The following are previews with betting tips for Round 20 of the 2018/19 A-League season.
Friday, February 22
Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
7:50 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
The Mariners caused a massive upset and heaped further misery on their rivals in their 1-1 draw away from home. The Central Coast struck first through Aiden O’Neil in the 1st half and if it weren’t for a late home-side penalty, the Mariners more then likely would’ve claimed the win. The Mariners snared a point despite having 31% possession to Sydney’s 69%. They also only took five shots compared to Sydney’s 22. And the Central Coast also only completed 66% of their passes, again that’s in comparison to Sydney’s 80%. Mike Mulvey’s men had no right to claim anything from this match and yet they took so, so much from it. However, despite all the rightfully deserved respect they are getting from this result, they are still dead last on seven points and five of 9th placed Brisbane. Coming up against the Roar this round gives the Mariners a fantastic shot at closing the gap, if they can take their chances.
For the Roar it was back to reality after their amazing last play win over Sydney as they were thumped 4-0 by Perth. Brisbane only owned 39% of the ball and had just two shots on target the entire match. To compare, Perth had 61% of the ball and had 10 shots on target, as well as 27 in total. Brisbane also gave away 10 fouls and won only 48 duels to Perth’s 61. While they also only won 19 aerial duels to their 29. A win here will increase Brisbane’s five point gap over the Mariners at the bottom of the table. And the Roar have not lost to the Central Coast in their past 14 games against them either for an extremely good omen. However, the past two games have resulted in 1-1 draws. And it remains to be seen how Brisbane will play after recently selling leading goal-scorer Adam Taggart to Asia. Some of Brisbane’s youngsters will really have to step up and fill his shoes.
Betting tip: Pick the Mariners to win at $2.40 (Sportsbet)
Also pick both teams to score at $1.50 (Bet365)
Saturday, February 23
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
5:35 PM AEDT, Campbelltown Stadium
In front of an absolutely packed out crowd at Eden Park, the Phoenix really turned it on in their 1-1 draw with the Victory. The two sides playing out their third draw of the campaign against each other. Krishna had his 12th strike of the season in the 57th minute, but it was Honda who evened things up 10 minutes later. Wellington took 18 shots, but couldn’t convert many of them as only four landed on target. However, Wellington did completed 76% of their attempted passes, good for 276/364. But again, not so good, they gave away 18 fouls including the penalty that led to the Victory’s only goal of the game. As it stands the Phoenix are six points ahead of the Jets in the race for the final finals spot. And they are also only two points out of the Top Four. A very achievable aim, especially considering that Adelaide just stumbled against the Wanderers. And recent rumours of the field have recently linked both head-coach Mark Rudan and star-striker Roy Krishna to other clubs. Rudan has been said to have been named as a replacement for under-fire Sydney coach Steve Corica and Krishna to the Jets to give them a fire-boost upfront. Whether these things actually happen or not, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Sydney are on a slide, there’s no doubt about it. For the second time in a row they dropped points against one of the A-League’s bottom two sides. They had to settle for a 1-1 draw vs the Mariners in front of a big home crowd in the A-League’s first ever match at Leichardt Oval. This followed their shocking 2-1 defeat to Brisbane the round before. Sydney had 69% of the ball and took 22 shots, yet could only get a point. They are under increasing pressure to start winning again or as rumours have it, their head coach in Steve Corica could be getting the chop. And in all fairness to the rumours, he hasn’t exactly done that well in his first season in charge of the highly cashed up club and one that features the likes of ‘Gucci’, Le Fondre, Ninkovic, O’Neil and Co. The Sky Blues only strike of the game came via an Adam Le Fondre penalty in the 76th minute. That was his 13th of the season as he leads the A-League in that department. Sydney are now 10 points of 1st, however, only one of second.
Betting tip: Pick both teams to score at $1.61 (Bet365)
Also pick Sydney to score first at $1.61 (Bet365)
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
7:50 PM AEDT, Marvel Stadium
The Victory played out a hugely entertaining draw in their 1-1 result against the Phoenix. And it was Honda, the marquee man who stepped up and calmly converted the penalty to even the scores in the 2nd half. That was his 6th goal of the campaign from only 10 games played. The result left the Victory a bit behind Perth, three wins behind to be exact and only a point ahead of 3rd placed Sydney. Melbourne had 19 shots, but could only land five of them on target. And they had only slightly more possession then the Phoenix, 51% vs 49%. They were pretty well-disciplined as they gave up only 12 fouls in comparison to the Phoenix’s 18. Now they face City, their rivals whom they have won four of their past seven played games against. They are always fiery and they are always entertaining. But given City are coming of the back of a depressing 3-1 loss to the depleted Jets, the Victory 100% have the edge heading into this encounter. With Honda back, Barbarouses firing, Antonis doing what he does, City will have a hard time against their rivals.
