The following are previews with betting tips for Round 21 (Split round) of the 2018/19 A-League season.
Friday, March 1
Sydney FC v Adelaide United
7:50 PM AEDT, Leichhardt Oval
Only an Adam Le Fondre penalty, his 14th strike of the season, saved Sydney from a draw against Wellington as the Sky Blues bounced back to winning ways with the 1-0 victory over Mark Rudan’s men. Sydney held only 47% of the ball and had only four shots on target the entire match. But the victory was good enough to move them up to 2nd on the ladder, they now only trail the Glory for 1st place. Sydney also had a shot bounce of the woodwork. While they strongly completed 74% of their passes, 314/422. They also won considerably more duels then the Phoenix with 82 vs 67. And the aerial duels were also won by the Sky Blues at 30 to 24. However, based of this match it’s pretty safe to say that Sydney will need to lift their game as they come up against an Adelaide side desperate to consolidate their spot in the Top Four.
The most Adelaide were able to claim from their game was a stingy 0-0 draw against the Jets. As it currently stands, they are two points ahead of 5th placed City. Craig Goodwin had a shot come of the woodwork in what was one of United’s best chances in the fairly dour affair. Adding to this is the fact that both sides only posted two shots on target each throughout the entire game. Positively for Adelaide however, they gave up only 11 fouls and two yellows. And they should be fairly confident of claiming a result against the struggling Sky Blues. Especially considering they claimed the FFA Cup of them earlier in the season. Yet their last game against the home-side was a 2-1 loss, so Marco Kurz’s men will really need to be on their toes in this one.
Betting tip: Pick Sydney to be victorious at $2.15 (Neds)
Also pick the Sky Blues to score first at $1.80 (Neds)
Saturday, March 2
Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets
7:50 PM AEDT, GMHBA Stadium (Geelong)
Niedermeier saw red in only the 15th minute of the game and Jamie Maclaren converted the penalty accordingly for City. However, a 50th minute Barbarouses goal sealed the draw for the Victory in the frantic, hotly contested Derby. Melbourne are now seven points clear of 4th and only a point of 2nd placed Sydney. But they are a somewhat disappointing nine points of the 1st placed Glory. Melbourne had only 40% of the ball along with one shot the entire match. Combined with being one man down for the majority of the game, that was one hell of an effort from Kevin Muscat’s side! More disappointingly for them was the 15 fouls they gave away, including the four yellows and one red card. And facing a finals desperate Jets side will be no easy task and last seasons GF will no doubt be on their minds for a while. So despite Newcastle’s current 7th placed ladder position, Melbourne will be in for a tough one here, without a doubt.
The Jets managed to close the gap to five points with a 0-0 draw vs Adelaide. However, they should have closed the finals gap by more given the Phoenix had gone down to Sydney earlier in the round. It was a golden opportunity for them, yet they couldn’t take advantage of it. Instead Newcastle fluffed it and shot just two on target for the entire game. They were however strong in their duels against United as they won 61 duels to their 60. They also won 25 aerial duels to their 16. Terry Antonis has scored two from his past two vs the Jets. And in addition James Troisi scored the winner the last time these two teams met. If the Jets aren’t able to stop a raring attack then it could be a tough, tough result for them. However, if they hang tight then it should be a good one!
Betting tip: Newcastle are desperate and need a win so pick them to eventually prevail at $3.25 (Sportsbet)
Also pick them to find the back of the net last at $2.25 (Neds)
Sunday, March 3
Melbourne City v Perth Glory
5:00 PM AEDT, AAMI Park
City were well and truly pathetic in their somber effort against Melbourne! The game ended as a 1-all draw but their was so much more to it then what meets the eye. City had a one man advantage after just 15 minutes and Maclaren scored his third goal in as many games for City. However, they shot just 1/13 on target in their horrible performance. That while the opposition had one shot the entire match and it was a goal. Many City fans have recently turned up the heat on under-performing coach Warren Joyce and they’re not wrong to do so. After that performance this writer believes he deserves the sack. Imagine the threat if Maclaren and Bruno could play together. But NO! I feel for City fans at the moment, I really do. The last time these two teams met it was a 0-0 all draw and City had no shots on target the entire match. If they could fix that this game then there’s no reason why they can’t steal a victory out from under Perth’s noses.
