The following are previews with betting tips for Round 13 of the 2016/17 A-League season.
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
7:50 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
The Sky Blues will aim to continue their 12 match unbeaten run well into the new year as they welcome 3rd placed Brisbane. It will take something special to derail Sydney FC’s title challenge after another crushing win, this time at Adelaide United. The league leaders were a little fortunate to go into the break one up but turned the afterburners on thereafter, Ninkovic the star of the show in a 4-0 win. It was the fifth time this season that Sydney FC have piled on 4 goals. Brisbane’s title aspirations took a bit of a hit as they were held to a 1-1 draw against the Wanderers. In what can be described as a cow paddock of a pitch, the first half action was riddled with errors and uncertainty. Brisbane’s improving wing-back, Corey Brown, brought the game to life on 52 minutes with a lovely strike but the visitors rallied well to gain a share of the spoils.
The sides could not be separated back in Round 5, at Suncorp, as Josh Brillante’s contender for goal of the season was cancelled out by an equally impressive strike by Thomas Kirstensen. Aside from a 4-0 win over Adelaide United, a fortnight ago, Brisbane has failed to convince in recent months. The hosts will be looking to cap off what has been a record breaking second half of the year, following two consecutive draws at The Allianz.
Nick’s tip: No tip
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City
7:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
Unless the Mariners get busy in the January transfer window, they are almost certain to retain the wooden spoon from last season. Paul Okon cut a crest fallen figure on the sidelines at AAMI Park as his side produced an abject performance in the 4-1 defeat to Melbourne Victory. Several players seemed to throw in the proverbial white towel with Trent Buhagiar’s late consolation providing the only positive. Melbourne City themselves are in a bit of a hole, winless since their FFA Cup triumph in late October. Gun forward, Bruno Fornaroli, will have spent many a sleepless night in the lead up to this match after having 2 penalties saved by Liam Reddy. The 3-3 draw against the Glory was the latest in a string of average results for City, a side that looks to be rapidly slipping out of the title race.
All the pressure is on the visitors as they look to remain within touching distance of a top two spot. City hope to welcome back no nonsense centre-back, Michael Jacobsen, whose presence has been greatly missed in recent outings. With a day less rest and a difficult run out against Victory in scorching temperatures, Central Coast are likely to make several changes. Everything points to a comfortable away win.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne City -1ah @1.77 (Pinnacle Sports)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
7:50 PM AEDT, ANZ Stadium
The Wanderers have a perfect chance to notch up a much needed win as they face battle and travel weary Perth Glory. Western Sydney have won just twice all season while they have drawn 7 of their last 10, including last week’s 1-1 draw in Brisbane. Cometh the hour, cometh the man as club captain Dimas earned the Wanderers’ a deserving point with a beautifully executed free kick. Despite the short turnaround leading into this game, Perth will be feeling energized after their pulsating 3-3 draw at Melbourne City. On his return to the starting line-up, Diego Castro bagged a brace while Liam Reddy continued his sparkling form between the sticks as he denied Fornaroli not once but twice from the penalty spot.
The atmosphere at ANZ Stadium is bound to be at fever pitch as RBB and co. welcome in the new year. The Wanderers will be aiming to tweak their forward line, be it personnel or tactics, as they look to turn draws into wins. Perhaps the signing of former Sydney FC midfielder, Terry Antonis, will offer the spark that’s required with the 23 year old signing on the dotted line this week. Both sides are deprived of players serving suspension with Santalab (of the Wanderers) and Djulbic (Glory) out for three matches for their respective misdemeanors.
Nick’s tip: Western Sydney -0.5ah @1.8 (Sportsbet)
Wellington Phoenix v Adelaide United
5:35 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
Perhaps the two biggest underachieving sides in the A-League, the Nix and Reds will be hoping to register more frequently in the win column, in 2017. Sitting rock bottom on six points and with other clubs circling around their un-contracted players, Adelaide United are in a whole world of hurt right now. The 4-0 defeat to Sydney FC was a result of another second half collapse by the Reds who have now conceded 10 and scored just once in their last three outings. Wellington’s upturn in form since Ernie Merrick’s resignation continued with a respectable 2-2 draw at Newcastle. Kostas Barbarouses and Roy Krishna continue to thrive under the new regime while a slightly more pragmatic tactical approach is serving the Nix well, so far.
Despite Wellington coming into this on the back of some positive results, Adelaide United will be quietly confident of returning with something tangible from Westpac Stadium. The Reds hold an edge in recent H2H meetings which includes a 2-0 win at Hindmarsh earlier this month.
Nick’s tip: Wellington 0ah @1.74 (SBOBET)
Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets
7:50 PM AEDT, Simonds Stadium
Victory look like the only side that can challenge Sydney FC for the title, lying 7 points arrears but with a game in hand. It’s important that Kevin Muscat’s men stay on the coattails of the leaders, at least until they meet the Sky Blues in late January. On Wednesday, Victory made easy work of the Mariners with the match wrapped up inside the hour mark. After a scratchy first half, Marco Rojas put the game beyond doubt with two goals in quick succession to seal a 4-1 win. The Jets look to be the surprise packet of season 16/17 as they climbed to fifth following their 2-2 draw with Wellington. The Jets will feel that it was two points dropped, such is their progress under the tutelage of Mark Jones.
If there was every going to be an upset on Matchday 13 then look no further than this game. The Jets have an extra two days to prepare for this game while the match will be played at a neutral venue, Simonds Stadium in Geelong. The visitors will be sweating on the fitness of captain Nigel Boogard who was substituted during Monday’s clash against the Nix. Victory were 2-0 victors when these sides last met in November, against a depleted Newcastle outfit. We can expect a tougher contest this time round.
Nick’s tip: Newcastle Jets +1.75ah @1.61 (UniBet)