The following are previews with betting tips for Round 25 of the 2017/18 A-League season.
Thursday, March 29
Perth Glory v Sydney FC
9:30 PM AEDT, nib Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: The Glory survived for yet another round after they beat the Victory 1-nil. While for the Sky Blues they escaped from coach Graham Arnold’s former home in Gosford with a tightly contested 2-1 win. Perth’s sole goal came through Andy Keogh just before HT in the 43rd minute after he notched only his 6th strike of the campaign. What’s impressive from this victory is the fact that Perth won it with only 35% of the ball as well as having done so while giving away 12 fouls. The victory now only sees them one point out of a finals position. This is something that earlier in the season (when people were calling for Kenny Lowe to be sacked), would have been un-imaginable. But now for the Glory, playing Finals Football is a real possibility. For the opposition Matt Simon was the hero as a 93rd minute winner against his former team sealed the result for the struggling league leaders. Milos Ninkovic was the other goal-scorer for Sydney with his 6th of the season. Despite struggling to beat one of the A-Leagues cellar dwellers, some positives for Sydney from this game was their 59% possession, along with their 86% passing accuracy. While they could have had more if it wasn’t for a brilliant Ben Kennedy save on an oncoming Bobo attempt.
What Should Happen: Whatever script was written for the A-League this campaign, the Glory are having none of it. Now that they basically have a fully healthy squad, Perth is starting to show the rest of the league what they’re made of as evident through their recent wins (3 from their past 4 games). However the play that is Australian Football’s major domestic competition should get right back on track when the Glory succumb to their recent history against FC. Sydney thrashed the Glory in their last game against them 6-0. While they have been victorious in their past 8 games playing them for an aggregate score of 30 goals to 2!!! The Glory should put up a bit of a fight in this one, but expect Sydney to come out on top as they normally do.
Also pick them to score first at $1.62 (CrownBet)
Friday, March 30
Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
7:50 PM AEDT, Coopers Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: Both sides this past round got very good results. For Adelaide they put Newcastle to the sword, winning 5-2. While Wellington in just their 2nd game under Chris Greenacre denied Brisbane a vital 3 points and drew 2-all. Adelaide are now well within a finals spot after Daniel Adlung (twice), Ryan Kitto, Absalonsen and Cavusevic all found the back of the net in the home rout. While the match was made a bit easier for them as in the 78th minute Jason Hoffman saw red. United had less ball than their opponents as well as more shots of target, but still channeled everything they had into getting the commanding win. Which in turn placed Marco Kurz’s men only 2 points of a spot in the Top 4 (chasing the Victory). Among the many positives for United was the fact that they manage to break the Jets defence countless times and as a result fire of 17 shots. For the Phoenix after their 2-all draw with Brisbane, they are only a win of last place. Brett Holman took the lead for Brisbane in the 50th minute, however in the 53rd minute things were even again after a 10th Kaluderovic goal of the season. Then in the 64th minute a Logan Rogerson strike saw Wellington in front for the first time in the game. However it was short-lived as a goal to Kristensen in the 68th minute saw the result be what it was. Wellington again highlighted their offensive fluency attempting 20 shots, but they also highlighted their very real and problematic lack of finishing with only 5 of them going on target. This game was one that was very easy on the eyes, but one that also didn’t have much of a defensive tendency to it.
What Should Happen: A high-scoring affair. Adelaide won their last game by putting 5 past the oppositions goals, but they also leaked in 2 themselves. While the Phoenix managed to put 2 past a resurgent Brisbane side that before that match had only conceded 1 goal in their past two games. While in Round 23, 4 of Adelaide’s 7 shots were on target while the Phoenix attempted a massive 23 shots. Adlung and Kaluderovic should be among the threats in this match that make the game one filled with goals.
Also pick them to score first at $1.44 (CrownBet)
Saturday, March 31
Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
5:35 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: Brisbane suffered a damaging 2-all draw vs Wellington. While the Mariners were unlucky themselves not to claim a draw against Sydney in their 2-1 loss. Both Brett Holman and Thomas Kristensen got on the score-sheet for the away side, but it wasn’t enough as they lost to the last-placed team and as a result are now a point of the Wanderers for 6th spot and ahead of the Glory on only goal-difference. This is compared to if they had won, they would be a point ahead of the Wanderers for the final finals position as well as two ahead of the closely chasing Glory. The Roar dominated the ball (56%), had a great passing accuracy (83%) and gave away less fouls than Wellington. This makes it somewhat concerning that they couldn’t claim the victory. However recent rumours circulating that John Aloisi had contacted Sydney about their vacant head-coaching position probably didn’t help Brisbane’s cause much. For the Central Coast, if it wasn’t for an injury time winner to the Wizard of Woy Woy (Matty Simon), it would’ve ended as a 1-all draw, which would have in all honesty been a fair result for either side. The Mariners sole goal-scorer was Jake McGing in the 82nd minute. The Mariners completed 353 of their 451 attempted passes against Sydney which is a huge positive to take from their heart-breaking defeat. In their first match without Paul Okon, they played extremely well and did their small yet passionate fan-base proud.
