A-League Best Bets & Multi - Round 17
One A-league team faces a side they have completely dominated in recent times but can the trend continue?
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Newcastle Jets – Friday 7:50pm – ANZ Stadium
This is a crunch clash for both sides, not only because of their positions on the ladder but for confidence and momentum too.
Both teams are basically already out of finals contention but if they are going to make a last-minute charge towards the top six, all three points are essential in this clash.
The Wanderers have scored just over 20 goals this campaign and have conceded 33. That is alarming no matter which way you look at it.
The Jets have the worst conversion rate in the league (8%), but have had the most shots on goal, more than 250 attempts but haven’t even put 20 of those in the back of the net. Go figure.
Taking all that into account, this is a home game for Western Sydney who have suffered some very harsh defeats this season, so they are well and truly due. We are backing them in a tight one.
Tip: WANDERERS WIN / UNDER 2.5 goals
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory – Saturday 5:35pm – Central Coast Stadium
While Melbourne Victory are proving they are real contenders to go back-to-back, they’ve had a very successful month of football, without marquee Keisuke Honda.
Here’s what you need to know – Mariners: no clean sheets recorded this campaign, most goals conceded, least shots on target and worst passing accuracy in the league, so it’s no wonder they are bottom of the table.
James Troisi has been pulling the strings and grabbing a few goals of his own, while Ola Toivonen needs little introduction with the Swedish international now has 10 goals and three assists in 13 games.
He is in great form, scored a cracker of a free kick against Sydney FC and is our best bet to open the scoring here.
Tip: OLA TOIVONEN FIRST GOAL SCORER
Adelaide United vs. Brisbane Roar – Saturday 7:50pm (AEDT) – Coopers Stadium
Adelaide know how to win clutch. They are the comeback kings in the A-League. They’ve done it time and time again, but they can’t keep relying on the late show if they are to be genuine title contenders.
With Adelaide besieged by injuries up front, George Blackwood is the man leading the charge. Both he and Isaias got their first goals of the season last round, so we are tipping Blackwood to keep them coming.
A consistently excellent performer for Marco Kurz this season, Ryan Strain's diligence in defence is also key to the Reds going deep into the finals… last round Strain won a game high 13 duels and was selective in making a surge forward.
Taking all that into account, Adelaide should nullify Brisbane’s attack and bag maximum points here.
Tip: ADELAIDE WIN BY 2+ GOALS
Perth Glory vs. Wellington Phoenix – Saturday 10:00pm (AEDT) – HBF Park
The Distance Derby doesn't get much bigger than this. Perth are four points clear at the top of the table, looking to extend their lead, while Wellington Phoenix are 11 points behind the Glory.
Perth put on a clinic last Sunday night against Newcastle, easing to a 2-0 win inspired by the magic of Neil Kilkenny and Diego Castro. Kilkenny now has four goals and four assists for the campaign, making him a quiet achiever that helps Glory tick.
Phoenix have their own magic in the form of David Williams and Sarpreet Singh -- the young and old combination producing goals and flare up front, something of which Perth will have to be wary. David Williams has five goals in his last eight games. He will find the back of the net.
With so much on the line, this Distance Derby is set to be a ripper, so expect entertainment.
Tip: OVER 2.5 GOALS
Sydney FC vs. Melbourne City – Sunday 5:00pm – Jubilee Stadium
With the Sky Blues creating a five-point gap over City, a loss for Warren Joyce's men could be a bridge too far in their hopes of catching the top three.
Just when Joyce thought he had a winning formula where Bruno Fornaroli wasn’t required, City go and lose 1-0 to the Nix across the ditch. Meanwhile, Sydney FC are reeling off a 2-1 loss in the Big Blue, so are desperate to get back on track.
It’s in big games where Sky Blues skipper Alex Brosque steps up, so count on the veteran for a goal and/or assist. While Ritchie De Laet has been influential for City, so count on him to contribute (he has 6 goals in 15 games).
Melbourne City have kept six clean sheets this season, the equal highest in the league, and their passing accuracy is top of the comp. The issue for them is the fact Sydney have owned them in their past eight fixtures and outscored Would be a huge upset to stun Sydney in Sydney, especially since they haven’t beaten the Sky Blues in their past eight clashes and have been outscored 16-1 in their past six encounters.
Psychologically Sydney FC have it over them – and that is good enough for us!
Tip: SYDNEY FC WIN