Whether you’re in a tipping or fantasy comp, having a bet, or trying to impress your mates with some knowledge at the game, let Ando & Bez give you their last minute tips to help you find a winner this weekend.
Brisbane v Newcastle
Ando says: The Roar have reverted back to the Ange Postecoglou days, of making Suncorp Stadium a fortress and putting the fear back into opponents’ eyes. Their dominance at home this season has essentially been the key to why the Roar sits atop the A-League ladder. They haven’t lost there all season and put teams to the sword such as both Sydney outfits. However, a key stat going into this clash is that the Jets took the spoils off the Roar the last time the two sides met, several weeks ago under torrential conditions. The Jets have been in good form themselves in more recent times, despite the home defeat to the Wanderers last weekend. The younger crop that Gary Van Egmond has brought through over the last two years are starting to show their potential. They will definitely take this game to the Roar despite being away from home and the Roar’s impeccable record on home soil. Yet, I can’t see the Roar losing this one, having only conceded the solitary goal at home thus far. Roar 2-0.
Bez says: Brisbane used another ‘get out of jail free card’ last week as for the second time this season they defeated Wellington away 2-1, with Ivan Franjic again scoring the winner. It continues their strong start to the season which sees them five points clear at the top of the table. While for Newcastle they went down 1-0 to Western Sydney and face a tough ask in the Queensland capital Friday night. Even though Newcastle are the most successful away side at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane haven’t lost in their last 9 fixtures at the venue and should win comfortably. Brisbane 3-0.
Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory
Ando says: The Heart will consider themselves extremely unlucky not have taken anything, if not all three points, from last weekend’s encounter with Sydney FC. Socceroo Harry Kewell missed a penalty with arguably one of the worst efforts seen from the spot. To add, they also missed a handful of guilt edge chances from the likes of Michael Mifsud and a late chance from Gol Gol Mebrahtu. Manager John Aloisi was close to pulling his hair out after the much and will expect his side to improve in front of goal if they are to be a chance against their nemesis. The Victory on the other hand were comfortable winners last weekend against the Perth Glory, and ultimately put an end to Alistair Edward’s tenure at the Glory. They looked far more fluent in attack last week and could have easily won by more than the two-goal margin recorded. Despite the Heart improving their performances substantially in the last two weeks, I think the Victory will gain the bragging rights in this one. Victory 2-1.
Bez says: The 21st Melbourne derby will take place on Saturday night as Heart host Victory at AAMI Park. John Aloisi’s side are still winless in their last 15 matches, while Victory sit in 4th spot, 11 points clear of the cross-town rivals. While they share 3 wins a piece (and 4 draws) in the derby, it’s hard to see Heart recording their first win of season 9 this weekend. Victory was impressive in their 2-0 win over Perth Glory last week and will be eager to maintain bragging rights in the city after they defeated the Heart earlier this season. Could we see an upset at AAMI Park? I don’t think so, but stranger things have happened. Melbourne Victory 2-0.
Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC
Ando says: Times are still tough for the boys across the ditch. The Phoenix remain winless after 10 matches in the A-League and the draw isn’t kind to them either going into this clash. They play their rescheduled clash with the Central Coast on Thursday night, due to a handful of the Phoenix players being involved with World Cup qualifiers last month. Then they have the short turnaround to Saturday against the Sky Blues. Two tough matches in the space of 48 hours, including travel and the task seems like an Everest expedition for the Phoenix considering their form. The Sky Blues bounced back from their first defeat in a month to beat the Heart, despite being the second best team in that clash. The positive for them is that they took all three points from that match and certainly have better performances in them. Sydney don’t have the best record at the Cake Tin however, and therefore must put in a better display if they want to continue on their winning way. Sydney 2-1.
Bez says: Records show that Sydney should win this fixture easily as sides coached by Frank Farina (Sydney & Brisbane) have never lost to the Phoenix. Combine that with the fact Sydney have scored 11 goals and conceded only 3 in their past 3 fixtures against Wellington and it looks like a dire situation for the home side. However despite the fact Ernie Merrick’s men are still yet to win this season, I see this fixture as their best chance to earn 3 points. They pushed the Sky Blues at Allianz Stadium in round 7, and Sydney performances haven’t been as impressive as their ladder position indicates. I’m backing the home side in this one. Wellington 2-0.
Perth Glory v Adelaide United
Ando says: This is an intriguing clash to say the least. The Glory appear to be a rabble after the sudden dismissal of manager Alistair Edwards after an apparent senior player revolt. When the manager and captain have a falling out over player selection, in particular the manager’s sons then the situation is always going to end ugly. It will be interesting to see how the Glory respond. On the other hand, the Reds silenced the critics, at least for a week. Josep Gombau’s men also snapped their four-year winless streak against the Mariners, emphatically thumping them at Hindmarsh Stadium last week 4-0. They turned on the style and maybe on the road to playing the football that Gombau has patiently striven for. The outcome of this clash is unpredictable, like the two sides involved. Draw 2-2
Bez says: These two sides must be sick of the sight of each other as this will be the third time the clubs face up this season. Adelaide got the better of Perth at home in round 1, while the team shared the points in Perth in round 6. Adelaide will be inspired after last week’s rout of the Mariners and will be confident they can overcome a Glory side that have spent the week in the headlines with the sacking of coach Alistair Edwards mid-week. History will tell you that teams across all sports generally get a win first up with a new manager, however I’m predicting another draw. Perth 1 – 1 Adelaide
Western Sydney v Central Coast
Ando says: Two of the better and more structured sides in the league. The Wanderers returned to the winner’s list last weekend with a hard fought victory over the Jets in Newcastle. They return to Wanderland this week, where, unlike last year, they have struggled to make it a fortress. Their performance in their last home match against the Heart is categorical evidence to support that argument. They need to be more ruthless on home turf like last season if they want to really make in-roads on the top of the table Brisbane Roar. The Mariners, on the other hand, will be looking to redeem themselves on Monday night after the disaster in Adelaide. They will have a chance earlier than this clash against the Phoenix at North Sydney Oval on Thursday, and should they come up trumps there, they will want to use the momentum of a win against a side like the WSW. This will be a tight clash, but I can see the Wanderers edging it ever so slightly. WSW 1-0.
Bez says: For their third game in 10 days, the reigning champions travel to Pirtek Stadium to face the side they defeated in last season’s decider. A last minute goal to Tomi Juric saw a draw played out at Bluetongue Stadium in round 1. Juric will return for this clash along with Brentan Sandalab who have both been out injured. The Wanderers are currently sitting second and are looking to continue the pressure on front runners Brisbane, while the Central Coast are just trying to find form as they’ve endured a sluggish start to the season. The Mariners have a good record at Parramatta/Pirtek Stadium recording a draw and win in the two fixtures played there last season. However this year is different and they face a tough task on Monday night, which is one I don’t think they’ll overcome. Western Sydney 2-1.