The following are previews with betting tips for Round 15 of the 2016/17 A-League season.
Adelaide United v Melbourne City
7:50 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
Adelaide duo, Iacopo La Rocca and Marcelo Carrusca, are back in contention following their return to fitness. Michael Marrone made a long-awaited return to first team football with a six minute cameo against Melbourne Victory, but is unlikely to fill in for suspended Tarek Elrich.
Melbourne City welcome back the rat-tailed one, Fernando Brandan, after serving his three match suspension.
In a blow to the visitors hopes of recording their third away win for the season, Neil Kilkenny serves a one match suspension after picking up his fifth caution against Western Sydney.
Adelaide United’s struggles in front of goal continued in the 2-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory. Bottom of the table Reds have scored just once in their last 5 outings.
Melbourne City made hard work of 10-man Western Sydney but Ivan Franjic’s crafty first half volley was enough to seal the three points. In his first game as interim manager, Michael Valkanis would of been satisfied with the cohesive display and the clean sheet, just the second for the season.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne City 0ah @1.63 (Pinnacle Sports)
Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory are sweating on the fitness of star man Marco Rojas. The Kiwi was on the receiving end of a crude challenge by Adelaide’s Ben Garuccio. Nick Ansell is expected to be given his first start since late November following the suspension of impressive Spaniard Alan Baro.
Aside from the one enforced change at the back and the question mark hanging over Rojas, it is unlikely that Kevin Muscat will make wholesale changes to a side gunning for their sixth straight win.
Brisbane manager John Aloisi may opt to tweak his side following the disappointing defeat to Newcastle, their second on the bounce.
The chatter surrounding the future of Aloisi and star striker Jamie MacLaren, in particular, seems to be having a negative effect on the team’s performances.
Victory will be happy for the 6 day break following a grueling schedule over the Christmas/New Year period. The 2-0 win over Adelaide United was a bruising encounter but confidence is sky high at the moment with midfielder James Troisi leading the way.
Brisbane were punished for their lack of urgency in the 3-2 defeat to Newcastle. Andrew Hoole’s equalizer on the stroke of half-time was a hammer blow, one which Roar failed to recover from.
Undefeated in their last 4 against Victory so perhaps they can pull off a result at AAMI Park.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne Victory -0.5ah @1.72 (SBOBET)
Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
5:35 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
The Nix will aim to stretch a run of 4 homes games without defeat. Gui Finkler and Vince Lia are available and expected to slot straight back into the Starting XI. Fit again Michael McGlinchey will be hoping for some minutes after been out of action since early November.
Leading striker Roy Krishna serves a one match suspension following a studs up challenge on Perth’s Shane Lowry. Kostas Barbarouses may play a more central role.
Michael Tavares is in line for a recall to Central Coast’s back four. Paul Okon could do with his experience right now, especially with the Mariners holding the worst defensive record in the league.
Connor Pain’s impressive showing against Sydney FC may be enough to give him the nod over Trent Buhagiar.
Wellington only had themselves to blame after relinquishing total control against Perth, eventually losing 2-1. The Nix were rampant for most of the first half and it looked like a case of ‘how many’ when Krishna opened the scoring inside quarter of an hour. Des Buckingham and his chargers will not get a better chance to bounce back against a Mariners outfit they swept aside 3-0, just over a month ago.
Equally so, the Mariners will feel they deserved something tangible from their 3-2 defeat to the Sky Blues. Connor Pain was the catalyst for Central Coast’s impressive late surge that brought his side level on 76 minutes, only to concede a minute later through a goal that had a hint of offside about it.
Nick’s tip: Wellington 1X2 @1.56 (Pinnacle)
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
For the first time this season, Sydney FC are in somewhat of a mini-crisis. The league leaders are in a mad rush for a quality centre-back, their urgency heightened by last week’s serious hamstring injury to Sebastian Ryall.
In more bad news, combative midfielder Josh Brillante serves a one match suspension. The silver lining is that club captain Alex Brosque returns to spearhead the attack.
Western Sydney are hoping that a little inside info will give them the winning edge. Recent signings and ex Sky Blues, Janjetovic and Antonis, are set to face their old club since their move.
The Wanderers are boosted by the return of Dimas and Scott Neville while Robbie Cornthwaite will deputize for suspended Spaniard, Aritz Borda. Brendan Santalab sits out the final game of his 3 match suspension.
It has been just over 3 years since Sydney lost a local derby. Going on last week’s rather fortunate 3-2 win over the Mariners, Graham Arnold will be expecting more from his side in a game of such importance. The Sky Blues know they can’t let their standards slip with in-form Melbourne Victory looming large.
With a shortage of strikers available, it is highly questionable as to whether Western Sydney can take advantage of their opponent’s apparent weakness at the back. A lot will depend on little Argentine Nico Martinez and his ability to produce something out of nothing while Cornthwaite’s lack of match sharpness is sure to be put under the spotlight.
Nick’s tip: Sydney FC -0.75ah @1.91 (SBOBET)
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
5:00 PM AEDT, Hunter Stadium
Buoyed by their win away to Brisbane, Newcastle are likely to remain unchanged despite the availability of striker Aleksandr Kokko.
The Jets have scored at an average of over 2 goals a game in their last five outings.
Perth welcome back midfielder Brandon Wilson from suspension. The youngster will most definitely replace Milan Smiljanic to resume his partnership with Rostyn Griffiths in the ‘engine room’ of the Glory.
Dino Djulbic sits out the final game of his suspension.
Newcastle’s stock continues to grow after a fine 3-2 win at Suncorp Stadium. Andrew Hoole’s cracker just before the break was perhaps the turning point as the young Jets grew in confidence as the match wore on. Sitting just one point and one place behind fifth-placed Perth, this match has ‘proverbial six pointer’ written all over it.
Despite playing against 10 men for a third of the game, Perth limped to a 2-1 win over Wellington. Glory were very fortunate to go into the break on level terms after a 25 yard pile driver by Rostyn Griffiths. Defensively, the Glory looked weak (especially Alex Grant) and this could be their undoing in their quest for three points.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.75 gls @1.76 (SBOBET)