CHEEKY WEEK 20 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Heart, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide all to win @ 13.40 (Centrebet)
FRIDAY (FEB 17)
Melbourne Heart v Gold Coast United (AEDT 2000)
Melbourne Heart need a win like Greece needs a bailout package! The Heart haven’t won any of their 8 matches in 2012 to fall from second on the ladder to sixth, hanging in that last playoff slot by a thread. Fortunately for Melbourne they host Gold Coast this weekend and their visitors’ season went bankrupt a long time ago, with United occupying the bottom rung on the ladder for the last 8 weeks and 14 of the past 15. Injuries have cruelled Gold Coast’s season and the club from the glitter strip has focussed on grooming the next batch of young talent for the seasons ahead. Skipper and important defender Michael Thwaite is suspended for the Gold Coast and in a bizarre move at the request of United owner Clive Palmer, 17 year old Mitch Cooper will be handed the captain’s armband on debut. Fellow Gold Coast teenager Jake Barker-Daish is also likely to debut in Melbourne. Given their opponent’s youthful squad, the Heart should overcome recent poor form to win comfortably. Bank on it!
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne Heart to win @ 1.60 (Centrebet)
SATURDAY (FEB 18)
Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix (AEDT 1730)
The Mariners started the season trying to emulate Brisbane Roar and so far they have succeeded, but now might be a good time to stop being copycats. When Brisbane’s amazing unbeaten streak came to an end earlier this season the Roar then went on to lose their next five matches in a row. This season the Central Coast went on their own long unbeaten run lasting for 15 games, but since that streak ended the Mariners have lost two in a row. If Central Coast wish to keep top spot at the end of the season they cannot afford to drop five in a row like Brisbane did. This week the Mariners host Wellington at Bluetongue Stadium and, now the Phoenix are starting to win in Australia, this fixture is not as straightforward as it used to be. Wellington have won the last three times they have flown across the ditch, although they were vanquished at home last weekend by Brisbane to drop to third on the table. Wellington will play this match without captain Andrew Durante and vice-captain Tim Brown as both men picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season last weekend, meaning an automatic one match suspension. Without two of their leaders I think the Phoenix will struggle.
Andy’s Bet: Central Coast to win @ 1.83 (TAB Sportsbet)
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory (AEDT 1945)
Expect excitement. When Brisbane and Melbourne are providing the entertainment, goals and drama are cast in the lead roles. On New Year’s Eve Brisbane recovered from an early Harry Kewell strike to triumph 3-1 at Suncorp, while the Victory fought to a 2-2 draw with the Roar in Melbourne earlier in the season. That draw was particularly noteworthy as Melbourne played the majority of the game with 9 men after a couple of first half red cards. The Victory have scored at least one goal against the Roar in each of the last 10 games between the teams, although that statistic will be harder to extend this week with the expected absence of joint leading scorer Archie Thompson due to a tight hamstring. Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha is the league’s leading scorer and the striker put pen to paper this week on a new two year deal with the club. Berisha has scored in 4 of the last 5 games and I’m going to have a cheeky few dollars on him to find the net once more. Melbourne were impressive last week, but they’ve struggled for consistency this season and that’s why I’m on Brisbane for a home win.
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win @ 1.75 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: Besart Berisha to score anytime @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 2200)
Perth’s five game winning streak came to an end in Sydney last weekend. The Glory can get back to form straight away with a return to NIB Stadium, where they have blasted 11 goals in their last 3 home games. Newcastle are also one of the competition’s form teams, winning their last three games, including the last two by three goal margins. This clash should be a cracker with fourth placed Perth trying to get some distance between themselves and the big battle for the final spots in the top 6, while Newcastle are just hoping to stay in the top 6. Home ground advantage should get the Glory a vital win.
SUNDAY (FEB 19)
Adelaide United v Sydney FC (AEDT 1700)
Adelaide have finally got some goal scoring firepower and hopefully for Reds fans it has come in time to save their team’s season. In the form of Sergio van Dijk and Bruce Djite United have two dangerous strikers, while Dario Vidosic sits just in behind the front pairing and provides the creativity. These three comprise Adelaide’s golden triangle. Adelaide comfortably beat Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura 3-0 at Hindmarsh in midweek to qualify for the AFC Champions League. Sydney got back to winning ways with a 2-1 home win over Perth last weekend, keeping the Sky Blues in touch with the top 6 as we get to the pointy end of the season. In a familiar pattern to end my previews this week I’m tipping a home win. Come on the golden triangle!