CHEEKY WEEK 18 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast, Sydney and Perth all to win @ 7.65 (Sportingbet)
FRIDAY (FEB 3)
Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix (AEDT 2000)
The A-League fixture is really weird. It is only a 10 team competition, so teams will be regularly be playing against the same opposition, however there has been a surprising number of occasions this season when two teams have played each other twice at the same venue during a five week period. If the same teams are doing battle so frequently, surely the league organisers could at least alternate the home team! The reason I’m once again irked by this strange phenomenon is that Adelaide and Wellington once again match up this Friday night at Hindmarsh Stadium, only 5 weeks since the same clubs played at the same ground. A lot has happened in those 5 weeks though, with Wellington winning 4 games – including two on Australian soil – to move into second spot on the ladder, while Adelaide have managed just one win in 2012 to languish a place from the foot of the table. Adelaide coach John Kosmina still believes finals are a possibility for his men, although a win in this Friday night showdown is a must. The Reds will need to win at least 5 of their remaining 8 regular season matches if they are to challenge for sixth spot, and those 8 matches to come include trips to the Central Coast and Brisbane. Wellington are high on confidence and enter this one on an unbroken 3 game winning sequence, while Adelaide were humbled 3-0 by Perth in their most recent home match. The Reds have been typically tough to break down under John Kosmina though, and with vice-captain Cassio returning to his left back slot, United just might scrap to a point against the in-form Phoenix.
Andy’s Bet: Draw @ 3.35 (Centrebet)
SATURDAY (FEB 4)
Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar (AEDT 1730)
This is the third instalment of the Mariners v Roar battle in 2011-12 and with finals still to come, I hope it doesn’t stop at a trilogy! The Central Coast and Brisbane rivalry has been the most exciting over the previous couple of seasons, notably resulting in some belting matches in last season’s finals. The teams have shared a victory apiece this campaign, with the Mariners winning the most recent match, which was their first victory over the Roar since October 2009. With that mental hurdle cleared, I expect the Central Coast to play with more freedom against last season’s premiers and exact some revenge for that famous 2010-11 grand final. With both sides just about at full strength, I cannot recommend enough that you tune in on Saturday afternoon to watch this one. The Mariners have won 12 of their past 15 and I refuse to back against them!
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast to win @ 2.25 (Centrebet)
Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 1945)
Derby day in Melbourne brings with it a great chance for the red and white half of the city to put a big dint in the season of their navy blue enemies. The Victory may have been around for longer, but the Heart are the new kids on the block and, in just their second year, are already upstaging their glamorous cross town rivals. This game really is a hard one to call. The Victory have played decently in their last two games, but costly lapses at the back have meant the concession of two successive late levellers, costing the club four points and a spot in the top 6. The Heart were second on the ladder entering the new year, however 2012 has not been kind and they gained only 2 points from 6 matches throughout January, falling to fifth on the table and jeopardising their finals place. The Heart have missed captain and midfield playmaker Fred, and are now also without Matt Thomspon due to a knee injury, while leading scorer Mate Dugandzic is away on Olyroos duty. The Victory have fewer personnel problems and I am using that fact to split the teams. Also, both teams have scored in 11 of the Victory’s previous 12 matches, so get on that bet!
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Victory to win @ 2.70 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Both teams to score @ 1.65 (TAB Sportsbet)
SUNDAY (FEB 5)
Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1700)
Newcastle’s away win in Brisbane was certainly a result that came without warning. The Jets had only won one of their previous nine matches leading into that game, with that single win coming at home against bottom placed Gold Coast. The three point gained in Brisbane may provide the thrust for the Jets to fly into the top 6 by season’s end, although Newcastle could actually be in the top 6 as early as this weekend if they get a win here. In the first of many ‘play-off 6-pointers’ until the end of the regular season, Sydney could shoot to five points clear of their nearest challenger this Sunday, or slip to a point behind and out of their current finals spot. My bet for this match is based on the thinking that Newcastle’s away win last week was an aberration and the previously awful Jets away form will return. Before last week’s match with Brisbane, Newcastle had lost 6 and drawn the other 3 of their away games in 2011-12.
Andy’s Bet: Sydney to win @ 2.00 (Sportingbet)
MONDAY (FEB 6)
Perth Glory v Gold Coast United (AEDT 2200)
This should represent the easy money match of the round. Perth have won four in a row and play at home against the Gold Coast who are easily the worst team in the competition and tired from a midweek game in Tasmania. The manner of Perth’s recent victories has been particularly eye-catching, with 3 goal victories in their past two games. Perth’s chances are further boosted by the likely return of dangerous attacking midfielder Travis Dodd. If the cheeky A-League multi makes it through to the final leg I’ll be feeling very confident with Perth as the anchor!
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win @ 1.80 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win by 2 or more goals @ 3.40 (Sportsbet)