CHEEKY WEEK 22 A-LEAGUE MULTI
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane, Melbourne Victory and Central Coast all to win @ 6.00 (Sportingbet)
THURSDAY (MAR 1)
Adelaide United v Perth Glory (AEDT 2000)
I must admit this fixture caught me out. The match was originally scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon, however Adelaide’s involvement in the AFC Champions League has meant this game has been rescheduled as the Reds are due to fly out to Uzbekistan on Saturday. So this preview is now published only hours before kick-off and I humbly apologise. I am favouring Perth to win this game as Adelaide are now out of the finals race after suffering a defeat in Newcastle last weekend. Another factor to consider is the Reds AFC Champions League campaign, which is just gearing up now and is likely to shift Adelaide’s focus towards the continental competition as their domestic season draws to a close. Perth were thumped at 3-0 home by Brisbane last Saturday night, although that result probably said more about how well the Roar are going, rather than indicate the Glory are in the beginnings of a slump. Four and a half weeks ago Perth beat Adelaide 3-0 at this very venue and I have seen little evidence to suggest the Reds have improved in the month since. Perth are going better and should win even though they are the visitors.
Andy’s Bet: Perth to win @ 2.75 (Centrebet)
FRIDAY (MAR 2)
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Heart (AEDT 2000)
Look out, Brisbane are back! Brisbane’s best is better than anybody else’s and it was vintage Roarcelona last Saturday night. The Roar were simply awesome as they swept aside Perth and Brisbane’s in-form striker Besart Berisha bagged another brace to bring his season tally to 15 goals. The Heart have been quietly righting the ship recently, despite the ship’s skipper, coach John van’ t Schip, leaving his crew at the end the season. JVS has got his team playing nicely at the moment, with the red and whites securing two home victories on the trot to jump to fifth in the table. The Heart are now three points and goal difference ahead of seventh placed Sydney, a gap that feels larger given there are only four games of the regular season to play. Much like analysts watch the share market and try to pick stocks that have been in decline and are ready to bounce back up, punters have been trying to predict if Brisbane have bottomed out. Well they certainly have and now is certainly the time to be investing in the Roar!
Andy’s Bet: Brisbane to win by 2 or more goals @ 2.60 (Centrebet)
SATURDAY (MAR 3)
Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets (AEDT 1730)
It was very perplexing to watch the World Cup Qualifier at AAMI Park during the week. Three Melbourne Victory players were present in the Australian victory over Saudi Arabia. Harry Kewell grabbed a goal to cap an enterprising display from the frontman, Archie Thompson proved a match changing substitute and Mark Milligan was generally competent as a defensive midfielder. These three players have all been recent regulars in the Melbourne team struggling to make the finals. How can such a star-studded squad be so far down the league standings? The chief reason is the Victory coaching staff have not been able to find a formation that gets the best out of a talented playing group. Newcastle travel south clinging to sixth place and the final playoff spot. However, the Jets have one of the league’s worst records away from home, winning just twice from 12 away matches this season. Melbourne are the only team to remain unbeaten at home all season but the Victory are ironically the league’s draw specialists, drawing 8 of those 12 home fixtures. With Melbourne’s stars combining for success on the international stage, now is the time to do the same at the domestic level.
Andy’s Bet: Melbourne to win @ 1.95 (Sportsbet)
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC (AEDT 1945)
This is a season-shaper for both clubs. If Brisbane win on Friday night, Central Coast will start this game from second spot, the first time in three months the Mariners won’t have been top of the pile. Meanwhile, Sydney could leap into the top 6 if Newcastle fail to beat Melbourne in the day’s earlier kick-off. The Mariners have been struggling recently, but it is worth remembering that only Brisbane have beaten the Central Coast at the Bluetongue this season. My man – Mustafa Amini – didn’t return to the Mariners team last week as had been predicted, but the flamboyant midfielder will surely be back this time. Look for the Amini and his ginger afro to drive Central Coast to victory!
SUNDAY (MAR 4)
Wellington Phoenix v Gold Coast United (AEDT 1530)
The woes at the Gold Coast have been well documented this week and I’ll very quickly add my opinion to the saga. Firstly, I am sorry for the Gold Coast players and fans, and secondly, I am glad the FFA aren’t going to let Clive Palmer bully them around. If this game does go ahead, Wellington should cruise to a comfortable home victory. The Gold Coast have been brave on the pitch in recent outings, fighting to a pair of home draws over the last week and a half, but Wellington are third on the table and unlikely to show the league’s basket case any mercy. Given the uncertainty over this game going ahead, no markets have been framed. If it does go ahead, I’ll be getting on the Phoenix to win, and win by 2 or more goals.
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win
Andy’s Bet: Wellington to win by 2 or more goals