The following are previews with betting tips for Week 1 of the 2020/21 A-League season.
UPDATE: due to the recent covid cluster in NSW, the Brisbane v Wellington and Sydney v Melbourne City fixtures have been postponed. Brisbane will now play Melbourne City. The Western Sydney v Macarthur FC fixture has been moved from the 27th to the 30th.
Sunday, December 27
Western Sydney v Macarthur FC
6:30 PM AEDT, Bankwest Stadium
Key Matchup- Simon Cox vs Milislav Popovic. Cox plays as a Striker, while Popovic is a Forward. And both lads come this game, will be responsible for helping to create or pounce upon goal-scoring opportunities for their respective sides. A lot of Wanderers from last year’s team left the side, but Cox chose to stay. So, you just know he’s eager to show off his off-season work in this clash. Whilst for ex-Lazio FC youth man Popovic, he has no choice but to impress given the depth his side possesses. In 12 games last campaign, Cox produced 3 goals and had 3 assists, along with a further 15 shot assists, so he should have the slight edge in this match-up. But look for it to go either way, in what should be a high-scoring affair.
Past History- This is Macarthur’s first official A-League game and as such, they have no past history against Western Sydney. However, if you look back over the Wanderers past five games of last season, you’ll see that there was plenty going on. They won two, lost two and drew once. And in the process of all of that, they scored eight goals, producing at least a goal or more every match. Their finest win during that period came via their final game, a 2-1 victory against the Victory. They scored goals in the 34th min via Schwegler and in the 62nd min through O’Doherty. They owned 42% of the ball and shot 6/13 on target. They also completed 75% of their passes, good for 315/418. And arguably their worst loss, came when they went down 5-3 to W.U. in Kogarah. They leaked goals in the 6th, 19th, 52nd, 84th and 87th minutes of the match. As W.U. were allowed to shoot 7/17 on target, + have a shot come of the woodwork.
What Should Happen- Regardless of whether the game is allowed to have a crowd or not, it should be an intense and fiery battle, in what will be the first ever edition of the Western Sydney Derby. Both sides will want to put up a good fight in this one and get one over their rivals. It should be close and extremely entertaining. But the pressure on Macarthur may be a little bit too much to handle, so as a result, expect a Wanderers victory ultimately.
Betting tips: Pick Western Sydney to be victorious at $2.15 (Bet365)
Also pick the total amount of goals to be scored within the match at 5-6 at $6.00 (BlueBet)
Monday, December 28
Western United v Adelaide United
7:00 PM AEDT, GMHBA Stadium
Key Matchup- Bersart Berisha, the ages like fine wine Striker up against Al Hassan Toure, the exciting 20-year-old Forward. This is going to be one hell of a battle (provided Toure gets some game-time). Berisha scored 19 goals all up last season, as he yet again proved why he’s one of the A-League’s best ever. Will he be teaching Toure the lesson, or will the young buck be giving one to him? He shoulders a lot of W.U.’s attacking responsibility, so he should touch the ball a lot. While for Toure, from 12 games last season, he had 2 goals and an assist. He is proving so far to be a very lethal weapon for the Reds. And if he is to outdo Berisha, then his pace may prove a key piece to the puzzle. That is one major advantage he possesses over him. W.U. scored 0 against City in their finals game, and Adelaide flunked out of the finals race in the latter part of the season. So, both these players need to step up big time for their sides.
Past History- Their best game against one another produced an incredibly entertaining affair at Whitten Oval. Adelaide eventually prevailed 4-3 in what was one of the most exciting matches of the A-League campaign. Mileusnic opened the scoring in just the 9th min of the game, and then Berisha made things even again just 3 minutes later. Then Mileusnic scored his 2nd just 3 minutes after Berisha and it was 2-1 Adelaide. McGree scored his in the 18th min and suddenly it was 3-1, then Berisha scored his 2nd in the 43rd min, and it was 3-2. Diamanti scored in the 54th min and Konstandopulos in the 79th min to make the score what it was. And their last game was at Hindmarsh, there W.U. turned on the motors to win 5-1, to absolutely smash Adelaide to bits. Berisha had a double, while all of Diamanti, Burgess and Pain also got on the scoresheet for the visitors. And they shot 7/13 on target, with just 38% possession of the ball.
