The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2015/16 A-League season.
Friday, 13 November
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
5:30 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
Wellington return to familiar surroundings after a two game road trip garnered just one point – a 1-1 draw at Central Coast. In a game played in volatile weather conditions, at times, Wellington took the lead early through a well taken goal by Michael McGlinchey. The pattern of the game was then set with the Nix happy to soak up pressure and hit on the counter-attack. Their failure to capitalize on good situations came back to haunt them when Roy O’Donovan struck late with a header at the front post to give the Mariners a deserving equalizer. Adelaide’s struggles continued following a 4-2 home loss to Melbourne City. The worry for the Reds is that City seemed capable of scoring on every foray forward. Adelaide seem to lack genuine leadership at the moment, with club captain Eugene Galekovic still weeks away from returning.
Adelaide will probably feel this is the best time to be travelling across the ditch with The All Whites playing a friendly in Oman. As a consequence, Wellington will be without 4 squad members, including star man Michael McGlinchey. Adelaide full-back Tarek Elrich will be available after been dropped by Socceroos manager, Ange Postecoglou, so the the visitors do have a full contingent to choose from. It’s difficult to back either team with any confidence but I do expect a desperate Adelaide to get at least a draw.
Nick’s tip: Adelaide United +0.5ah @1.65 (Pinnacle)
Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:40 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
City’s Uruguayan starlet, Bruno Fornaroli, is fast becoming one of the finds of the season with a second half brace (in Adelaide) taking him to 5 goals and top of the scoring charts. City did well to rebound with a 4-2 win after letting a two goal slip to Newcastle, the week prior. Odds on favourite for the Johnny Warren medal, Aaron Mooy, was at it again with a goal and an assist to give his side a two goal lead going into the break. Mooy will be sorely missed as he joins the Socceroos in their quest for World Cup qualification. After not been able to buy a win, Western Sydney have two on the trot with a controversial 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets. The officials were heavily involved in two key moments in particular – 1. Alivodic’s strike to put the Jets 1-0 up; 2. Santalab’s ‘expertly won’ penalty that led to Western Sydney’s equalizer. Mitch Nichols though had the last say when his dipping drive from 20 yards evaded Birighitti’s despairing dive to wrap up the points.
Western Sydney will hope to resume their historical dominance over City, losing only once in nine meetings. It will be interesting to see how the home side cope without Mooy’s influence. The return of Erik Paartalu last week (after exclusion from the squad following the derby defeat) does soften the blow somewhat with Stefan Mauk likely to play further afield. Western Sydney will hope to give influential Dutchman, Roman Castelen, more game time as he returns to full match fitness. The Wanderers seem to be growing in confidence but their defence does remain a concern. City has registered 12 goals to date – the highest in the league.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.6 (Pinnacle)
Saturday, 14 November
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
5:15 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium
In what is dubbed as “Derby Day” (of the football variety), traditional rivals Jets v Mariners do battle this Saturday – a curtain raiser to the “Big Blue” between old foes Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. The Jets had a chance to go top last weekend but the Wanderers proved to be a stubborn opponent. Keeper, Mark Birirghitti, was in fine form to keep the Jets on level terms going into the break before Alidovic broke the deadlock soon after – firing in the rebound as Lee Ki-Jee’s free kick rattled the crossbar. The Wanderers were not to be denied though and they slowly but surely wore the Jets down to record a 2-1 win. Central Coast ground out a deserving 1-1 draw against Wellington – controlling most of the possession while Englishman, Danny Heffernan, impressed off the bench.
Current form points towards the Jets but injuries to key men definitely brings Central Coast into the picture. In-form defensive midfielder, Ben Kantarovski, misses out through injury while central defender, Daniel Mullen, remains out indefinitely. Deputizing centre-back, Lachlan Jackson, looked decidedly nervous against the Wanderers so it is an area that the Mariners can exploit. The visitors themselves are depleted by the absence of star winger Fabio Ferreira but the return of Nick Fitzgerald (from suspension) does give Walmsley a like for like replacement.
Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
7:30 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
League leaders Sydney FC will look to extend their advantage over bitter rivals Melbourne Victory to a massive 7pts (with one game less in hand) as they seek revenge for last season’s Grand Final massacre. Victory enter enemy territory with their chests pumped after lifting further silverware last weekend – the FFA Cup. The 2-0 defeat over Perth Glory was convincing as they come (in a match of such magnitude) for the all-conquering Victory side who captured their third trophy for this calendar year. Sydney were a lot less convincing in their recent scoreless draw against Brisbane Roar – a match described by many as a cure for insomnia. In what was a tactical battle from start to finish, defenses were well on top with Shane Smeltz coming closest to opening the scoring with a 20 yard strike.
Team news does not favour the visitors with a number of Victory players unavailable for one reason or another. Already without first team regulars Archie Thompson and Nick Ansell, Carl Valeri is now suspended, Geria and Pain are on Olyroos duty while star winger Kostas Barbarouses is listed as questionable due to his involvement with the New Zealand national team (playing a friendly in Oman on Friday). Sydney regain the services of Serbian maestro, Milos Dimitrijevic. An interesting fact to consider is Victory’s poor away form that stretches all the way back to last season (just 6 wins from their last 15 games). Despite the aforementioned, Victory remain a dangerous beast so I expect a cautious Graham Arnold while Kevin Muscat would probably take a point if you offerred it beforehand. Rain is expected which won’t help the players’ footing on the hard Allianz surface.
Nick’s tip: Under 3 goals @1.67 (SBOBET)
Sunday, 15 November
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
5:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
Perth will aim to bounce back from their FFA Cup disappointment when they travel to high flying Brisbane Roar. The Roar currently sit in 2nd after their rather drab scoreless draw at league leaders Sydney, last week. Kenny Lowe’s Perth Glory were swept away by Melbourne Victory in a first half where they invited pressure and conceded two goals. It was a pragmatic approach that fell right into Victory’s hands. Marc Warren was consistantly harassed by Kostas Barbarouses and the overlapping Jason Geria down Perth’s left flank – providing no end of havoc for the Western Australian outfit. The introduction of Guyon Fernandez in the second half did at least give Perth a base to build their attacks from, even though they failed to find the back of the net.
Brisbane will shuffle their pack as Jamie MacLaren and Matt McKay are away on Olyroos and Socceroos duty, respectively. The return of Henrique does give John Aloisi an extra option up front while Lustica is likely to slot in for McKay. Perth right full-back, Josh Risdon, will hope to make his bow for the
Socceroos against Bangladesh, on Tuesday. His absence provides Lowe with a headache – defensive flanks looking decidedly weak. Perth are yet to win on their travels this season. Brisbane are looking solid at the back with Jade North and Daniel Bowles striking up a good partnership at the heart of the defence. The return of James Donachie further strengthens Roar’s depth at the back – competition for places can only be a good thing right? Despite the absence of some key men, I think the Roar have enough about them to overcome Perth.
Nick’s tip: Brisbane -0.25ah @1.51 (Pinnacle)