The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2015/16 A-League season.
Thursday, 19 November
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
8:00 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
That man Besart Berisha was at it again as Melbourne Victory toppled Sydney in one of the more memorable Big Blue derbies. The Albanian was a thorn in the Sydney back line as he twisted and turned his markers while bagging a brace to boot (scoring 6 in his last 4 outings). In truth, Sydney played some lovely stuff and the game remained on a knife’s edge until midway through the second half, when Barbarouses struck as Finkler’s strike kindly deflected in his path. As Sydney pressed for the equalizer, Berisha put the icing on the cake as he beat Faty for pace before applying an expert finish at the back post to make it 4-2. Central Coast themselves were involved in a derby against the Jets, coming away with a spirited 1-1 draw. Despite playing with a man less for a little more than an hour (following the dismissal of Jake McGing), the Mariners looked the more likely throughout the contest with a performance full of grit and determination. It was actually a surprise when the Jets took the lead on 83′ when Trifunovic dispatched a header in off the back post. The Mariners were not to be denied though as substitute Matt Sim managed to squeeze in an equalizer through a crowd of players with virtually the last kick of the game.
Following three consecutive losses on the trot the Mariners have picked up two draws against Wellington and Newcastle, respectively. No disrespect to the aforementioned sides but they hardly compare to a Victory side firing on all cylinders. If the task at hand was not tough enough for the visitors, Victory are strengthened by the return of Carl Valeri from suspension while Jason Geria and Scott Galloway return from Olyroos duty. Mariners will need to reshuffle at the back with McGing suspended. Only complacency will undo the Victory who can go jointadelai top with Brisbane if they manage to get the win.
Nick’s tip: No tip.
Friday, 20 November
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City
8:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
League leaders Brisbane will hope to consolidate their position at the top but will be weary of their inconsistent opponents. The Roar were far from their best in the 1-0 win over Perth but recently naturalized Aussie, Henrique (aka ‘The Slippery Fish’), marked his return from long-term injury with a late goal to give his side the 3pts. Melbourne City continue to be the bookies’ favourite side – expect them to win and they will burn you more often than not. Their flaky form continued as they followed up their 4-2 win in Adelaide, a fortnight ago, with a powder puff 3-0 loss to Western Sydney at AAMI Park. Melbourne City looked a shadow of themselves without the services of Aaron Mooy (who was on Socceroos duty) and his ability to pull the strings in midfield. Mooy will be back from Bangladesh in time for this game but tiredness/jetlag could be a factor.
Melbourne City have enjoyed this fixture in recent times, winning 4 of their last 5 meetings including all three clashes last season. Roar skipper and Socceroo, Matt McKay, should slot back into the starting XI (providing he is fit and ready) while in-form striker, Jamie MacLaren, should do likewise after scoring for the Olyroos in a friendly against Iran. Former Melbourne City boss John Aloisi also has former La Liga midfielder, Javi Hervas, at his disposal after the Spaniard showed up well (and even provided an assist) in his first taste of A-League action against Perth. In contrast to the good news of having Aaron Mooy back, City are suffering somewhat of an injury crisis to their back line with Clisby, Kisnorbo and Hughes all ruled out. If Mooy is able to replicate his club and international performances, then perhaps the visitors can pull off a surprise.
Saturday, 21 November
Western Sydney Wanderers v Wellington Phoenix
5:15 PM AEDT, Pirtek Stadium
A rejuvenated Western Sydney are shooting for 4 wins straight after a devastating 3-0 win over Melbourne City. Nichols continues to shine, Dimas and Andreu continue to look more comfortable in their midfield roles but it was marquee, Federico Piovaccari, who stole all the headlines – he finally scored! The Italian has been scrutinized for his finishing and tendency to drift offside but his goal on 61′ put the Wanderers two up and the result almost beyond doubt. Wellington were involved in a more even contest and were even forced to come from behind in their 4-2 win over struggling Adelaide United. After conceding on just 3′ following some good work by Cirio down the left flank, Wellington responded in devastating fashion after a mix up between Reds’ keeper John Hall and centre back Osama Malik gifted Roy Krishna an easy tap in. In what was quite an even game with chances for both sides, Wellington’s high press was proving effective and on 22’they cashed in when the Reds coughed up possession to man of the match, Rolieny Bonevacia, who dispatched with relative ease. In arguably the goal of the season, Bonevacia completed his brace with an unstoppable 25 yard strike after he was afforded too much space on the edge of the area. At this point, the game was over as a contest with Wellington completely dominating proceedings – making it 4-1 on 68′ through Ridenton while Pablo Sanchez added some respectability to the score line (for the Reds) with his late headered tap in.