What Should Happen- A Western United victory. Adelaide possess players such as Lopez who should be a joy to watch in this clash, but ultimately, they’re a young side. Whereas in comparison, W.U. have quite the experienced team, and that’s what gives them the edge in this clash. Expect it to be quite a high-scoring affair as well, based of what’s happened previously in their clashes against one another.
Betting tips: Pick W.U. to be victorious at $2.00 (BlueBet)
Also pick them to score first at $1.66 (BlueBet)
Tuesday, December 29
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix
7:00 PM AEDT, Dolphin Stadium
Key Matchup- Jamie Young playing against Stefan Marinovic. Both these sides have lost key players such as Inman and Taylor and as a result, they head into this match with relative unknowns about them. But the two Goalies are known! Yes, they are known very well indeed! And they should both provide that safety, that experience and that calmness needed in goals. Young kept 6 clean sheets last season and made 74 saves. He also completed 273 accurate passes. And for Marinovic, he had 5 clean sheets and 87 total saves to his name. That along with 303 accurate passes. They are amongst the best Keepers that the A-League has to offer and with plenty of chances bound to occur for both sides, it’s safe to say that both these men will have an integral say on the outcome of the match.
Past History- These two sides latest match against one another came in the form of a 1-1 draw @ Hunter Stadium, in what was a game played in the later stages of the A-League season. McDonald struck first in the 61st min for the Roar. While Hooper evened things up with a late strike in the 81st min of the match for the Phoenix. This was an ill-disciplined affair as Brisbane gave up 16 fouls and 2 yellows. The Nix were also at 14 and 1. Brisbane shot 5/20 on target, with 42% ownage of the ball. Whilst the Nix had a shot come of the woodwork, as they went 9/21 on target. That was with 58% ownage of the ball. Prior to that, the Roar just pipped them 1-0, in RD15 of last season. The sole-goal was produced via Wenzel-Halls in the 69th min of the match. Two alarming statistics to come out of this clash were the Nix going 3/20 on target! Whilst both sides gave up 3 yellows a piece.
What Should Happen- A tightly contested Football game is what should occur here. Edgewise, neither team has many advantages over the other. That is until it comes to the scary combination of Davila and Ball. Davila produced 12 goals last season and had 5 assists. For Ball he had 6 goals and 4 assists. They are what gives the Nix and ever so slight edge here. If they’re on point, expect Wellington to come away with a one or two goal victory. However, if they fail to fire, then this game is there for the taking.
Betting tips: Pick Wellington to win at $3.25 (Bet365)
Also pick both teams to score at $1.53 (Bet365)
Wednesday, December 30
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
7:00 PM AEDT, ANZ Stadium
Key Matchup- Milos Ninkovic vs Jamie Maclaren. ‘Ninko’ resides over the Midfield, while ‘Macca’ is a fine-as-hell Striker. They are both superstars of the A-League, they are both extremely attacking-oriented player’s, and they are both amongst their respective side’s main sources of potential goal-scoring opportunities. Ninkovic by his own standards, probably wasn’t the best version of himself last campaign. He scored just 6 goals and had 3 assists from 26 games. So, no doubt he’ll be eager to start off on the right foot this season and prove all the haters wrong. Especially now so more than ever, with no Le Fondre for Sydney. And as for Maclaren, he scored an insane 23 goals last season for Melbourne. If anyone’s gonna put it past Redmayne and the rest of the Sky Blues stifling defence, then it’s gonna be him. If they can get a lot of ball at their feet, especially early on, then that will have quite a credible impact on the game.
