A-League Round 13 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 13 of the 2015/16 A-League season.

Thursday, 31 December

Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix

7:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium

Wellington Phoenix

Aside from their league position, all is not well at the Mariners with training ground bust-ups and disputes over player payments. On the field, it was another demoralizing defeat for the bottom club as they went down 4-1 to Sydney FC. The scoreline was somewhat harsh on the Mariners who can feel rightly hard done by with some baffling decisions by the officials. When goalkeeper, Paul Izzo, was sent off on the 28th minute mark you feared the worst for the Mariners but to their credit they dug deep and actually outworked the Sky Blues in the second half. Similarly, Wellington had a player sent off for a second bookable offence with Albert Riera harshly shown his marching orders on the 56th minute mark. The 3-0 defeat to Adelaide United was not a true reflection of the closeness of this contest. With the game on a knife’s edge and half-time approaching, Manny Muscat inadvertently turned the ball into his own net to give the home side the advantage. Although Wellington put up some resistance following Riera’s ejection, goalkeeper Glen Moss conceded a howler which ended the match as a contest.

Wellington have stayed in the country to prepare for this match so they should be in good physical shape. The absence of Riera through suspension, and Jeffery Sarpong due to a thigh strain does complicate things for Ernie Merrick but he does have enough quality available to win this game. Central Coast have been a little unfortunate in recent games but there is an obvious lack of quality, especially in the defensive areas. In all honesty, neither side can be fully trusted but with all the goings on at the Mariners perhaps the Nix will edge this one.

Nick’s tip: Wellington 0ah @1.81 (SBOBET)


Friday, 1 January

Western Sydney Wanderers

Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United

7:40 PM AEDT, Pirtek Stadium

Adelaide United

The Wanderers resumed normal service with a relatively straight-forward 2-0 win over the Jets, consolidating their place at the top of the A-League ladder. Centre-back, Alberto, was an unlikely source to open the scoring when his tame downward header from close proximity was fumbled into his own net by Jets keeper, Mark Birighitti. In what was a largely uneventful contest, Mark Bridge put the result beyond doubt with some clever footwork and a tidy finish after Birighitti palmed a shot from Dario Vidosic, straight into his path. Adelaide United notched up their third win in four games following a crucial 3-0 result over Wellington. The result flattered the Reds but at this stage, any win is welcomed as they look to stay in touch of the Top 6.

With a home record of 5 wins and a single defeat, only 2nd placed Brisbane Roar boast a better home record than Western Sydney. In big team news, key midfielder Andreu returns from suspension to give the Wanderers more craft and control in the “engine room”. Former Wanderer, Iacopo La Rocca, returns from
injury and the fiery Italian is sure to spark up some fireworks as he looks to get one over his former employers. Despite the positive upturn in results, Adelaide United are far from the free-flowing machine that we enjoyed under the guidance of former manager Josep Gombau. Wanderers are at full strength so I expect the red and blacks to get their new year off to the best possible start.

Nick’s tip:


Saturday, 2 January

Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory

5:15 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium

Perth Glory

On the back of one of the games of the season, Brisbane will aim to make it four wins on the trot when they face a resurgent Perth. Brisbane’s 3-1 win over Melbourne City was a great advertisement for the A-League with some brilliant end to end action and an intensity that was worthy of finals football. In the first half Brisbane made great inroads down the left flank as ex-Roar man Ivan Franjic was left exposed time and time again. It was from the left where Brisbane made the breakthrough when Stefanutto fired across the bows of the City goal leading to Patrick Kisnorbo’s unfortunate own goal. The returning Brandon Borello made it two just before the break with a shot that Thomas Sorensen should of done better with at his front post. Despite a brave fight back by the visitors, super sub Henrique fired into an empty net, late on, to seal the deal. Perth continued their strong recovery following a poor start to the season with a creditable 1-1 draw at Melbourne Victory. It was a tale of two penalties; both converted at either end, with Perth showing character to dig their heels in under immense pressure and then equalize late on after Chris Harold was sent tumbling in the penalty area.

Depending on the outcome of Friday evening’s tussle between league leaders Western Sydney and Adelaide, Brisbane may be looking down at everyone come the conclusion of this round. Brisbane go into this as hot favorites and rightly so as Perth are yet to win on a road – in fact, last week’s draw in Melbourne
was the Glory’s first point away from NIB Stadium. Perth had to really ride their luck last week with Victory’s wayward shooting a saving grace. Not sure if Brisbane will be so forgiving.

Nick’s tip:


Melbourne City

Melbourne City v Sydney FC

7:30 PM AEDT, AAMI Park

Sydney FC

In what looms as the match of the round, it’s third Vs fourth with only goal difference separating the two sides – Melbourne City holding a superior goal difference of +5. City will be aiming to get back to winning ways after their four game winning streak was brought to an end in Brisbane, last week. City paid for a slow start in the humid Brisbane weather with some uncharacteristic sloppiness evident in their game. It took a 2-0 deficit and 49 minutes before City really hit their straps with some route one football when Sorensen’s huge punt forward was expertly flicked on by Novillo and the league’s leading marskman, Bruno Fornaroli, did the rest. City were reinvigorated at this stage and on another night could of been on level terms had it not been for Jamie Young’s heroics in the Brisbane goal. Sydney manager, Graham Arnold, will be more relieved than satisfied with the 4-1 win over lowly Central Coast as his side received a two goal “head-start” from the officials. In the build up to the opener, Andrew Hoole got away with an offside call while the second goal resulted from a penalty when Milos Ninkovic conned the ref with a brilliant piece of simulation. Arnold will be irked with the second half performance as Central Coast took the game to his side despite being a man down.

With the mid-season transfer window opening at the turn of the year, one wonders whether Aaron Mooy will still be at the club for too much longer. Perhaps he will use this period as an incentive to further impress European scouts which can only be good for Melbourne City, short-term. Sydney FC welcome back Holosko from suspension whereas Alex Brosque is out indefinitely after aggravating an old hamstring injury. Sydney’s results on the road have been disappointing as of late but they were a touch unfortunate in the 1-1 draw at Wellington, a fortnight ago. The Sky Blues have had some success at AAMI Park in the past and will fancy themselves of getting at least a point despite the absence of their captain.

Nick’s tip:


Sunday, 3 January

Newcastle Jets

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory

5:00 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium

Melbourne Victory

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Kevin Muscat, he takes a glance at the fixture list and reads “Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium” – Melbourne Victory have not won at this venue since 2009. Victory’s wows continued in the 1-1 draw against Perth but at least they were able to put a halt to a 4 game losing streak. A point was nothing but mere consolation though as the reigning premiers failed to press home their advantage after going ahead as a result of a rather fortuitous first half penalty. Victory had numerous chances to get that all important second goal but Barbarouses and Ben Khalfallah in particular, failed to bulge the old onion bag. Perth were a threat on the counter-attack throughout the game and with a quarter of an hour to go, speedster Chris Harold got in behind and was fouled clumsily in the area by the experienced Matthieu Delpierre who really should of known better. Meanwhile, the Jets’ 2-0 loss in Adelaide stretched their winless run to 8 games after a rare bad performance by keeper Mark Birighitti.

Newcastle will hope to get Leonardo back from injury as his pace going forward is a real asset to the side. Kevin Muscat may need to make some brave decisions at the selection table if his side are to get out of this rut. Players like Barbarouses and Geria are clearly lacking confidence so perhaps Muscat may look to club legend Archie Thompson to spark his side back to life.

Nick’s tip:


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