For most of us the festive period means a work Christmas party and the potential for a bit of down time over the Christmas and New Year period. There are no such luxuries for professional footballers as the fixtures come thick and fast, just like the food plates on Christmas Day! There is a match on Thursday night this week and a trio of matches on Friday evening, before a Boxing Day match on the Gold Coast completes the round.
SEASON BETTING TALLY
Wagered = $1,100 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $769
Profit/Loss = – $331
% Profit/Loss = -30.1%
CHEEKY WEEK 12 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Sydney, Wellington and Brisbane all to win @ 6.45 (TAB Sportsbet)
THURSDAY (DEC 22)
Sydney FC v Adelaide United (AEDT 1930)
Adelaide’s dismal start to the A-League season came to a head after the club were crushed 3-0 at home by bottom side Gold Coast. Reds coach Rini Coolen subsequently sacked due to his failure to get his players to perform at an acceptable level. A familiar face was swiftly appointed to the head coaching role, with former Adelaide boss John Kosmina returning to the post he held from 2003-2007. In a delicious twist, Kosmina’s first assignment as Adelaide coach will be a visit to Sydney, the A-League club he has most recently managed (2007-2009). Kosmina is an old-school coach and his first training session in charge was reported to be very willing, so it will be interesting to see whether the players can control the aggression on matchday. Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka is already planning strategies to manage his players through a hectic period, with the Sky Blues playing their next 8 games over a 36 day period. Marquee signing Brett Emerton will be rested at some stage, although he is likely to take the field this week as midfield teammate Nicky Carle is already going to miss due to a hamstring niggle. Even though the new coach brings an unknown to Adelaide, Sydney are the better footballing side and should win at home.
Andy’s Bet: Sydney to win @ 1.63 (Centrebet)
FRIDAY (DEC 23)
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1730)
Both these sides were ordinary last weekend and suffered defeats. Wellington looked slow and tired in Melbourne against the Victory. Slow without injured playmaker Paul Ifill and tired due to their midweek match against Brisbane. Meanwhile, Newcastle were the latest victims to a Sydney FC second half charge, falling from 1-0 up to 2-1 down during the second period of their match. Ifill remains doubtful to make Wellington’s starting lineup for this week, while midfielder Nicky Ward has already been ruled out due to a concussion. The theme of absent midfielders extends to the Newcastle squad with Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse suspended, but at least defender Nikolai Toper-Stanley is fit to return to the Newcastle defence. The Jets have scored just once in five away fixtures this season, including a 2-0 defeat in Wellington, so my money will be on the Phoenix to win and keep a clean sheet.
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win @ 1.95 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win to nil @ 2.97 (Sportsbet)
Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 2000)
The Melbourne rivalry is like no other in the A-League even after only a season and a half of Melbourne Heart existence. A full house of 30,000 fans are expected to pack into AAMI Stadium and those in attendance will be hoping for a better spectacle than the dour 0-0 draw when these teams last met in Week 3. The Heart could not be beating any better, taking maximum points from away trips to Perth and Brisbane over the last two weekends. The Victory turned on the style last week during a 3-1 win against Wellington and will enjoy staying in Melbourne for the third consecutive weekend. This match will be headlined by two in-form strikers, with both the Heart’s Mate Dugandzic and Victory’s Archie Thompson netting their fifth goals of the season last week. Thompson has been a supplier as well as a scorer, assisting four goals, meaning he had a direct involvement in 9 of his team’s 14 goals this campaign. I think the Victory clicked last week and will bring that momentum into this match against a travel weary opponent. The Navy Blues have conceded in each of their last 5 matches in Melbourne, so I can see both sides scoring. A 3-1 Victory win is much more likely to occur than the $23 odds offered by the bookies.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win @ 2.75 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win 3-1 @ 23.00 (Centrebet)
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners (AEDT 2200)
Perth have had a wretched run with injury this season and Brazilian winger Andrezinho is the latest player to visit the treatment room, with his hamstring injury likely to keep him sidelined for at least 3 weeks. Glory skipper Jacob Burns received his fifth yellow card of the season last week and is suspended for this clash. The under-manned Glory will not welcome a visit from all-conquering Central Coast as the Mariners have won five in a row. The Mariners form has been built on a sound defensive platform, conceding more than one goal in a match only once this season. Central Coast are in the superior form and have a full squad to pick from, so should take at least a point from this potentially low-scoring contest.
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast or Draw @ 1.31 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.85 (Centrebet, TAB Sportsbet)
MONDAY (DEC 26)
Gold Coast United v Brisbane Roar (AEDT 1930)
United won just their second match of the season last week as they travelled south to Adelaide and thumped their hosts 3-0. The result was still not enough to lift Gold Coast from the bottom of the ladder, while Brisbane slipped from the top of table for the first time since Week 1. Even though Brisbane have lost four on the spin, the class they have is permanent and they will discover their form soon. I’m tipping a goalscoring spree here.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane win @ 2.15 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: Over 3.5 goals @ 3.35 (Centrebet)