Past History- The 30th of August of this year was when these two sides last met. Sydney were aiming for a 2nd consecutive Grand Final victory. Whilst for City, their aim was to win their first ever A-League Championship. And in the 100th min, Grant ensured that Sydney would be hoisting aloft the so-called ‘toilet-seat’ at Bankwest Stadium, as he scored the clutch winner, in his sides tight-and-tense 1-0 win. There was some controversy throughout the game, but ultimately the stats were pretty even. Sydney shot 10/15 on target and had 49% possession of the ball. And Melbourne went 8/20 on target, with 51% of the ball. They completed their passes at 73% and 74% respectively. Those were good for 413/563 and 419/568. Prior to that, it was an easy 2-0 win to City, scoring first through Noone in the 57th min and then through Maclaren 11 minutes later. City shot 9/14 on target that match, with 50% of the ball. They also completed 84% of their passes. Something that was good for 421/503.
What Should Happen- Last season’s Grand Final between these two sides saw an extremely heated battle between the two best teams in the competition. And the two sides kept on exchanging shots with one another until Sydney eventually broke the iron-lock in the 100th min, via a Ryan Grant effort. It should be more high scoring this time around but expect the same kind of intensity to be a focal point of the match. They should fire shots with one another back and forth in what should no doubt be the game of the round.
Betting tips: Pick Sydney FC to be victorious in the GF rematch at $2.20 (Sportsbet)
Also pick Sydney to win the 2nd half at $2.43 (UniBet)
Thursday, December 31
Central Coast v Newcastle Jets
7:00 PM AEDT, Central Coast Stadium
Key Matchup- Nigel Boogard vs Jack Clisby. Boogard has played 104 games alone for Newcastle and Clisby, 44 for the Central Coast. Both are experienced veterans of the A-League and both are defenders. The Jets also have a lot of youth throughout their team, likewise the Mariners as well. These two lads are highly looked up to within their respective sides. And given the new faces and the in-experience, this game might be a bit of a struggle. And it could well be a first to score …. wins sort of scenario. So, they’ll both be barking out instructions and will be very vital in this game. Boogard won 60% of his duels last season, 91/151. And Clisby won 51% of his, good for 91/179. This is a strong, yet unique matchup.
Past History- When these sides last contested the F3 Derby, it ended up as a disappointing and relatively boring 0-0 draw in Gosford. The home-side leaked 9 fouls and 4 yellows. Whilst for the away-one, they gave up 14 fouls and 2 yellows. The Mariners went just 3/10 on target. And for the Jets they were an even worse 2/10 on target. Newcastle had the lion’s share of the ball, with 67%, leaving the Mariners to just 33%. This game was about as atrocious as the Mariners season was and the Jets were pre-Carl Robinson. Prior to that, it was a much more lively and entertaining game in Newcastle, as the Jets were victorious 4 goals to 3. D. Petratos scored twice for the Jets (in the 15th and 52nd mins), whilst Topor Stanley (25th min) and a Eun-Sun OG (55th min), also found the back of the net for Newcastle. The Central Coast’s goals were through Tongyik (45th min), Clisby (49th min) and Harold (86th min). Let’s hope this is the type of performance both teams produce, as opposed to a 0-0 game.
What Should Happen- These F3 Derbies never fail to disappoint, and they always produce something special. In Newcastle last season, as already mentioned, the Jets came out on top (just), in a 4-3 thriller. There was also an exciting 1-1 draw not long before that. These games mean so much to both club’s communities and the players know that. There may be a red card or two and it should also no doubt be a feisty encounter. However, playing at home, at Bluetongue Stadium, the Mariners have the major advantage here.
Betting tips: Pick the Mariners to win the match at $2.90 (Bet365)
Also pick both teams to score at $1.61 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Also pick the outcome of the CCM vs NEW match to be a draw at HT, then a Mariners victory at FT at $6.50 (Bet365)