A-League Round 22 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 22 of the 2015/16 A-League season.

Friday, 4 March

Brisbane Roar

Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers

8:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers

The Roar will hope to reignite their charge towards the premiership title when they return to their home fortress, Suncorp Stadium. Recent results, including last week’s 3-0 loss in Adelaide, represents a side well short on confidence and title-winning form with 11 goals conceded in their three most recent outings. Roar veteran Thomas Broich will hope to be back in the starting XI, for the visit of league leaders Western Sydney, after been dropped against the Reds for the first time in 4 years. The Wanderers travel North in a buoyant mood following a 2-1 win over in-form Perth. It was that man again, super-sub Brendan Santalab, who bagged all 3 points for the Red and Black in somewhat controversial circumstances as his raised boot was up around Josh Risdon’s head when he lobbed out-coming Ante Covic.

John Aloisi’s managerial credentials will be tested as he bids to get the Roar back to their free-flowing best. To get out of this form slump, one would imagine that it’s a case of getting the players’ heads right more than anything else. The Wanderers got a bit fortunate last week as Perth definitely deserved at least a share of the spoils. The absence of Nikolai Topor-Stanley (susp.) and Dario Vidosic is a cause for concern for the visitors while their away form is none too clever with just a single win in their last 6. In contrast, Brisbane hold the strongest home record in the competition with 23 points collected from a possible 30.

Nick’s tip: Western Sydney 0.25ah @1.72 (Pinnacle)


Saturday, 5 March

Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United

5:15 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium

Adelaide United

It promises to be an intriguing contest with Wellington beginning to rediscover their identity while high-flying Adelaide United are vying to stretch their undefeated run to 14 matches. The Nix celebrated last week’s FFA announcement of an extended A-League license in style with an upset 2-1 win over Melbourne City. In truth, it was a triumph based more on grit and determination than eye-catching combinations but one can excuse Ernie Merrick for a more “defensive approach” with both his strikers unavailable for selection. Adelaide United continued their miraculous turn around from their early season form as they swept aside Brisbane to the tune of a 3-0 scoreline. Goal hero from a fortnight ago, Bruce Kamau, scored for the second week running to send the Reds on their way to a convincing win over a subdued Brisbane outfit.

If there ever was a fixture with “banana skin” written all over it, then this would be it. Everyone has written off Wellington from making the Top 6 (8pts off with six rounds remaining) so we can expect them to play with a care-free attitude while forwards Hamish Watson and Blake Powell are both available for selection. Returning from concussion suffered a fortnight ago, Craig Goodwin should be good to go but Isaias is set to be sidelined for at least a month with strained knee ligaments. Adelaide United have only ever won twice at Westpac Stadium while both meetings this season have gone the way of the respective home side.

Nick’s tip: Over 2.75 goals @1.83 (Pinnacle)
Wellington +0.5ah @1.72 (Pinnacle)


Melbourne City

Melbourne City v Sydney FC

7:30 PM AEDT, AAMI Park

Sydney FC

Sydney will aim to replicate their ACL form on the domestic front after a fine 2-1 win, in midweek, over reigning champions of Asia in Guangzhou Evergrande. Following a battling 1-1 draw against Melbourne Victory last Saturday, despite going down to 10 men, Graham Arnold will be desperate to finish the week on a high against the other Melbourne side. Melbourne City’s woes away from home continued in the disappointing 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix. Battling the strong winds and perhaps some unfavorable officiating by NZ ref Matthew Conger, City failed to hit the heights with any regularity to really put the Nix on the back foot. It was an especially poor showing in the early parts of the contest after going two behind in the space of 3 minutes with full-backs Ivan Franjic and Michael Zullo culpable of some lax defending. Aaron Mooy pulled one back soon after, following a wicked deflection off a set piece situation, but the deficit proved too much for City to haul back.

The hosts will be glad to welcome back troubled forward Harry Novillo from his club-enforced suspension while Connor Chapman is in the squad for the first time since December. Although upbeat by their ground-breaking triumph in midweek, the Sky Blues are ravaged by injury and suspension to a number of their stars with no less than five ruled out from the starting XI that faced Melbourne Victory. In the corresponding fixture three months back, it was a depleted Melbourne City side who somehow managed a 2-2 draw against wasteful Sydney. The shoe is now on the other foot – it will be interesting to see how Melbourne City deal with the favourites’ tag.

Nick’s tip: Melbourne City -0.5ah @1.91 (SBOBET)


Sunday, 6 March

Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory

5:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium

Melbourne Victory

Along with Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory proved just how far A-League clubs have come in terms of tactical awareness and technical ability with a fine 1-1 draw in Japan, against Gamba Osaka. Frenchman, Matthew Delpierre, was once again a pillar of strength in the centre of defense but Muscat must be wary of the number of minutes he is playing – an injury could derail Victory’s campaign on all fronts. Young promising centre-back, Thomas Deng, could be called upon to deputize as Victory look for a first league win since late January (5 games) and perhaps a morale boosting one at that. In arguably the worst game of the season, not helped by some equally poor officiating by Ben Williams, the Mariners lost 1-0 to arch rival Newcastle. Central Coast remain anchored at the bottom on just 12pts.

The Mariners welcome back a whole host of players from suspension including striker Roy O’Donovan who returns to the side after his infamous headbutt on Manny Muscat, on New Year’s Eve. O’Donovan will be looking to strike up a partnership with midfield maestro Luis Garcia despite the Spaniard struggling in
recent starts. Club captain Nick Montgomery misses a week through suspension. Connor Pain or Jay Ingham are likely to fill the boots of the suspended Kostas Barbarousis, the latter sighted by the RMP for a rash challenge in last week’s ‘Big Blue’. When these sides met in Geelong, in January, the Mariners raced to a 3-0 first half lead before the Victory reigned them in to snatch a 3-3 draw. Anything bar a win for the visitors could see them slip out of the Top 6 come Monday evening.

Nick’s tip: Melbourne Victory -0.75ah @1.72 (SBOBET)
Gui Finkler to score anytime @3.50 (Sportsbet)


Monday, 7 March

Perth Glory

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

8:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium

Newcastle Jets

Perth will hope to get back on track after their 5 game winning streak, which incidentally started against the Jets back in January (6-1 win), came to an end. The 2-1 defeat to Western Sydney would of been a bitter pill to swallow for Kenny Lowe’s men as his side more than deserved to take something tangible from the game. No one has been in hotter goalscoring form than Chris Harold, in recent weeks, but the forward was guilty of missing several headed chances. Harold’s tireless running though did lead to Perth’s equalizer before he was substituted with an apparent case of cramping. Impressive Jets youngster, Steven Ugarkovic, gifted his side a priceless winner over Central Coast to keep side’s slim finals hopes alive. Truth be said, Newcastle made incredibly hard work of it and for the last half hour were camped deep in their own half, making for an incredibly nervy finish to the game.

Versatile Glory defender, Aryn Williams, is recalled to the squad and is likely to slot in at right-back (with Josh Risdon switching wings) as Marc Warren serves a one match suspension. In what is otherwise a very settled starting XI, Perth should feel confident of accounting for the Jets with the visitors well below par last week. If the Jets are to cause an upset, they must restrict the influence of Diego Castro while keeping their shape against a potent Glory attack. With just 4pts separating 4th to 7th (at the time of writing), goal difference may yet prove vital so I expect Perth to pile on the goals if they get half a chance.

Nick’s tip: Perth -0.75ah @1.75 (Pinnacle)
Over 3 goals @1.87 (Pinnacle)


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