What Should Happen: Brisbane’s finals hopes being kept alive and flickering. As mentioned earlier, it wasn’t exactly great for them that they drew with the bottom-placed Phoenix. However in this round they now come up against the second worst team in the competition in the form of the Mariners. A side that has won only 4 games all season and none of their past 3. The aggregate score of those 3 games has been 10-4 in favour of the opposition. John Aloisi’s men will know now all to well that they can’t afford to drop another 3 points against a lowly ranked side. And as a result of this, you can expect Brisbane to chalk up a fairly easy win over a side that has nothing left to play for in the current season.
Betting tip: Pick Brisbane to be victorious at $1.61 (William Hill)
Also pick the Roar to be the only team to score at $2.17 (UniBet) (Bet is for at least one team not to score)
Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
What’s Happened Most Recently: Neither side got what they wanted over the past weekend as the Victory went down 1-0 to Perth and in the process dropped out of the Top 3. While the Wanderers are now very close to being out of a finals position entirely after Melbourne City beat them with ease to the tune of a 3-0 score-line. This was the first time in 5 games that Melbourne had been kept scoreless. While it was the first time in 8 for the Wanderers. Ironically that last time was against the Victory themselves in a 3-0 defeat back in Round 17. The Victory’s shooting was a major sore point for them in this game as they managed only 3 shots on target for the entire match. This despite their 12 attempts making that number even worse. While they also let the Glory win more aerial duels than them, 13 vs 17. However Melbourne’s passing accuracy was good at 81%. However despite the loss, it would be tough to judge the Victory alone on this as it was their first from their past four A-League matches. For the Wanderers they absolutely stunk as City pumped them and in the process enhanced their own ladder position. The opposition as well as they played, it was the Wanderers really giving them the result. In front of a disappointing crowd in Melbourne the Wanderers shot not a single attempt at goal the entire match, while they also gave away a massive 17 fouls. To put that into a bit of context Melbourne gave away only 12, while Sydney gave away only 10 vs the Mariners in their game. To summarise the effort, it was a dreadful performance from the Red & Black and one that needs to be forgotten quickly.
What Should Happen: A strong bounce-back performance from both sides. One side may only come out with the win, but that shouldn’t be the entire focus if they are able to perform well and bounce back from their respective losses. This being especially so in the case of the Wanderers. However in the case of Melbourne they need a win to move back into the Top 3, while Western Sydney need it to keep their finals spot safe for another round. Both sides pure desperation and will to win this match should see neither get the result they actually need and instead the draw should be what happens.
Betting tip: Pick the draw to be the final result at $4.20 (William Hill)
Sunday, April 1
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City
5:00 PM AEDT, McDonald Jones Stadium
What’s Happened Most Recently: Newcastle got smashed 5-2 by Adelaide and saw red. While in the City vs Wanderers game, it was City doing all the smashing as they were resounding 3-0 winners. Newcastle’s efforts against United were pretty disappointing. This is compounded by the fact that Ben Kantarovski scored twice for the Jets, yet they still had a player sent of in the form of Jason Hoffman in the 78th minute. Newcastle shooting wise didn’t actually play too badly as 5 of their 9 attempted shots ended up on target. Now while that may have been enough to win on most nights in the A-League, their defence was simply appalling and not up to scratch for a winning side. This was because they allowed Adelaide to fire 17 shots at them and nearly half of them (8) were on target. The Jets also had more ball as well, while this game represents a must win so that they don’t start to develop bad habits that eventually saw them finish last during the 2016/17 campaign. While for City in their commanding 3-0 win, the goals were scored by Fornarolli (42nd minute), Jakobsen (57th minute) and Mauk (67th minute). City were very impressive in all aspects of this game as they saw 10 of their 15 taken shots go on target. While they kept the WSW to 0 of 8. While Melbourne had a very good passing accuracy of 82% and gave away only 12 fouls to their opponents 17. There’s not much here to criticize from Melbourne’s five star performance.
What Should Happen: The Jets should no doubt bounce back from their horror show against Adelaide and put in an improved showing against City. However City were on absolute fire against the Wanderers and as Bruno Fornarolli continues to discover his historic (for now) goal-scoring form, there’s no reason the wins should stop there for Melbourne. Ernie Merrick should have his side prepared well for this game, but Warren Joyce just a little bit better.
Best Bet of the Round
Pick MV to score first vs WSW at $1.53 (CrownBet)
Pick WSW to score last vs MV at $2.60 (William Hill)