A-League Round 5 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 5 of the 2015/16 A-League season.

Thursday, 5 November

Adelaide United

Adelaide United v Melbourne City

8:00 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium

Melbourne City

Four rounds in and that elusive first win of the season for Adelaide United doesn’t seem to be getting any closer. Losing to Brisbane Roar is no shame, especially at Suncorp Stadium. The 3-0 scoreline though does not give a true reflection of how competitive the Reds were with Roar stand-in keeper, Jamie Young, pulling off one outstanding save in particular to keep his side’s noses in front. Despite Jamie MacLaren and Brandon Borello scoring late, against the run of play, Adelaide can take plenty of positives from their performance. They welcome a Melbourne City side whose soft underbelly was exposed against surprise packet Newcastle Jets. Two nil up at half-time and cruising – with Mooy, Melling and Mauk monopolizing the ball in midfield, City were steamrolled thereafter as the Jets tweaked their formation and personnel.

The home side will aim to cash in on any lingering self doubt that may have crept into the visiting camp following their debacle last Friday evening. There are a few factors that point to a home win as United are a traditionally difficult team to beat at Coopers Stadium while City’s away record is none too clever. One thing the visitors have going for them is their goal scoring form, scoring at an average of 2 a game (8 in total), while United have scored just two – both own goals. If the Reds can build on their second half performance in Brisbane, then they have a good chance of a breakthrough win.

Nick’s tip: Adelaide 0ah @1.72 (SBOBET)


Friday, 6 November

Sydney FC

Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar

7:40 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium

Brisbane Roar

In what is a top of the table clash, efficient Sydney do battle with free scoring Brisbane Roar. On the weekend, young referee Adam Fielding added more credence to the theory that perhaps Sydney FC are the FFA’s favorite team. With the match at Gosford evenly balanced at 1-1, Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan raced onto a throughball and looked to have been tripped by Sydney keeper Vedran Janjetovic as he entered the penalty area. On another day, this action could easily have resulted in a penalty and sending off but instead – it was the Mariners who went a man down (just moments later) as Nick Fitzgerald received a quick fire succession of cautions. From then on, the entire complexion of the contest changed with former Mariners’ favorite, Matty Simon, scoring a late brace to condemn his old side to a 3-1 defeat. Brisbane also rode their luck a little in a 3-0 win over Adelaide United with keeper Jamie Young needing to be on top of his game to deny the visitors.

Sydney FC have allowed the least amount of shots on their goal (1.8 avg) whilst only conceding twice – the best record in the league. That stat is probably misleading as Sydney has had a relatively kind fixture list to contend with to date. Graham Arnold though admits that his side are not firing on all cylinders and expects performances to improve over the next month. John Aloisi has his Brisbane Roar side purring at the minute with captain Matt McKay producing a man of the match performance (against Adelaide last week), Daniel Bowles producing arguably his most assured performance at centre-back while striker Jamie MacLaren continues to score and lay claims to a potential Socceroos call up. Sydney hold the edge in terms of recent meetings – undefeated in their last 5 (with three wins). The midfield battle will go a long way in deciding the outcome and on current form, the visitors hold a slight edge.

Nick’s tip: Brisbane +0.75ah @1.54 (Pinnacle)


Saturday, 7 November

Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers

5:15 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers

Tagged by many as favorites for the wooden spoon at the beginning of the season, the Jets continue to surprise despite everyone waiting for them to fall off their perch. After knocking off title favorites Victory, a fortnight ago, the Jets came to Melbourne town and stunned City with a second half comeback for the ages. The Jets were lackluster in the first half, sitting off City and allowing the hosts to weave pretty little patterns in dangerous areas. 2-0 down at half-time, Jets gaffer Scott Miller replaced youngster Mitch Cooper with experienced campaigner Cameron Watson while allowing Ben Kantarovski (normally a defensive player) free reign in the no.10 role – a bold move that changed the course of the match. Kantarovski got himself on the scoresheet just short of the hour mark after finding himself unmarked on the back post. From then on, it all unraveled for the home side as Trifunovic opened his A-League account with a brace in the space of 5 minutes. Speaking of opening accounts, Western Sydney opened theirs with their first win for the season – a slender yet deserving one at that, over Perth Glory. It looked like it was going to be another frustrating evening for the Wanderers as former keeper, Ante Covic, was kept busy in the Glory goal. On the stroke of half-time, the impressive Dario Vidosic broke the deadlock. Although the Wanderers never looked like extending their lead after the break, Perth rarely threatened although there were some nervy moments to endure for the home side.

