A-League Best Bets & Preview - Round 9
It’s crunch time as the ladder begins to take shape
Perth Glory vs. Sydney FC – Friday 9:00pm (AEDT) – NIB Stadium
The festive period means teams are feisty – and Round 9 has you totally covered – two derbies and a Friday night blockbuster headline this Round.
This match-up underneath the Friday night lights has #BeastMode written all over it. Perth is in glorious form and top of the ladder, while the Sky Blues are hot off a Sydney Derby win.
The Sky Blues’ strikers will have to be lethal in front of goal in the wild west, given Perth has recorded back-to-back clean sheets.
It’s a tough trip for Steve Corica’s men, crossing the Nullabor and returning with maximum points is no easy task.
Despite Sydney completely dominating this fixture, this Perth outfit is much better than those that have bore the brunt of the Sky Blues in the past but can they put recent history behind them? We are tipping they will, but only partly, with a share of the spoils here.
Wellington vs. Brisbane Roar – Saturday 5:35pm (AEDT) – Westpac Stadium
The Phoenix is rising from the ashes and new coach Mark Rudan is making waves across the ditch, after back-to-back wins and a top-six position on the ladder.
Brisbane is down on their luck at the moment – they are ninth on the ladder and have just one victory to their name - but that doesn’t mean they’ve played horribly. They’ve been in most games but continue to fall short.
Given the Mark Rudan revolution is in full swing, expect the home side to continue their impressive run on the back of their goalscorer Sarpreet Singh as they aim for three straight wins for the first time since March 2015.
Melbourne City FC vs. Melbourne Victory – Saturday 7:50pm – AAMI Park
Who doesn’t love a derby? What a monster clash this promises to be – value, value, value everywhere.
The Christmas Melbourne Derby needs no special introduction, this fixture sells itself with sparks guaranteed to fly, goals to be scored and cards to be issued.
Despite Melbourne City coming in fresh off a 2-0 win over Adelaide WITHOUT sharpshooter Bruno Fornaroli, it is hard to go past Victory.
Ola Toivonen, Keisuke Honda, Terry Antonis and Kosta Barbarouses are in sublime form so bank on goals and assists between the four of them.
We fancy a Victory win as they are the visiting team and the away side has won the past four Derbys. Looking for more value? The 2-1 scoreline has come up in five of the past six clashes between them!
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets – Sunday 5:00pm – Central Coast Stadium
Ah, the F3 Derby – big enough to be the only game on Sunday - another physical clash but this time there’s some extra spice.
Guess who’s back? Back again… Roy is back, back! Tell a friend… Jets striker and former Mariner Roy O’Donovan returns from a 10-match suspension and Ernie Merrick will be pleased to have a clinical finisher up front for this one.
The Jets desperately need him as they are averaging less than a goal game so far, which is the second fewest in the comp, but the Irish striker is back just in time to inflict further misery upon his former side.
Central Coast is still winless and have now got off to the worst start of any A-league side in history with just two points from their opening eight games.
Adelaide United vs. Western Sydney Wanderers – Wednesday 7:50pm – Coopers Stadium
An A-League Boxing Day clash between two familiar foes.
Western Sydney wanders on down to the City of Churches desperate for a victory after some disappointing results.
The Wanderers are fresh off a Sydney Derby loss so Markus Babbel is expecting a response. Meanwhile, the Reds have suffered consecutive losses at the hands of both Melbourne clubs.
After his send-off on Saturday night, Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic has been hit with a suspension Babbel’s preferred shot-stopper will not be between the posts.
Taking all that into account, the value is in the home side for a tight victory and history is also on their side. They haven’t lost to the Red and Black in their past six clashes.