A-League Round 3 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 3 of the 2016/17 A-League season.

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Melbourne City

Melbourne City v Perth Glory

7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park

Perth Glory

Fresh from their convincing walloping of city rivals, Victory, joint leaders Melbourne City welcome Perth to AAMI Park. Tim Cahill stole all the headlines at Etihad Stadium, as his opportunistic 40-yard strike sailed into the net to open the scoring. That set the tone for the rest of the night as City went into another gear, a whole new level of intensity that Victory could not live with. Kilkenny’s inclusion at centre-back was a surprise tactical rejig by City coach, John Van’t Schip, and it paid dividends as the no.8 would often move forward (when City had possession) to outnumber Victory in midfield. In the end, the 4-1 result, City’s biggest over their noisy neighbours, did not flatter them one single bit. Following the disappointing 3-3 draw against the Mariners a fortnight ago, Perth notched up their first win for the season against the Nix. In what was a sometimes spiteful match, Perth did enough to deserve a 2-0 win. Debutant referee, Daniel Elder, was a key figure in the match, awarding 7 cautions (should of been more) and two penalties to the home side.

A total of 17 goals were scored when these sides clashed last season. Although there was nothing between them during the regular season, a draw and win apiece, City had the last laugh in the Finals Series – a Bruno Fornaroli brace ending Perth’s campaign. At the selection table, City are boosted by the return of veteran keeper Thomas Sorensen, after serving his one match suspension. For the visitors, tigerish midfielder Mitch Oxborrow is included in the squad for the first time this season, as is talented young winger Jamal Reiners. In a blow for Perth, striker Adam Taggart sits out again this week with a calf strain.

Nick’s tip: No bet.


Central Coast Mariners

Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar

5:35 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium

Brisbane Roar

Following on from their heroics in Perth, it was a case of deja vu for last season’s wooden spooners as the Mariners went down to Sydney, 4-0. New manager, Paul Okon, cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines as his side were plagued by old habits. To Okon’s credit the Mariners have shown early signs of improvement, in terms of their attacking play at least, but it’s at the back where they continue to turn over the ball. While Trent Buhagiar and Roy O’Donovan were guilty of spurning presentable opportunities, Jake McGing and keeper Ivan Necevski should bare the brunt of the criticism for their defensive lapses. While the boilover at The Allianz was not a total surprise, Brisbane’s 4-0 defeat in Newcastle caught most off guard, including yours truly. The manner of the defeat should of set alarm bells ringing throughout the Roar camp, even at this early stage of the season. Admittedly, the absence of suspended captain Matt McKay was a huge blow going in but it shouldn’t excuse the fact that there are some deep rooted issues at the Roar. It took just 8 minutes for Brisbane to fall behind, in comical circumstances too, as De Vere’s misplaced pass was intercepted by Newcastle flyer Andrew Nabbout. The Newcastle man proceeded to shrug off two powder puff challenges before his rather aimless cross was met by Roar fullback, Jack Hingert, who turned into his own net. Brisbane rallied, Tommy Oar coming closest with a long drive that was tipped onto the bar and over, but that was as good as it got for the 3-time A-League champs.

The Mariners will be hoping for an improved performance in their first home game of the season. If past H2H meetings are anything to go by, they’ve got their work cut with the Roar winning all of their last 5 clashes. All streaks though come to an end and if anything, the Mariners should be the more motivated side going into this. While centre-back Jacob Poscoliero misses out with a quad strain, the home side’s attacking stocks are boosted by the return of influential front man Fabio Ferreira. Matt McKay returns for the visitors. John Aloisi will be hoping that McKay’s leadership and endless energy will produce a more vibrant team display. A loss for the visitors, after last week’s debacle, could have serious ramifications.

Nick’s tips:
Over 3 goals @1.97 (SBOBET)
Brisbane -0.5ah @1.73 (SBOBET)


Adelaide United

Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory

7:20 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium

Melbourne Victory

Few would of predicted that reigning champions Adelaide United and reigning FFA Cup winners Melbourne Victory would be sitting on a solitary point after two rounds. That’s the predicament that both these clubs find themselves in after each suffered defeat on the weekend. The Reds will still be fuming about the manner in which they went down to the Wanderers after Henrique gave them a 1-0 lead going into the break. It’s not the first time, and definitely not the last, that an A-League referee’s decisions will change the course of a match. Two weeks running, referee Shaun Evans has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Adelaide United have legitimate reasons to be aggrieved with Evans after he failed to send off Wanderers’ firebrand striker, Brendon Satalab, for a late and dangerous challenge on James Holland. As if to rub salt in the wounds, Santalab scored a brace including a late winner when truth be told, he should of been in the showers. Melbourne Victory did not suffer such injustice from the match officials but will feel equally aggrieved in the manner that they were ripped apart in the Melbourne Derby, in front of 45,000 odd, the majority of blue and white persuasion. Kevin Muscat’s experiment to switch Ben Khallfallah to a more central role, in the absence of injured James Troisi, proved ineffective while Marco Rojas looked a little leg weary (despite scoring) following his commitments with the Kiwi national team.

