The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2016/17 A-League season.
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
7:50 PM AEDT, ANZ Stadium
What a way to kick off Matchday 10 with a top of the table clash between last week’s FFA Cup finalists! A little more than a week ago, Melbourne City claimed their first silverware with a hard fought 1-0 win, at AAMI Park. Just four days later, Sydney FC put their disappointment to one side as they accounted for the Newcastle Jets in comfortable fashion. Ninkovic opened the scoring with a wonderful solo effort while Ibini’s introduction off the bench provided the goal that sealed the 3 points, and a six point buffer at the top. In a spiteful match, on and off the pitch, Melbourne City drew 1-1 with Brisbane. In a contest that could of gone either way, Nicolas Colazo (Melbourne City’s best on the night) earned City a point with a second-half equalizer.
With a third of the regular season already done and dusted, Sydney FC can take giant strides towards a minor premiership (even at this early stage) with a win here. The Sky Blues will be looking to take advantage of Melbourne City’s dodgy form on their travels. Dating back to last season, City have won just twice away from AAMI Park in their last 10 road games. Both sides are at full strength with Neil Kilkenny, most notably, returning from suspension for the visitors.
Nick’s tip: Sydney FC 0ah @1.52 (Pinnacle Sports)
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
7:35 PM AEDT, Waikato Stadium
Manager-less Wellington will aim to get themselves off the foot of the table following Ernie Merrick’s resignation, on Sunday. The Scot brought an end to his three year reign in the New Zealand capital, following the 2-0 defeat in Adelaide. One can only speculate but the celebrated manager may have stayed on had Roy Krishna not missed from the spot. The Fiji international scuppered a golden opportunity to put his side ahead after marauding left wing-back, Adam Parkhouse, was fouled in the box. Having said that, it’s not a given in football that an early lead equates to three points. Central Coast can attest to that after Blake Powell gave his side the lead against the Wanderers, inside 5 minutes, only to go on and lose 4-1. Following on from the breakthrough win a fortnight ago, a lengthy injury list forced the Mariners to field three teenagers.
Assistant managers, Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham, will take over in the interim as Wellington’s search begins for a permanent replacement. As part of the A-League’s initiative to broaden the game’s exposure, this fixture will be played up North in Hamilton. It’s probably not a bad thing for the home side as their recent record at regular home, Westpac Stadium, makes for some grim reading (2W-8L). The Mariners get some bodies back for this one as club captain Nick Montgomery returns from injury while centre-back Jacob Poscoliero is promoted to the squad. Wellington will be hoping for a repeat of their 2-0 win down in Gosford, a little less than a month ago.
Nick’s tip: Wellington -0.75ah @1.9 (Pinnacle Sports)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory
7:50 PM AEDT, ANZ Stadium
An intriguing tactical battle is in prospect as former Socceroo buddies, Tony Popovic and Kevin Muscat, look to outwit each other. The hosts go into this match with all the momentum following their convincing 4-1 win over the Mariners. Finally, the Wanderers got just reward for their quality brand of football. They even managed to boss the game after keeper, Jerrad Tyson, was sent off on the hour mark. In contrast, Melbourne Victory endured a frustrating 1-1 draw against a valiant and sometimes fortunate Perth Glory. It was a case of two points dropped for the Victory with profligate finishing and poor execution in the final third undoing all their good approach play.
The Wanderers will look to break a 5-game winless streak in front of their home fans. They have been the draw specialists on home turf with four consecutive games finishing deadlocked. Victory’s last away game resulted in an unfortunate 2-1 defeat to league leaders Sydney FC. These sides met on Matchday 6 in a game shrouded in controversy as referee, Jarred Gillett, failed to award an obvious penalty for the Wanderers. A converted pen would of leveled the scores. Instead, Victory went on to record a rather flattering 3-0 win. In team news, Melbourne Victory’s attack is dented in the absence of Kiwi international Marco Rojas.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.56 (Pinnacle Sports)
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets
10:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Perth will be confident in returning to winning ways as they welcome injury-stricken Newcastle to NIB Stadium. Ever since the 3-2 away win at Melbourne City (back in October), Perth have failed to convince that they are legit title contenders. Despite their indifferent form, last week’s battling draw at Melbourne Victory may boost confidence levels. Even at this stage of the season, Newcastle look almost dead certainties for the wooden spoon. The manner of the 2-0 defeat against Sydney FC suggests that it’s going to be another long season for the Jets. After a positive opening to the campaign, a number of factors have led to a run of five defeats from their last six outings.
Newcastle face a monumental task in taking anything from this game. It’s been almost a year since Perth last tasted defeat at home. The return of Andrew Nabbout will at least give the visitors some much needed bite going forward. Perth remain without there most creative outlet in Diego Castro but Josh Risdon returns to provide a threat with his pacy overlapping runs. The home side are in desperate need of a winning result and a stylish performance to boot.
Nick’s tip: No tip.
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
5:00 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
This promises to be an entertaining match. Brisbane have often been criticized this season for their defensive approach, and rightfully so. But, their impressive showing in the 1-1 draw at Melbourne City suggests that the ‘Roarcelona’ of old may be making a comeback. Brisbane gave as good as they got against the FFA Cup champions and perhaps could have claimed a win had Jamie MacLaren worn his scoring boots. Finally, Adelaide United won a game thanks to a fantastic brace from diminutive Brazilian, Henrique. Standing at just 5ft5, the former Roar winger struck two powerful shots with either foot to seal a most valuable three points against the visiting Nix.
Despite losing just once this season, a propensity to draw games (usually 1-1) has left Brisbane trailing league leaders Sydney FC by 9 points. One of those drawn games was at Coopers Stadium, earlier last month, when Brett Holman’s opener was cancelled out by a late Guardiola header. Holman remains sidelined until the new year. On a positive front, Roar fans will be enthused by the recent form of Thomas Broich. Adelaide United will be hoping to propel themselves up the ladder by stringing a few wins together. The absence of Isaias through suspension is a blow but it is softened somewhat with the long-awaited return of Sergio Cirio.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.63 (Pinnacle Sports)