Due to the disjointed nature of the fixtures during the festive period this is a stand-alone preview of this week’s Thursday night match. A preview of Friday and Saturday matches will follow.
THURSDAY (DEC 29)
Sydney FC v Melbourne Heart (AEDT 1930)
The A-League season is starting to heat up and this week’s Thursday night clash promises to be a beauty as 3rd placed Sydney host 2nd placed Melbourne Heart. The Sky Blues haven’t played many games at the Sydney Football Stadium so far this campaign, winning only once from the four matches played at their usual home ground. The Heart should be buoyed by that statistic as the Melbourne club have been consistently picking up points on their travels, including victories on their two most recent away-days. Melbourne won this match last season and have not been beaten by Sydney in four previous encounters. Sydney skipper Terry McFlynn is suspended for this game, meaning Brett Emerton will wear the captain’s armband, while coach Vitezslav Lavicka has refused to name who will replace McFlynn in central midfield. Melbourne will almost certainly field an unchanged line-up from the one that played their crosstown rivals off the park last weekend. Sydney’s defensive pairing of Michael Beauchamp and Pascal ‘the boss’ Bosschaart will be difficult for the Heart attackers to break through, while the Sky Blues, again minus Nicky Carle, will have a similarly tough time unlocking Melbourne’s defence. I’m siding with a Melbourne double chance in a low-scoring match. It should be a great tussle.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne to win or draw @ 1.77 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: Under 2.5 goals @ 1.90 (Sportingbet)