A-League Best Bets & Multi - Round 23

Shaping up for the finals

Wed, 27 Mar, 12:00 AM

Brisbane Roar vs. Sydney FC – Friday 7:50pm – Suncorp Stadium

Sydney FC is fresh off a loss which means one thing – they need to get their campaign back on track with a convincing win over Brisbane.

The Sky Blues are second for clean sheets this season, so Andrew Redmayne will be busy between the sticks and desperate to keep a clean one here.

We tip goals from Adam Le Fondre who is currently second in the golden boot race with 14, just one behind Wellington’s Roy Krishna.

Taking all that into account, Steve Corica’s men will run riot away from home, to prove a point heading into the business end of the season.

Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets – Saturday 5:35pm – Westpac Stadium

Mark Rudan's ‘Spanish Schemer’ Mandi oozed midfield prowess of the highest calibre in Wellington Phoenix's 3-1 defeat of Western Sydney Wanderers. Mandi stroked in a stunning free kick, a strike which may rank as a contender for goal of the season.

Meanwhile, his majestic box-to-box maintenance of the midfield saw Mandi win the ball back countless times and push the Phoenix forward on a number of occasions… The 30-year-old was the epicentre of his side's resounding victory.

The Jets can still make the finals, but they will need a lot more than a miracle. However, this clash has the Phoenix written all over it.

Despite tallying 11 goals in back to back games, Wellington’s triumph was soured by the late dismissal of Krishna but having seen the likes of Max Burgess and Antony Golec slot seamlessly into gaps left by Sarpreet Singh and Steven Taylor over the last fortnight, Rudan must feel confident.

Taking all that into account, bank on Wellington to take maximum points.

Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Melbourne City – Saturday 7:50pm – ANZ Stadium

This is why Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce was intent on bringing Shayon Harrison in on loan from English Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur.

Harrison offered composure befitting a seasoned marksman for his maiden Hyundai A-League strike against Sydney FC last time out, an effort that helped City to a 2-0 upset win.

Between Harrison and Jamie Maclaren, Melbourne City are winning this game every day of the week.

The Wanderers have the second most goals conceded record in the league (46) and they are not in the hunt for finals. City are in the hunt and are therefore much hungrier and are our tip in this.

Perth Glory vs. Melbourne Victory – Saturday 10:00pm (AEDT) – HBF Park

Perth Glory tallied their ninth clean sheet of the season in Friday week’s 2-0 win over Adelaide United, and Shane Lowry was crucial in nailing down another shut out for Tony Popovic's side.

Lowry was a silent assassin once more in his side's triumph, helping steady the ship amid an encouraging second-half rally from Adelaide.

He finished the match with five clearances, two interceptions and four out of six duels won. The 29-year-old has been one of the strongest pillars of Glory's Premiership challenge.

This shows that their defence is stubborn so don’t expect a high goal scoring affair.

Melbourne Victory, on the other hand, is simply a tougher nut to crack with Georg Niedermeier marshalling their defence, and the German’s return from suspension proved critical in helping Kevin Muscat's men defeat Brisbane Roar 2-1.

The 33-year-old won nine of his 10 duels, made two interceptions, and accrued a team-high six clearances

So what about attack? Bank on Perth’s midfield maestro Diego Castro to create and prepare forwards for chances and alternatively, Victory’s Kosta Barbarouses is a sharpshooter, and you can expect him to be sniffing inside the box

Perth has scored 47 goals this campaign – Victory have banged in 44, and both teams have the highest conversion rate in the league.

What does that all mean? A draw is the best bet in this game.

Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United – Sunday 5:00pm – Central Coast Stadium

One of the biggest decisions for Central Coast Mariners new caretaker boss Alen Stajcic was to toss the captain's armband to Jem Karacan for the visit to Newcastle. It was a big call from the former Matildas coach and it paid dividends.

The former Reading and Bolton midfielder was simply phenomenal in his side’s F3 Derby shock, shielding an under-siege defence in the first half, with little support in possession, then began to build a foothold for his side in the second period thanks to his decisions with the ball. He also buried his first goal firmly.

Then there’s Central Coast Mariners shot-stopper Ben Kennedy who stamped his name into F3 Derby folklore in their 3-2 victory over rivals Newcastle Jets. The Mariners will be firing for this clash against the Reds.

Marco Kurz’s side travels to Gosford for this clash, fresh off a 2-0 loss to league leaders Perth Glory.

Adelaide has the H2H history in their favour but the Mariners are hot under a new regime and young Jordan Murray is going to spoil Adelaide’s hopes.

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