As for Perth they were shocked in a 1-all draw against the Wanderers. Tarek Elrich scored the equaliser with literally the last play of the game against the Glory. Yet they still sit pretty at the top of the ladder and lead the Sky Blues by eight points and the Victory by nine. Ikonomidis scored his 8th strike of the campaign as Perth had only four shots on target. But in all fairness to them, they did it from only nine attempts. And they had less of the ball then the Wanderers as well, 53% possession vs 47%. The Glory gave away only seven fouls as well as they now have a firm grip on the Minor Premiership and an ACL Spot. Given they had only two shots on target last time out vs City, they’ll definitely have toe score at least a goal to win given that the opposition now boast Jamie Maclaren on their books.
Friday, March 8
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
7:50 PM AEDT, Suncorp Stadium
5-3 Was the score in a first ever for the A-League as the Roar overcame the Mariners. Brisbane scored some spectacular goals as Lopez bagged a double. Mikkilsen and Wenzel-Halls also both got on the board once each. Whie Eric Bautheac channeled his inner Ronaldo with a crazy bicycle-kick goal to given Brisbane an initial one goal to nil lead. They also won with the opposition down two men as O’Neil was sent off as was Simon at the very end of the match. Brisbane shot 7/12 on target in a simply awesome effort from them and showed that they may not miss the now-departed Taggart so much after all! To their credit the Roar also won with only 42% possession. They are now only two points of the 8th placed Wanderers as they have claimed some awesome, credible results recently.
Tarek Elrich, you da man!!! He scored the 95th minute equaliser as his side snatched a 1-1 draw vs Perth. Western Sydney had only three shots on target the entire game but made them count when it mattered the most as he stood up huge for his now resurgent side. As it currently stands, the Wanderers are now only 11 points of a finals spot. Maybe just too much of a gap to bridge for them. But they are only two wins of the 7th placed Jets, a much more achievable aim for them. When these sides last faced off against each other, the Wanderers blew a 2-0 lead and in the process conceded two goals in the games final four minutes to settle for a 2-2 draw. The Wanderers should be hoping that sort of choking doesn’t occur this time around. However, both sides having early season struggles and now both are on a fine run of form. This game will be very interesting to watch!
Betting tip: Pick both teams to score at $1.42 (Neds)
Also pick Brisbane to find the back of the net first at $2.00 (Neds)
Saturday, March 9
Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix
7:50 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
Matt Simon. He’s a polarizing figure, that’s without a doubt! And he gave the ref a real spray as he headed of the field in the 95th minute as he received a second yellow card. More bizarre though was Mariners coach Mike Mulvey trying to justify it after the game. Simon swore at the ref, can’t really justify that no matter how frustrated you are! But he wore his heart on his sleeve in his sides dramatic 5-3 defeat to Brisbane. A first ever result by that score-line in the A-League. Pain, O’Neil and Murray with his 2nd A-League goal all scored in the crazy affair for the Central Coast. They deserved a draw, but the best they could get was a two goal loss. They’ll be receiving another Wooden Spoon this season. As unfortunate for their fans as it is to hear and see its just the truth. They are currently on seven points, eight behind 9th placed Brisbane. To their credit however they did manage to fire away with 21 shots at Brisbane’s defence, with a credible nine going on target. If they hang in their they’ll have a small chance to do some damage against Wellington.
1-0 Was the score as the Phoenix played not too shabbily against Sydney. They clumsily gave away the penalty that resulted in Sydney’s only goal and the only goal of the game. Besides that they pushed the Sky Blues pretty damn hard. However, their loss coupled with the Jets draw sees Newcastle now only five points out of the Top Six. Alarm bells should be ringing if you are Mark Rudan or one of his players. The Nix had 13 shots and 53% of the ball but they just couldn’t quite do it against the 2nd placed side. And of a major concern for the Phoenix should be the amount of fouls they leaked at 17. They definitely need to fix that in time for their away trip.
Betting tip: The Mariners were very encouraging last round, so pick them to cause the upset win at $3.85 (Neds)
Also pick them to open the scoring at $2.50 (Neds)
Best Bet of the Round
My favourite/best bet of the round is for the Mariners to cause the upset win at $3.85 (Neds) vs the Nix. They scored three last weekend and lost, they’ll get the win this time around!