glory v Sydney FC (AEDT 2200)
After two weeks on the road Perth will be pleased to return to their home patch. The Glory have been particularly frugal at NIB Stadium this campaign, winning their two games without conceding a goal. Depending which way you look at it Sydney have been either persistent or lucky in their start to the season. The Sky Blues have scored all six of their goals in the final half hour and been in front in their matches for only a total of 10 minutes this season. The 2% of time they have been leading has been translated into a 40% winning percentage. Efficiency doesn’t get much better than that. Perth won’t be easily ground down at home, so I’m siding with the Glory to do a Sydney and wear their opponents down over the full 90 minutes.
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win @ 2.30 (Multiple Sites)
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix (AEDT 1700)
Wellington started the season promisingly, but have run into early difficulty losing three on the spin and, worryingly, their last two at home. Suncorp is no place to come for a visiting team looking to regain form. Brisbane are typically ruthless at home and will be in an especially mean mood after failing to beat 9-man Melbourne Victory on the road last weekend. The Roar are also at full strength, while the Phoenix are missing key player Paul Ifill and his sidekicks Lucas Pantelis and Vince Lia. Brisbane’s passing game will be back to its spectacular best this Sunday and the Roar will be far too slick for a Wellington side on the slide. The Brisbane to win by 2 or more goals is my special of the round.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win @ 1.32 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.00 (Centrebet)