The following are previews with betting tips for Round 12 of the 2017/18 A-League season.
Thursday, December 21
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
7:50 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
Recent Games: The winning side from the past six matches these sides have played each-other in have always had to score at least two goals to do so. The last one played between these teams ended up in a comfortable 3-1 win to Perth. That match was headed to a 1-all draw before some magic in the 67th and 76th minutes of the game saw the Glory score twice through Andy Keogh and Rostyn Griffiths to seal an un-likely victory.
Can Brisbane rebound from last rounds loss or will it be the Glory who claim the victory and in the process win back to back games for the first time this season?
What Happened Last Round: A 6th strike of the season from Massimo Maccarone wasn’t good enough for the Roar as they fell 2-1 to the Victory. In a telling stat from the game, of Brisbane’s 12 shots, only 2 of them managed to be on target. While their opponents on the other hand, had 3x those amount of shots be on target. Melbourne’s defence also contributed strongly to Brisbane losing the game as they blocked 3 of the Roar’s shots. However in a small positive for the Roar, they did manage to hold the ball more than their opposition (54% possession). The result left them in 2nd last place, generally somewhere where one of the most successful Football clubs in Australia would not like to find themselves in. The Glory on the other hand avenged their recent 5-2 loss to Wellington by beating them 1-0. The only goal of the match came through Diego Castro in the 59th minute. That goal also came through what was their only on target shot of the match form 4 attempts. While their opponents were dominant in that regard with 10, however Perth stayed strong. They also blocked 2 of the Phoenix’s shots. Perth are now in the Top Six and only a point of 4th placed Adelaide.
What Should Happen: A pretty boring game, with no disrespect to either side. Excluding their match against WSW (as those sorts of dominating wins seem to be a huge rarity for them this season), the Roar have scored only 2 goals from their past 3 games. This while Perth have been equally as bad scoring only 2 from 3 as well. Both teams main attacking threats are either inconsistent and can only find the back of the net sometimes (Maccarone) or haven’t played a whole heap this season and haven’t produced a whole lot of notable stats (Keogh; 2 goals form 8 games and Castro; 1 goal from 8 games). Don’t worry if you choose not to turn on the TV for this one.
Betting tip: Pick the draw at $3.60 (Sportsbet)
Choose the goals bracket for the match to be 2-3 at $2.10 (MadBookie)
Friday, December 22
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, McDonald Jones Stadium
Recent Games: The Wanderers have a dominating history over the Jets, winning 5 of their past 7 matches against them (with the other 2 games being draws). Captain Robert Cornthwaite has scored twice from his past 2 matches against Newcastle, while similarly Jaushua Sotirio has done so twice as well from his past 3 games against the Novocastrian’s.
Given Western Sydney’s relative attacking struggles so far this campaign, will either of these men find the back of the net once again against Newcastle? This in order to help their side claim just their 3rd victory of the season.
What Happened Last Round: VAR controversy is what heavily affected both of these matches in yet another blow for the form of relatively new Footballing technology. For Newcastle it gave them the late penalty that saw them claim a very dubious 2-1 win over Adelaide. The replays show that the ball clearly did not hit the arm of Ryan Strain despite the decision being called otherwise. Dimitri Petratos then cooley stepped up to convert from the spot and keep his team in 2nd place and fighting for 1st. While for the Wanderers the decisions from the VAR also benefited them, despite both of them appearing to be wrong. Mariners duo Wout Brama and Jake McGing had their second half yellows upgraded to reds upon the VAR review. These controversial decisions have put a massive blight on what was otherwise a decent game and a strong 2-0 Western Sydney victory. As a result of their win, the Wanderers are now only 2 points out of the Top Six.
What Should Happen: A closely contested match. Despite the Wanderers recent results against Newcastle, this is a changed side. It’s not the diabolical one from last campaign or the same ones that haven’t been to the finals in forever. It’s one that’s playing with strong confidence and good leadership under head-coach Ernie Merrick. It’s a team that plays for each other and is the 2nd best in the country at the moment. While they face a WSW side who are coming of only their 2nd win of the season, but the dominant fashion in which they did it should again show against the Jets. Expect it to be a tough and somewhat rough game with the end result being a draw.
Pick the Wanderers to score first at $2.37 (Bet365)
Saturday, December 23
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
5:35 PM AEDT, Westpac Stadium
Recent Games: These two sides met in their opening game for the season, and boy oh boy did it produce a thriller at Allianz Stadium. The Sky Blues struck first through Bobo in the 29th minute and then again only five minutes later via Michael Zullo. Kaluderovic then got one back for the Phoenix on the stroke of half-time before only minutes later (49th) Bobo got his 2nd for the match. While Dario Vidosic found the back of the net in the 60th minute to make it a nervy finish for the home side.
Will Wellington get the win in order to start their journey of the bottom of the table, or will the Sky Blues claim their 6th consecutive victory?
What Happened Last Round: For Wellington they remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder after a 1-0 loss to Perth. The only strike of the match came via Diego Castro in the 59th minute. However it was poor finishing that meant that the Phoenix couldn’t at least claim a point as they took 10 shots in total, six more than their opponents. However in a notable stat from the match, only 1 of Wellington’s shots were on target, displaying how poor they actually were when they had their chances. As for the Sky Blues, again it was the VAR dominating their match in their game against Melbourne City. However most of what was reviewed, was actually gotten right in what seems to be a pretty rare occurrence during the game sadly. Bobo should have been sent of from his little nudging kick on the opposition, but the decision to award Sydney a penalty and Manny Muscat a red card were both right. City opened the scoring through Luke Brattan, before Mierzejewski, Bobo and Brosque strikes sealed the deal for the 1st place Sky Blues.
