A-League Best Bets & Multi - Round 27
One more chance to get things right before finals
Brisbane Roar vs. Adelaide United – Thursday 2:00pm – Suncorp Stadium
We know the make-up of the top six but there are still home finals up for grabs across the final round.
Despite very different campaigns this season both Brisbane and Adelaide have something to play for on ANZAC Day.
The Reds’ are in fourth place with Wellington Phoenix just a point behind them… this means a win will secure that spot and a home final before the Nix even have a chance to kick a ball in frustration.
Brisbane meanwhile are desperate to bounce back from a 6-1 thrashing by the Newcastle Jets, and have extra motivation to do it for club legend Matt McKay who plays for the final time. A victory would be the perfect way to send their skipper into retirement after more than 250 appearances. The Roar also saying farewell to Henrique.
Here’s what you need to know:
Brisbane have only won one of their last six games; the Reds have won four out of their last six meetings against the Roar; the home side have conceded 66 goals this campaign while Adelaide have only conceded 29. These figures speak volumes.
Taking all that into account, Adelaide have much more to play for despite Brisbane’s emotional farewells to some great servants to the club. Expect a close game.
Tip: UNDER 3.5 GOALS
Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners – Friday 7:50pm – AAMI PARK
Interesting fixture this one.
To say that Melbourne City’s campaign has been underwhelming would be an understatement. They have struggled for consistency and desperately need to find some momentum ahead of an Elimination Final that is going to be a Melbourne Derby.
Warren Joyce will need to be careful of a Mariners outfit hot off the back of a 3-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers. It seems they are a different beast already under Alen Stajcic.
Believe it or not but City have won three of their last six clashes against the Mariners – that is not very convincing. Despite being at different ends of the ladder, both sides have very similar shooting accuracy and a very close conversion rate. City have conceded 32 goals this campaign compared to the Mariners’ 65 which means City’s stubborn defence could be the difference in this clash.
Riley McGree provided the bright spark which almost clinched a share of the points for a City side last week who are usually goal shy on the road. The 20-year-old showed composure beyond his years to guide two strikes into the bottom corner and combined excellently with sharp shooter Jamie Maclaren. This duo will strike again.
Taking all that into account, despite the Mariners showing some fight under a new leader, Warren Joyce will rally the troops for a win here in the hope of carrying some sort of form into the finals.
TIP: MELBOURNE CITY
Newcastle Jets vs. Sydney FC – Saturday 5:35pm – McDonald Jones Stadium
Rewind 12 months and these two were the favourites to play in the Grand Final but so much has changed since then.
The Jets have struggled this campaign, bogged down by impotence in front of goal as well as a spate of injuries.
Sydney, however, may not be the banging in goals left, right and centre but have quietly gone about their business under Steve Corica and remained a genuine title threat. They travel to the Hunter assured of a top-two finish, with the week off a godsend given their Asian Champions League commitments.
The Jets meanwhile will be hoping they can end the season in style after finally showing what they are capable of in their 6-1 smashing of the Brisbane Roar. Throw in the chance to disrupt their state rival’s momentum and we could see another classic brewing here.
Adam Le Fondre is keen to catch up with Roy Krishna in the Golden Boot race so expect the Sky Blues marquee to make his way onto the score sheet.
Rhyan Grant is a gun at the back after the fullback's display in his side's 1-0 win over Perth Glory last week. Grant is in career-best form, he patrolled the right flank, tallying 92 touches, winning three of his four tackle attempts, managed three interceptions and won nine of his 13 duels for the ball.
Sydney FC have made 2,000 passes more than the Jets this season and have won over 100 more fouls too.
There’s only one winner here and that’s Sydney.
Tip: SYDNEY FC AND OVER 1.5 GOALS
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Melbourne Victory – Saturday 7:50pm – ANZ Stadium
The Wanderers will still no doubt be hurting from their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Melbourne Victory earlier in the season and will use that as inspiration given they are out of the finals race. It will also be the last game before Western Sydney finally return to their spiritual home of Bankwest Stadium after three long years.
For all their strength on paper, 2019 has not gone exactly to plan for Kevin Muscat’s men. They fell out of contention for the Premiers Plate and the top two, and when you throw in a tough Asian Champions League campaign, Victory have been somewhat out on their feet. A win against the Wanderers would do a lot to settle the nerves ahead of their quest for back-to-back titles.
James Troisi has eight assists this season and the Victory will sorely miss his presence as he is out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury.
Goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas has made 74 saves this season and Victory have the second highest goal scoring tally in the league (49) – monster efforts at both ends of the ground have them in a strong position to take maximum points in this clash. Throw in Victory as having the best conversion rate and this team rock the Wanderers on Saturday night.
The midfield maestros also boast an 80 percent passing accuracy rate so expect Keisuke Honda and co to control the match from their feet.
Considering all that, Melbourne have it all to play for and should be taking this one out.
Tip: MELBOURNE VICTORY WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS
Perth Glory vs. Wellington Phoenix – Sunday 5:00pm (AEDT) – HBF PARK
Roy Krishna is a record and breaker and a heart breaker.
After firing a hat-trick to keep Wellington’s chase for fourth place alive and the hopes of locking in a home final, the Fijian flyer broke the Phoenix record for goals in a season, took an outright lead in the golden boot standings and scored his 50th goal last week. That is scary form heading into this clash!
Viewers are in for treat with this one as these two sides who could meet in a semi-final in three weeks time.
Perth had already snapped up the Premiers Plate before they went down 1-0 to Sydney last week and Tony Popovic will be eager to see his troops get back to winning ways ahead of their week off.
With Wellington set to finish fifth, a win in their semi-final could see them return to HBF Park to face the Glory yet again.
This is a very tricky match-up – Perth top all the stats, that’s why they lifted the Premier’s Plate – clean sheets, conversion rate, goals scored - but the Nix are showing a lot of heart right now.
It’s the hardest game of the round to tip but we are leaning towards a home win for Poppa’s boys.
Tip: PERTH GLORY WIN AND OVER 2.5 GOALS