A-League Round 8 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 8 of the 2015/16 A-League season.

Thursday, 26 November

Sydney FC

Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix

8:00 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium

Wellington Phoenix

Sydney will hope to have recovered from their energy sapping scoreless draw in Perth as they look to put an end to three matches without a win. Sydney huffed and puffed in 36 degree heat and despite dominating possession, failed to create the kind of opportunities that would merit the three points. Veteran striker, Matt Simon, came closest to a winner for the Sky Blues as his header was placed a foot wide of the far upright. While Sydney were duking it out in scorching temperatures, Wellington were well into their recovery routine following their 2-1 loss to Western Sydney. A late goal by Mark Bridge broke Nix hearts as the Western Sydney marksman took advantage of some slack marking to fire from close range. Perhaps the absence of Ben Sigmund to concussion (on 53′) played a crucial role as Wellington failed to clear their lines sufficiently, following a Dimas delivery from a corner. That defeat extended Wellington’s streak to the 3 away games without a win (one draw sandwiched by two losses).

An interesting match is in prospect as Sydney has hardly pulled up any trees at the Allianz this season. The fortuitous 1-0 win over Western Sydney (a month ago) remains their only home win to date while the travel factor and last week’s oppressive conditions (in Perth) may play a part. The home side are strengthened with the return of Jacques Faty following his return from Paris. Wellington are likely to be without Ben Sigmund as a precaution following his concussion, meaning that Manny Muscat is likely to shift into a central position while Louis Fenton slots in at right back. This matchup has gone the way of the visiting side on each of the last four occasions.

Nick’s tip: Sydney FC -0.25ah @1.59 (Pinnacle)


Friday, 27 November

Melbourne City

Melbourne City v Perth Glory

7:40 PM AEDT, AAMI Park

Perth Glory

Melbourne City’s constant inconsistency continues to drive their supporters mad which is probably why the club has averaged the lowest home attendance in the A-League this season. True to form, City did not lose after a defeat the week prior which at least shows some sort of “bouncebackability”. The 1-1 draw at Brisbane was a good result considering the listless 3-0 defeat to the Wanderers just 7 days earlier. Aaron Mooy was a little under par but can be forgiven following his globetrotting with the Socceroos while Roar keeper, Jamie Young, was arguably City’s best outlet to goal. The Brisbane stand-in keeper was in a charitable mood with some bizzare errors completely of his own making – one leading to Novillo’s strike just minutes after the half time break. Perth ground out a scoreless draw against Sydney in difficult conditions. The FFA Cup Grand Final included, Perth are on a run of four games without scoring while they remain just one point above bottom placed Adelaide United.

City have some winnable fixtures leading up to the Melbourne derby with Central Coast and Newcastle Jets on the horizon. First thing’s first – they must negotiate Perth who have proven a difficult opponent in the past. City should be better for the extra day’s preparation and the return of Socceroo, Ivan Franjic, who made his first appearance for his new club against former employers Brisbane Roar, last week. In terms of average age, no side is older than Perth Glory. Perhaps tiredness could play a role for the visitors following last week’s exertions (incl. the travel), especially in the second half.

Nick’s tip:
Melbourne City -0.75ah @1.84 (SBOBET)
Over 2.25 goals @1.72 (SBOBET)


Saturday, 28 November

Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar

5:15 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium

Brisbane Roar

The Jets welcome the league leaders to the Hunter Stadium hoping to rekindle their form from October. The Novocastrians were the talk of the A-League in the opening rounds but they have since let their standards slip – collecting just 2pts from a possible 9. A scoreless draw away to bottom side, Adelaide United, is perhaps not the end of the world but the fact that they didn’t register a single shot on goal against the league’s leakiest defence is a worrying sign. Brisbane’s 1-1 draw against Melbourne City was good enough to propel them to the top of the pile, having played one game more than second-placed Melbourne Victory. The Roar lacked their usual spark going forward with MacLaren and Borrello way off their best form while Young was doing his best impersonation of Bozzo the Clown, between the sticks. In more positive news, Henrique scored for the second match running (off the bench) and is making strong claims for a starting berth this week.

Jets keeper, Mark Birighitti, has been the standout glovesman in the league so far this season and he was at it again last weekend – single-handedly earning his side a point against the Reds. In all likelihood, Mark will be even busier come Saturday as his side try to keep Thomas Broich and co. at bay. The team news is not great for the home side either as experienced centre-back, Nigel Boogard, is likely to join fellow key defender Daniel Mullen on the sidelines – leaving the Jets light at the back. With no international commitments to contend with, I expect McKay and MacLaren to be full of beans unlike last week.

Nick’s tip: Brisbane Roar -0.25ah @1.72 (Pinnacle)


Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United

7:30 PM AEDT, Etihad Stadium

Adelaide United

No Berisha, no Valeri, no problem! Melbourne Victory cruised to a 2-1 win over Central Coast despite the aforementioned (and a few others) to record their fifth straight win in all competitions. Kevin Muscat gave 19-yr old striker, George Howard, his full debut as league top goalscorer Besart Berisha was given the night off. While it was Guy Finkler who stole all the headlines with a brace inside 3 first half minutes, it was defensive midfielder Rashid Mahazi who shone just as bright with a performance full of energy and poise – perhaps a breakout game for someone used so sparingly. It’s true what they say that nothing goes right when you’re at the bottom. Adelaide United can’t buy a trick at the moment as they drew a blank against a Birighitti-inspired Newcastle Jets. To make matters worse, centre-back Osama Malik is likely to be out for a while with a strained calf.

The odds are stacked well and truly against the visitors and for good reason. Victory are close to full strength with Valeri and Berisha likely to slot straight back into the starting XI while having two days further to prepare. Jordan Elsey will be a like for like replacement for Malek while Carrusca is a likely starter after surprisingly been left on the bench against the Jets. These sides met in the season opener at Adelaide Oval – a scoreless draw that Victory really should of won by a couple. You have to go back 9 meetings and almost three years since the last time Adelaide United got one over their traditional rivals.

Nick’s tip: Melbourne Victory -0.75ah @1.87 (Pinnacle)


Sunday, 29 November

Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers

5:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers

The Mariners will be glad to be back on home turf following a difficult trip to Melbourne. Although the narrow 2-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory would suggest otherwise, the contest was over inside 20 minutes when the home side jumped to a two goal lead. Super sub, Matty Sim, gave the Mariners a lifeline but unlike a fortnight ago when his late strike resulted in a point, this time it was just a mere consolation. It doesn’t get any easier as Western Sydney roll into town. The Wanderers are the form side of the competition with 4 wins on the bounce, including last week’s 2-1 result over Wellington Phoenix. It was by no means easy with Wellington controlling a lot of possession and even hitting the woodwork twice. It was an old head that provided the incisive finish as the game looked destined for a draw – Mark Bridge running onto a loose ball before driving it into the back of the net from close range. It was a testament to Western Sydney’s recent confidence and self belief that they were able to push on for the winner.

Central Coast have acquitted themselves relatively well in front of their boisterous brass band this season – their only home defeat coming in controversial circumstances against Sydney FC (1-3). The home side will hope to get right winger Fabio Ferreira back from a hamstring injury while striker Roy O’Donovan would be best advised to channel his anger in a more positive manner after getting away with a nasty tackle on Victory’s Leigh Broxham, last week. Following a frustrating start to life in the A-League, Wanderers striker Marco Piovaccari is beginning to get a wriggle on – scoring in consecutive matches to take his tally to two for the season. Western Sydney must guard against complacency as Central Coast are more than capable on their day.

Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.5 (Pinnacle)


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