What Should Happen: A comprehensive Sky Blues victory. It’s 1st vs last on the ladder. Sydney have 22 more points than Wellington only 11 games into the season and have a goal difference of 14, while Wellington’s is a very poor -7. They have also beaten the Phoenix in 3 of their past 4 matches against them (with the other being a draw). While just from their past 2 matches, Sydney have won 8-1 while the Phoenix couldn’t put a single goal past Brisbane and lost to the ever inconsistent Glory. This score very realistically could be worse than their 5-0 thrashing of Western Sydney two rounds ago.
Betting tip: Pick the Sky Blues to win at $1.62 (Sportsbet)
Pick at least one team not to score (cough, cough, Wellington) at $2.28 (UNIBET)
Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
Recent Games: The past 4 games have been split between these two sides, with City winning 2 and the Victory also winning 2. The most recent match however saw the ‘Sky Blue’ side of Melbourne come out on top with a 2-1 victory. Budzinski struck first for City in the 48th minute before in the 55th minute things were even again via a Leroy George strike. It was short-lived for the Victory however as in the 64th minute Bruce Kamau sealed the deal with a goal of his own.
Will the Victory help to relive the pressure on head-coach Kevin Muscat and claim the win and in the process go only a win behind City, or will Warren Joyce’s men continue to build on what has been a pretty good season overall so far?
What Happened Last Round: City struck 1st against Sydney away from home via Luke Brattan in the 37th minute and absolutely dominated the first half. Unfortunately for them 2 goals in the space of 2 minutes for Sydney just before half-time meant that they were down 2-1. A Manny Muscat red in the 70th minute didn’t help their cause either. Although they could feel hard done by that their opposition weren’t down to 10 men either after nothing was done about Bobo’s kick on his opposing man that should’ve been a red card as well. An Alex Brosque goal with literally the final play of the game saw them lose a game that was theirs for the taking and would’ve sent a massive message to the rest of the league about their championship ambitions, but it wasn’t to be. As for the Victory, they came away with a 2-1 victory over Brisbane. It was 2 early strikes through Rhys Williams and Kosta Barbarouses that saw them get the tight win. They kept the Roar to only 2 shots on target for the entire game as well as blocking 3 of their shots. While the Victory themselves didn’t have a bad night in front of goal with 6 of their 14 shots being on target. City as a result of their game remain in 3rd place while the Victory are quickly catching up to them from 5th position.
What Should Happen: A fiery derby as always. Luke Brattan is never one to back down while Scott Jamieson showed a little bit of that fighting instinct last round against Sydney as well. While for the Victory, if play does come to shove, then expect Berisha to be heavily involved as well. However given City’s desperate pursuit of 1st place and the Victory trying to catch up to City, expect a highly entertaining affair as well. Everything that a derby should be. Whether Bouzanis or Galekovic start in goal for City will also play a part in dictating the result.
Pick the 2nd half to be the one with the most goals at $2.00 (William Hill)
Tuesday, December 26
Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners
7:50 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
Recent Games: When these two sides met back in Round 7 of this season, it produced one of the games of the campaign, 110%. Wout Brama opened the scoring with a penalty for the Mariner late in the first half. While later on in the second, Daniel Adlung evened things back up. Then it was down to Ryan Kitto who with one of the final plays of the game scored of a Mark Ochieng assist to claim a huge victory for Adelaide in tense and enthralling circumstances. Combined the 2 clubs took 33 shots while Adelaide had a shot come of the woodwork. Combined the 2 sides also had 6 shots blocked by the opposition.
Will Superman aka Ryan Kitto deliver his side a win again or will it be the men from Gosford who take charge and claim a victory?
What Happened Last Round: The VAR screwed Adelaide over, it’s as simple as that. It was adjudicated that Ryan Strain committed a handball offence in the box, when replays clearly showed however that he did not. It didn’t matter however as Petratos stepped up and converted the penalty, handing Adelaide a very hard to take 2-1 loss. Adelaide’s only goal of the game came through George Blackwood, his 2nd in 2 games. Adelaide also had 11 shots in total as well as 57% possession but couldn’t convert on what they had and were given. They also had a massive 4 of their shots blocked by the opposition. Despite the loss, Adelaide still sit in 4th position, but every team from 5th through to 8th are anyway from only 1 to 3 points behind them. The Mariners were also very hard done by courtesy of the VAR. In their 2-0 loss to the Wanderers both Wout Brama and Jake McGing had their second half yellows upgraded to reds despite both of them appearing to be less than deserving of being sent of. The Mariners had only 36% possession, something that affected their ability to play well during the game.
What Should Happen: Another superb George Blackwood performance. For Sydney before he left he scored only once in 19 games, a pretty shocking return for a striker. However he has now scored in back to back matches for Adelaide and his confidence will be at an all time high. Given at the worst of times this season Adelaide have struggled to find the back of the net, how he performs against a Mariners side desperate to rebound from their last-start 2-0 loss against the Wanderers will go a long way to determining the result of the match. Even if he doesn’t score, look for him to have a big impact on the game.
Betting tip: Pick the Mariners to cause an upset and claim the win at $3.70 (UniBet)
Pick 4+ goals to be scored during the match at $2.75 (Ladbrokes)
Best Bet of the Round
Pick the CCM to beat Adelaide by a score-line of 3-1 at $34 (SBOBET)
Pick City to beat Victory at $2.50 (SBOBET)