The following are previews with betting tips for Round 2 of the 2015/16 A-League season.
Friday, 16 October
Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:40 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
United will be glad to be back on home turf at Coopers Stadium following the lifeless scoreless draw against Melbourne Victory, at the Adelaide Oval. The cricket ground is not a big hit with the Red Army of whom many expressed their disgust by their absence. On the pitch, Victory had the better of it and only luck and some useless finishing kept the Reds on level terms. The Wanderers continued from where they left off last season with a defeat; 3-1 at the hands of ruthless Brisbane. Western Sydney did have their chances going forward (with Piovaccari the most wasteful) but it was the calamitous defending at the other end that proved to be the major talking point.
The home side welcome back Socceroo Tarek Elrich who should slot straight back into the starting XI in place of Craig Goodwin. Fellow Socceroo and club captain, Eugene Galekovic, is out for up to 6 weeks after having minor knee surgery during the week. Vidosic, Bridge and especially Bouzanis should be pushing for a return for the visitors – the latter replacing the disappointing Andrew Redmayne between the sticks.
Nick’s tip: Adelaide United 0ah @1.41 (Pinnacle Sports)
Saturday, 17 October
Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC
5:15 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium
The pre-season changes at Newcastle seem to be already bearing fruit after recording a fine 2-1 win at Wellington. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Jets as captain Nigel Boogard saw red while Mark Birighitti’s heroics from the penalty spot ensured a hard earned 3 points. Sydney will be ruing missed opportunities after an impressive second half performance was not enough to break down a resiliant Melbourne City rearguard. Former Aston Villa and Sunderland keeper, Thomas Sorensen, was in fine fettle for the visitors and almost single-handedly earned his side a 1-1 draw.
Former Socceroo and veteran campaigner, David Carney, was the catalyst for Newcastle’s win over the Nix (with a goal and an assist) and will be one to watch for the home side. Sydney’s Slovakian import, Filip Holosko, has been passed fit after been substituted last week while Young Socceroos, Christopher Naumoff and Andrew Hoole, are included in the squad after returning from international duty. Surprisingly, defensive midfielder Mickael Tavares played no part last week but may replace youngster Brandon O’Neill.
Nick’s tip: Sydney FC -0.25ah @1.72 (SBOBET)
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
7:30 PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium
In what is one of the biggest games on the A-League calendar, the Melbourne derby continues to grow year upon year as Melbourne City strengthens in support and on-field performances. Defending champions and premiers, Melbourne Victory, will be looking to send out a message that they can go back to back after been frustrated at Adelaide United last week. In a game that Victory should of won, foundation player Leigh Broxham was sent off in controversial circumstances after allegedly elbowing Isaias in an aerial challenge. City were less impressive in their 1-1 draw at Sydney FC but the result was pleasing for John van’t Schip after fielding a youthful and inexperienced starting XI.
City are still without some first team players with Corey Gameiro, Harry Novillo and Ivan Franjic still unavailable for selection. In more positive news, Aaron Mooy will start while Mauk, Melling and Zullo should be in contention. Victory are close to full strength with the return of Geria and Galloway from Young Socceroos duty while Carl Valeri returns from his Socceroos commitments. Despite the scoreless draw, Victory looked the most impressive after the first round of matches and should have too much for a Melbourne City side with perhaps one eye on their midweek FFA Cup semi-final.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne Victory -0.25ah @1.68 (Pinnacle Sports)
Sunday, 18 October
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
5:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
After last season’s disappointment of missing out on the play-offs, Brisbane Roar put on a professional away performance in their 3-1 win at Western Sydney. New boys Corona and Maclaren were influential while Michael Theo looked assured in goal after his long injury layoff last term. Central Coast were a pleasant surprise on Matchday 1 as they took apart more fancied opponent, Perth Glory, almost at will. In what was an incredibly open contest, the Mariners were able to utilize the ball more effectively in the front third with wingers Mitch Austin and Fabio Ferreira catching the eye in a 3-2 win.
In big news for the Roar, Socceroo and club captain Matt McKay returns to the starting XI in what is likely to be a straight swap for Steven Lustica. Mariners right-back Jacob Poscoliero faces a fitness test on a strained hamstring while veteran wing-back Josh Rose is hoping to be fit after missing the opening game of the season. Mariners manager, Tony Walmsley, promised a more exciting, expansive brand of football this season and on the evidence of last week – he was true to his word. For all their cutting edge going forward, both sides looked less than impressive in their defensive duties so we should see a game with lots of goal mouth action.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.5 goals @1.82 (Sportsbet)
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
7:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
The final match of the round pits two sides that failed to live up to expectations on Matchday 1. Perth were fancied to take care of business in Gosford but their hotshot imports were below par. Likewise, Wellington were probably on most punters’ multis, at home against last season’s wooden spooners (Newcastle Jets), but Roy Krishna’s missed second half penalty proved decisive. Despite a late rally following the introduction of Sidnei and Oxborrow, it was Perth looked slow and laborious for the most part as Central Coast exploited pockets of space in between the lines. Wellington on the other hand had the chance to regain the lead shortly after half-time but failed to take their opportunities while Newcastle took theirs following a needless giveaway in midfield by Vince Lia – not the first in his career mind you.
Wellington look a shadow of themselves without the services of recently departed goalscorer, Nathan Burns. Who, if anyone, will step in to fill the void? Roy Krishna’s confidence will be shot after last week’s poor outing while there’s no one else in the Phoenix roster that really stands out as a double figure scorer. Perth have a small matter of an FFA Cup semi-final against Melbourne City, in midweek, so it will be interesting to see Kenny Lowe’s starting XI for this one. Both sides don’t fill me with much confidence in what is a game that could really go either way. Slight lean towards Perth.
Nick’s tip: Perth 0ah @1.67 (Pinnacle Sports)