Brisbane Roar (9th) v Sydney FC (3rd)
Brisbane Roar manager, Mike Mulvey, has had to quell suggestions that his team are in a crisis following two consecutive losses to open the season. Just as in the 2-1 defeat to Adelaide United in Matchday 1 Brisbane took the lead against Perth Glory but could not hold out, eventually going down 3-2. In total contrast, Sydney FC fought back from 2-0 down against Western Sydney to record a dramatic 3-2 win in front of a packed Allianz Stadium. Since that big Sydney derby win, a much changed Sky Blues outfit lost 3-1 (AET) to Adelaide United midweek in an FFA Cup quarter final. Brisbane can consider themselves rather unfortunate to be 0 and 2 as their performances have actually been quite good. Roar captain, Matt McKay, serves the final match of his suspension while Sydney are notably without centre-back Nikola Petkovic which could prove decisive.
Nick’s prediction: 3-1
Melbourne Victory (2nd) v Melbourne City (7th)
Victory and City will do battle for 3pts and bragging rights in the 13th edition of the Melbourne Derby. After all the hype surrounding Melbourne City’s new found wealth and the capture of David Villa on a guest stint, things look to be going a bit pear-shaped for the newly branded club. In midweek, news spread like wildfire that the Spanish marksman was cutting short his initially agreed 10-game stint to just 4. It has also been a less than convincing start for City with two consecutive draws, the latest coming at AAMI Park against the Newcastle Jets. David Villa has scored both City’s goals so far this term and one wonders who will step up to the plate when he has long left our shores. The Victory will fancy their chances going into this as they seem more solid in all departments while new signings have settled in really well. A 4-1 win over Western Sydney and an away draw at Adelaide United represents good form. I expect Victory to further enhance their bid as legitimate title contenders.
Nick’s prediction: 4-1
Wellington Phoenix (5th) v Newcastle Jets (8th)
In a peculiar spot on the fixture list, Newcastle Jets will play a third consecutive match on the road. Their travels have garnered just a single point after a plucky 1-1 draw at Melbourne City on Sunday. Jets boss, Phil Stubbins, will be ruing his side’s inability to increase their advantage after striker Edson Montano notched his first A-League goal. Wellington fared much better at Central Coast where their fine performance merited the 2-1 win. Dutch midfielder, Roly Bonevacia, was at the heart of everything good for the Nix and when he left the field on 70′, Wellington were forced to hang on rather desperately. Newcastle have a good recent record across the ditch with a win and two draws in their last 3 encounters while Wellington historically struggle to back up an away win with a home maximum.
Nick’s prediction: 1-1
Adelaide United (4th) v Perth Glory (1st)
Fresh from their FFA Cup quarter final triumph over Sydney FC, Adelaide United face surprise league leaders Perth Glory. Josep Gombau surprisingly fielded a strong XI in the A-League’s version of the FA Cup, eventually prevailing 3-1 in extra time. The Reds return to their familiar home of Coopers Stadium after their blockbuster fixture against Melbourne Victory was played at Adelaide Oval last week. That game finished 1-1 with both sides finding it difficult to adjust to the rock hard pitch. Perth are the sole team with a perfect record following wins against Wellington and Brisbane. Irishman, Andrew Keogh, has been a revelation so far and his hat-trick of goals against the Roar pushed his tally to 4 from 2. Perth had the rub of the green in that game and I feel they will need to up their overall performance to get something from a well drilled United outfit.
Nick’s prediction: 2-1