Guillermo Amor will be cursing his luck following the news that countryman and tricky winger, Cirio, will be out for up to 10 weeks with knee ligament damage. Add to the long-term absence of Argentine, Marcelo Carrusca, and you soon realize that the Reds are without most of their creative spark. One man’s loss is another man’s opportunity. Exciting young prospect, Danny Choi, is included in the match day squad for the first time. For the visitors, James Troisi is out for another 2-3 weeks so perhaps we may see more of 16-yr old Sebastian Pasquali who was so impressive in the pre-season fixture against Italian giants, Juventus.

Nick’s tip: No bet.


Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC

5:00 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium

Sydney FC

The Nix return to home comforts after one of the longest domestic away trips in top tier football, 5,250km to Perth. It turned out to be a disappointing outing, losing 2-0 after going into the break on level terms. Wellington got off to a bright enough start with some neat possession in midfield without really threatening Liam Reddy in the Perth goal. The Nix slowly lost the initiative as the game wore on with Kostas Barbarouses especially disappointing on his first game back at his old club. Perhaps their homecoming won’t be any more enjoyable as Sydney FC roll into town. The Sky Blues are in fine fettle, stringing two 4-0 wins together to open their domestic campaign, the latter against a hapless Central Coast. In midweek, they easily accounted for NPL side Canberra Olympic, 3-0, to book their place in the FFA Cup Final. Filip Holosko has started the season like the marquee man everyone expected him to be when signed from Turkish club, Besiktas, last year. After failing to reach the heights last season, the Slovakian seems to be making up for lost time with a brace and a fully committed performance against the Mariners. In further good news for the league leaders, Bernie Ibini marked his return from long-term injury with a goal in the FFA Cup, further bolstering Graham Arnold’s strike-force.

Wellington will aim to snap a club record six game losing streak that stretches back to last season. Nix coach, Ernie Merrick, will be glad that all his Kiwi internationals are back in full training. Perhaps he may want to work on shooting and crossing as the side across the ditch has yet to register a goal this season. As mentioned earlier, Bernie Ibini is fit again and may take the place of David Carney with the 32yr old playing 90 minutes on Wednesday. Recent meetings have favoured the away side so perhaps Sydney can extend their winning streak?

Nick’s tip: No bet.


Western Sydney Wanderers

Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets

7:00 PM AEDT, Spotless Stadium

Newcastle Jets

This promises to be an intriguing contest as last season’s Runners-up, Western Sydney, face the surprise package so far in the Newcastle Jets. He wouldn’t tell you but Wanderers’ manager Tony Popovic will know deep down that his side got a lucky break last week. After losing the Sydney Derby 4-0, a fortnight ago, he probably couldn’t care less how his team bounced back in Adelaide. Aside from the first 25 and perhaps the last 15 minutes of the game at Coopers Stadium, it was Adelaide who were in the ascendancy. The introduction of Nicola Martinez and Brendon Santalab changed the flow somewhat and the latter’s ruthlessness in front of goal proved decisive. Newcastle’s 4-0 win over Brisbane represents the club’s most impressive result in many a year. Perhaps the Roar were a little off their game but all credit should go to the Jets who used their pace on the counter-attack to great effect. A special mention should go to Andrew Nabbout who after failing to make the grade at Melbourne Victory, has returned from a stint in the Malaysian Premier League as a changed man. Nabbout was a thorn in the side of the Roar backline and deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award.

Following the embarrassment from a fortnight ago, the home fans will feel they are owed a decent performance. I’m sure Popa’s men will try to oblige but Newcastle have shown already that they are different beast under the guidance of new gaffer, Mark Jones. With Wanderers’ former skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley departing for the riches of the UAE Arabian Gulf League, leadership duties will fall on experienced duo Robbie Cornthwaite and Artiz Borda, the latter returning from a one match suspension. Jason Hoffman returns for the Jets and should be recalled to right-back in place of Vujica. The Wanderers won all 3 meetings last season.

Nick’s tips: Western Sydney -0.25ah @1.57 (Pinnacle Sports)


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