Can Pio continue his goal scoring form after finally breaking his duck? It will be interesting to see how he performs in the coming weeks. Wellington are boosted by the return of midfield maestro, Michael McGlinchey, while Louis Fenton and Thomas Doyle should also be available for selection. The Nix have
played poorly on their recent travels with disappointing 3-0 and 1-1 results against Melbourne Victory and Central Coast, respectively. They do have it in their locker to cause an upset but the odds are stacked against them with Western Sydney getting stronger by the week.
Perth Glory v Sydney FC
7:30 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Aside from their 3-1 win over Adelaide United, Perth have been quite dismal so far this season. They definitely seem to have lost their mojo in comparison to last season when they were leading the competition (until eventually found to have breached the salary cap). After losing convincingly to Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup grand final, Perth followed it up with a limp 1-0 defeat to Brisbane. Despite an improved performance following the break, Perth were second best by some distance and eventually conceded on 74′ after veteran keeper, Ante Covic, made a hash of his clearance. Sydney will be aiming to bounce back from their derby defeat after losing 4-2 to traditional rival, Melbourne Victory. Sydney gaffer, Graham Arnold, remained upbeat following the game and rightly so as his team played excellent football but lady luck deserted them on the night.
Perth right full-back, Josh Risdon, will rejoin the squad after making his bow for the Socceroos in their 4-0 win over Bangladesh. Hungarian import and top goal scorer, Gyorgy Sandor, should also return from the treatment table. Perth need all the help they can get at the moment. Sydney FC retain the services of fringe players Andrew Hoole and Chris Naumoff – making their return from Olyroos duty. The journey out West holds no fears for the Sky Blues, winning their last two trips to Perth and their last 4 contests overall. It’s difficult to look passed an away win.
Sunday, 22 November
Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets
5:00 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United manager, Guillermo Amor, will be feeling the heat after his side succumbed to their second 4-2 defeat on the bounce – leaving them rock bottom with just 2 points. This time it was Wellington who were the beneficiary of Adelaide’s porous defence – one that has conceded at an average of 2.5 goals per game. Elementary defensive errors are costing the Reds at the moment. The quicker Amor realizes that keeper John Hall is not comfortable passing the ball out from the back, the better. After 3 wins from their first 4 games, Newcastle seem to be leveling out a bit after consecutive disappointing performances. The 1-1 draw against the Mariners, on the weekend, was by far their worst showing so far this season. Rarely would you witness a more inept performance from a side who had a one man advantage from midway through the first half. The Jets looked off the pace from the first whistle but they were handed a lifeline of sorts after Jake McGing’s dangerous challenge on Leonardo resulted in a red for the Mariners youngster. Surprisingly, it was the team in yellow shirts who made all the running thereafter and it was only towards the latter stages that Newcastle got a foothold. On 83′, the Jets got their noses in front from their most likely source – a set piece, taken by David Carney, and headed in by the tall figure of Milos Trifunovic. Football can be a cruel game but justice prevailed in this one as the Mariners equalized with virtually the last kick of the game.
If United can tidy up their defensive errors and perhaps get captain/keeper Eugene Galekovic back between the sticks, they can still salvage something from this season. The more experienced heads in the team need to stand up and be counted (ie. Malik, Isaias, Carrusca). Newcastle at Coopers Stadium is perhaps the perfect remedy to Adelaide’s current woes – especially if the Jets put in a performance like last week’s. The visitors are likely to be without recent casualty, Leonardo, while former Red, Daniel Mullen, is out for at least another six weeks. Ben Kantarovski should return after a calf strain ruled him out last week. The last time the Jets were in Adelaide town, they copped a 7-0 hammering. The visitors are a more cohesive unit this time round but if the home side can get an early stranglehold, a huge breakout win is not out of the question.
Nick’s tip: Adelaide United @1.76 (SBOBET)