The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2016/17 A-League season.
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
9:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Perth’s set-piece master , Nebo Marinkovic, is in contention for a starting berth after Brandon Wilson picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Western Sydney.
Glory gaffer, Kenny Lowe, may opt to ring further changes after his side’s two-game road trip and third fixture in 9 days.
Shane Smeltz, one of the A-League’s top marksman, is in line for some action against his former club. The German born New Zealander returns to the Nix for a second stint at the club, 10 years after first donning the black and yellow stripes.
Vince Lia sits out after accumulating his fifth caution of the season against Adelaide United. Alex Rodriguez is likely to fill in for the in-form veteran.
Perth seem to have stopped the rot with some decent performances over the festive period. Diego Castro’s return from injury has really galvanized the Glory but they will be looking to turn draws into wins, especially at NIB Stadium.
Wellington are on a 4 match undefeated streak but were involved in a rather drab scoreless draw against bottom club Adelaide United, on New Year’s Day. Will need to do better against a Glory outfit that has found their focus again.
Nick’s tip: Perth -0.25ah @1.83 (Pinnacle Sports)
Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
It’s the beginning of a new era at Melbourne City following the midweek resignation of manager, John van’t Schip. The Dutchman spent the better part of 7 years (over two stints) in Melbourne, leading the club to its first piece of silverware back in October.
Melbourne City are banking on the return of Michael Jacobsen from the treatment table while Fernando Brandan serves the final game of his two match suspension.
Former Sydney FC duo, Verdran Janjetovic and Terry Antonis, signed on the dotted line for the Wanderers in midweek. The former will definitely make his full debut while right back Scott Neville returns after missing last week against Perth.
Club captain, Dimas, joins Brendan Santalab on the sidelines as he serves a one match suspension.
Michael Valkanis, former assistant to now departed John van Schip, takes over the reigns as interim manager at City. The former South Melbourne and Adelaide United man will be looking to rekindle the form the side showed leading up to their FFA Cup triumph.
Draw specialists Western Sydney will be better for the reassuring presence of Janjetovic in goals. It’s been a while since the former Sydney FC gloveman last started a competitive game of football. His match sharpness may be questionable.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne City -0.25ah @1.68 (Pinnacle Sports)
Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets
5:35 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
Aside from long-term absentee Brett Holman, Brisbane are at full strength.
John Aloisi will be aiming to get more service up to Jamie MacLaren. The striker was completely nullified in the defeat to Sydney FC, last time out.
Newcastle receive a huge boost as captain Nigel Boogard returns from injury. Devante Clut is also included in the matchday squad after he was completely left out for Monday’s trip to Melbourne Victory.
Ivan Vujica is out for up to 6 weeks after a hamstring tear. Nick Cowburn is expected to deputize in the left back position.
Brisbane will be looking to kickstart the new year with a win. The Roar’s recent form of just 2 wins in 8 outings does not make for good reading. Perhaps last week’s 2-0 defeat to Sydney will awake them from their slumber.
Mark Jones continues to do a fine job at Newcastle despite a rather average team roster. His side were dealt a rough hand by referee Chris Beath, in the 4-2 defeat to Melbourne Victory. Finnish striker, Aleksandr Kokko returns to the side but it’s difficult to see him making much of an impression on a solid Roar rearguard.
Nick’s tip: Brisbane Roar -0.75ah @1.78 (SBOBET)
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
7:30 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United can recall the services of Marcelo Carrusca after the Argentine missed the trip to Wellington on New Year’s Day. Despite being substituted against the Nix with what looked like a knee injury, Sergi Guardiola has received the green light from the physios.
Iacopo is the only notable absentee with the Italian due to miss out consecutive games due to a hip complaint. Short-term signing, Taylor Regan, will deputize in his absence.
If it ain’t broke why fix it? Kevin Muscat may opt for the same starting XI for three games running.
Daniel Georgievski is pushing for a recall but may need to settle for a place on the pine with Leigh Broxham in solid form.
In what is one of the traditional A-League rivalries, perhaps one might say that we should throw out the formbook. Adelaide United are advantaged by the extra day recovery but perhaps it’s negated somewhat following the long haul from NZ.
Melbourne Victory visibly tired towards the closing stages of that rather flattering 4-2 win over the Jets, on Tuesday.
Nick’s tip: Adelaide United +0.5ah @1.81 (SBOBET)
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
5:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
Central Coast will have the daunting task of taking on the league leaders so they need all the defensive solidarity at their disposal. Storm Roux returns from injury to bolster the backline.
With Jacques Faty succumbing to a hamstring strain early on against Melbourne City, Ascroft will partner McGing in the centre of defense.
The Sky Blues will look to absorb the loss of lanky centre-back Matt Jurman who was released in midweek to pursue a career in Asia. Captain, Alex Brosque, serves a one-match suspension after his sending off against Brisbane.
Sebastian Ryall is certain to profit with more playing time following Jurman’s departure. George Blackwood, Bernie Ibini and forgotten man David Carney are all vying to deputize for the bearded Brosque.
Central Coast will be hoping to provide more cheer for their fans after what was an exciting 2-2 draw against Melbourne City, on New Year’s Eve. Trent Buhagiar will aim to continue his good recent form of 2 goals and an assist in his last two outings.
Arnie’s perfect winning formula has been fractured somewhat with one of his stalwart defenders departing and Brosque suspended. Sydney FC though are blessed with quality throughout their squad. They should continue their winning form but not without a scare or two along the way.
Nick’s tip: Over 3 goals @1.72 (SBOBET)