The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2016/17 A-League season.
Melbourne City v Central Coast Mariners
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
Melbourne City welcome back Neil Kilkenny from suspension. The English-born Aussie has been a revelation since his move from the UK with his tigerish tackling and excellent distribution from deep.
Kilkenny’s availability may prompt Valkanis to go three at the back with Rose playing in a more advanced position.
Central Coast have promoted forward Josh Bingham for their trip to Melbourne.
Sitting bottom, level on points with Adelaide United, Paul Okon may alter his tactical approach in an attempt to get more support up to Roy O’Donovan.
City’s away-day blues continued in Adelaide last week despite Bruno Fornaroli’s early strike. City can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken something from the game, especially after Nicolas Colazo’s goal was incorrectly disallowed for offside just before half-time.
The Mariners look to be destined for another wooden spoon this season following a rather limp 1-0 loss in Wellington. Paul Okon’s outfit rarely threatened going forward while they didn’t look too solid at the back either with Liam Rose playing as a makeshift centre-half.
Nick’s tip: Melbourne City -1.25ah @1.81 (Pinnacle Sports)
Sydney FC v Adelaide United
7:50 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium
Table-topping Sydney FC welcome back Josh Brillante from suspension. He is likely to be reinstated to the starting XI with Brandon O’Neill dropping to the bench.
New Dutch signing, Jordy Buijs, will need to wait until Matchday 17 to make his debut following his move from Romanian outfit CS Pandurii. Aaron Calver looks certain to continue alongside Alex Wilkinson, in the centre of defense, following a solid performance in the Sydney derby.
Adelaide United are boosted by the return of Iacopo La Rocca and Tarek Elrich, the latter returning from suspension.
Guillermo Amor will make at least one enforced change as James Holland has left the club for China.
Sydney FC face a tricky encounter after a tense scoreless draw in the Sydney derby. The Sky Blues were lucky not to go behind in the first half after Michael Zullo clearly handled inside the penalty area. In the end, the draw was probably a fair result but the home side will be looking for maximum points here after Victory’s slip up during the week.
In just their second win all season, Adelaide United will travel to Sydney in a buoyant mood. It will be interesting to see how Amor sets up his side after some eye-opening omissions in last week’s 2-1 win over Melbourne City, namely Sergei Guardiola and Marcelo Carrusca.
Nick’s tip: No tip.
Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
5:35 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
The Nix are at full strength with Adam Parkhouse joining the extended squad to take on Brisbane.
Des Buckingham may opt for changes despite two wins on the bounce as his side embarks on their third match in a week.
Jamie MacLaren looks set to be named in Brisbane’s starting line-up after he was surprisingly left out for Arana in the game at Melbourne Victory.
Thomas Broich may also earn a recall after Brandon Borrello failed to make much of an impression in the 3-2 defeat at AAMI Park.
In what was one of the surprise results of the season thus far, Wellington turned over title-chasing Melbourne Victory to the tune of 3-0, on Tuesday evening. In a performance full of vim and vigor, the Nix showed what they really can produce when they are up for it. A win here can lift Wellington above their opponents into fourth on the table.
Brisbane were made to pay for their extremely poor start in Melbourne, where they conceded three inside the half hour mark. A world class strike by Dimi Petratos did cause a momentum shift but the deficit proved too much to pull back, even against 10 men, as Victory dug their heels in.
Nick’s tip: Over 2.25 goals @1.53 (Pinnacle Sports)
Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory
8:00 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
Perth’s lack of discipline has again reared its ugly head as Kenny Lowe is forced to make do without club captain Rostyn Griffiths following his sending off against Newcastle.
Alex Grant is also out for up to a month after Jets keeper Jack Duncan inadvertently landed on his outstretched foot. It will be interesting to see who takes his place with Dino Djulbic back from suspension and Rhys Williams available for selection after his failed move to Sydney FC.
Melbourne Victory will aim to resurrect their title challenge out West without the services of suspended duo Jason Geria and Fahid Ben Khalfallah.
In addition to changing a side that has picked itself in recent weeks, Kevin Muscat must factor in tired legs (Victory playing their third match in 8 days) as well as all the travel.
Perth’s battle for a Top 6 spot will most likely go to the last game, such is the closeness between most of the sides in this competition. The 2-2 draw at Newcastle, Glory’s fourth consecutive stalemate on the road, was a frustrating one for Kenny Lowe as his side managed to hit the woodwork numerous times while they didn’t get the rub of the green from the officials.
Perhaps Melbourne Victory did not give Wellington the respect they deserved as their re-scheduled midweek game (from Matchday 7) was considered a guaranteed 3 points by their fans and pundits alike. As a result, their six match winning streak came to a crashing end while the gap between themselves and Sydney FC remains at 5 points.
Nick’s tip: Over 3 goals @1.85 (Pinnacle Sports)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
5:00 PM AEDT, Campelltown Stadium
The return from suspension of top goalscorer Brendan Santalab couldn’t of come soon enough for Western Sydney. The undisputed bad boy of the A-League is set to lead the line in place of youngster Lachlan Scott.
Terry Antonis will be chomping at the bit to make his debut for his new club as he continues to work hard on his fitness.
Newcastle Jets captain Wayne Brown was a late exclusion last week following a calf complaint in the warm-up. The Englishman should be right to go this week.
In-form winger Andrew Hoole misses out after picking up his fifth caution for the season against Perth.
Western Sydney gave as good as they got in the Sydney derby which would of pleased manager Tony Popovic. New keeper Vedran Janjetovic was an assured presence at the back, in spite of all the boo boys inside the SFS, while forward Josh Sotirio continues to look more threatening in attack. Popa will be hoping the addition of Santalab is the final jigsaw to a winning formula, looking ahead towards the run in.
Scott Miller will know that his Jets must do better after a rather fortunate 2-2 draw against Perth. His side never really got going until referee Stephen Lucas pointed to the spot for a questionable foul on Morten Nordstrand. The game could of gone either way following the break.
Nick’s tip: Western Sydney -0.5ah @1.83 (Pinnacle Sports)