I am expecting Western Sydney to play with more freedom now that they have got their season up and running. Marquee signing, Federico Piovaccari, has been criticized by many for his failings in front of goal but he is beginning to look a lot sharper as his fitness levels improve. The absence of centre-back, Alberto Aguilar, could pose a problem after coming off with a quad injury against the Glory. Newcastle’s threat will come mainly from the flanks with former Socceroo David Carney and Enver Alivodic providing the ammunition for big striker, Milos Trifunovic.

Nick’s tip: Western Sydney -0.25ah @1.82 (SBOBET)


Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory V Perth Glory (FFA Cup Final)

7:30 PM AEDT, AAMI Park

Perth Glory

And then there were two! Victory and Perth will contest the 2015 FFA Cup Final at AAMI Park with Ben “Look At Me” Williams appointed as the whistle blower. It will be Perth’s second consecutive Grand Final appearance after going down 1-0 to Adelaide United in last season’s inaugural edition of the FA Cup style competition. Perth has endured by far the more difficult passage to the final with three games against A-League opposition (two of those against Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney going to penalties) while they were forced into extra-time by Brisbane Premier League side, Queensland Lions. The Victory has made easy work of a favorable draw against predominantly semi-professional outfits – scoring 15 and conceding just 3. They did play A-League opposition at the Q/F stage, accounting for Adelaide United in a relatively straightforward 3-1 win.

Melbourne Victory has a lot going for them leading up to the final with superior A-League form and the local crowd behind them. Perth though will approach this fixture without trepidation as they have more than held their own in recent meetings – undefeated in four including a 1-1 draw at AAMI Park back in March. Perth manager, Kenny Lowe, has in some ways sacrificed A-League results for a better chance at claiming some silverware as a weakened squad went down 1-0 to Western Sydney on the weekend. Doubts linger over Sandor and fellow import Diego Castro but both should be passed fit. Flying winger, Chris Harold, is likely to miss. Meanwhile, Victory gaffer Kevin Muscat had the luxury of playing a full strength XI, on Monday evening, in the 3-0 win over the Phoenix. Perth are likely to employ a similar counter-attacking game to that which was used to devastating effect in the 3-1 win over Adelaide United, a fortnight ago. If Perth can nullify Victory’s potent attack weapons, then they are more than capable of an upset. Perth have also proven dangerous from set-piece situations which should be a matter of concern for Victory.

Nick’s tip: Melbourne Victory -1ah @1.69 (Pinnacle)


Sunday, 8 November

Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix

5:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium

Wellington Phoenix

Both clubs are looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats, respectively. The Mariners’ 3-1 loss to Sydney left a sour taste in the mouth. Despite the injustice of a non-penalty call and the initial boil over that led to Nick Fitzgerald’s dismissal, the Mariners showed a lot of character to stay in the contest for as long as they did. Unlike the Mariners, Wellington only had themselves to blame after a limp 3-0 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Victory. Etihad Stadium has never been a happy hunting ground for The Nix. Wasteful finishing and schoolboy defending gave the Phoenix no chance of upsetting the reigning champions with returning skipper Andrew Durante looking especially rusty.

This could perhaps be the match of the round with both sides employing a fast and open style of game. Interestingly, Wellington hold a very good recent record in this fixture – winning their last 3 meetings in Gosford. The visitors though do have some injury concerns with both Vince Lia and the impressive Thomas Doyle hobbling off on Monday night. The Mariners lose Fitzgerald for a week (suspension) with speedster Mitchell Austin his most obvious replacement.

Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.52 (Pinnacle)


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