3-1 Was the sad result as City went down to the Jets. Compounding their misery is the fact that the loss leaves them now only two wins ahead of the closely catching up Jets who want their finals spot. In a small bright spot for Melbourne, Jamie Maclaren had his second goal in as many games since returning to the A-League. City dominated so many categories, yet got absolutely nothing from the game as they held 67% of the ball, opposed to Newcastle’s 33%. City also had 18 shots at goal vs the Jets nine. And Newcastle were coming of an extra-time ACL qualifier as well. How on earth City couldn’t get more from this game I will never know. But given the Jets are playing Adelaide at home, who just loss to the struggling Wanderers, this game kind of represents a must-win for City, at the very least sharing the points. If the City lose and Newcastle win, then ouch!
Betting tip: Pick the Victory to win at $2.10 (Palmerbet)
Also pick the Victory to score first at $1.75 (BetEasy)
Sunday, February 24
Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United
5:00 PM AEDT, McDonald Jones Stadium
Jair, Champness and O’Donovan take a. Actually naw, holdup. The entire Jets team from Ernie Merrick right through to the last player on the bench, take a bow! Coming of an extra-time ACL qualifier, the tired and ragged Jets could’ve been excused for not wanting to turn up in this one. However, instead they turned on the jets (literally) and put City to the sword. And in the process they kept their finals hopes alive as they are now only two victories of both them and Wellington. The three previously-mentioned players struck in the 22nd minute, the 75th minute and the 79th minute. The Jets also only had 33% possession and five shots on target from a total of nine attempts at goal. This was the complete performance from Newcastle. However, they’ll need to back it up against a sorry Adelaide side in order to keep alive the now more shining then ever finals hopes. The last time they played Adelaide, Craig Goodwin scored a 91st minute winner. Shutting him down will be key to the Jets hopes of claiming all three points in this game.
3-1 Was the score as Adelaide put in a very disappointing shift in against the Wanderers at home. Ryan Kitto was Adelaide’s only goal-scorer as he struck in the 44th minute of the match. While Adelaide are only two points behind 3rd, both Melbourne and Wellington are only two points behind them (Adelaide), in 5th and 6th place respectively. Marco Kurz’s men are in a very tight spot at the moment. Adelaide had 70% possession to go along with 18 shots at goal, but it wasn’t enough in their sorrowing defeat. They did however completed 86% of their passes, a pretty good positive to take from their otherwise bad performance. Adelaide have only lost twice from their past seven games vs them and have a pretty good history against them. Now more then ever they need to bounce back and claim something from this game with two sides very close behind them.
Betting tip: Pick the Jets to be victorious at $2.85 (UniBet)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
7:00 PM AEDT, Spotless Stadium
Riera got back on the score-sheet, Bonevacia bagged one and Majok got in on the action to as the Wanderers posted a comprehensive 3-1 win over Adelaide. Western Sydney, despite having only 30% possession, still managed to fire away at Adelaide’s defence with 17 shots at their goal and seven on target. They also conceded only 11 fouls and completed a neat 74% of their passes. It would take a miracle for them to feature in the finals, but they are only two wins of the 7th placed Jets and this was their 2nd convincing victory in a row. The Red & Black are finally starting to really capitalise on their chances and it’s showing accordingly on the score-sheet. Coming up against the league-leaders will be a real task for the 8th placed side. However, it will be an awesome test to see where they are at after strong wins over the Mariners and Adelaide. It’s time to shine for one of the A-League’s most diamonds and rocks side!
Perth are simply the best, there just ain’t another way to put it. They again showed every A-League fan and every A-League critic that with an insane 4-0 thrashing of Brisbane. Keogh got on the books twice, while Castro and Davidson had one each. For Keogh those were his 11th and 12th goals of the season. And in the lead-up to the game, comments were made about Castro being the A-Leauge goat. He’s not! Surely players such as Berisha, Broich, Honda, Del Piero and Co stand up above him. But this campaign his certainly made a great case for it! As from 12 games he has four goals and two assists. He also has an 83% passing accuracy rate and has given away only 12 fouls. He’s also won 63% of his tackle attempts despite not really being of a physically strong stature. He is up there, that’s one thing he can say!
Betting tip: Pick the Wanderers to cause the upset and win at $3.75 (Bet365)
Also pick both teams to score at $1.53 (Bet365)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite/best bet of the round is for the Jets to be victorious at $2.85 (UniBet), simply put they need to beat Adelaide to keep their finals hopes alive!