Whether you’re in a tipping or fantasy comp, having a bet, or trying to impress your mates with some knowledge of the game, let Ando & Bez give you their last minute tips to help you find a winner this weekend.
Melbourne Heart vs. Sydney FC: #MHTvSFC
Ando says: How the tide has turned for these two sides. A fortnight ago, and both clubs were scratching their heads wondering if any positivity existed for them. Suddenly, the Heart have a win and nearly took all three off the in-form Adelaide in Adelaide. In contrast, Sydney couldn’t buy a win, let alone a goal, and then they turn on the style belting five into the old onion bag of their bitter rivals the Mebourne Victory in Melbourne. How sweet the feeling would have been for the Sky Blue faithful. In the two occasions these two sides have met this season, Sydney has got the chocolates on both outings and with the result they established in Melbourne last week, heading to AAMI Park shouldn’t bother them. The Heart though are a different proposition to what they have been for the majority of the season, and certainly won’t be a pushover on home soil. Sydney to scrape the win in this one. Sydney 2-1.
Bez says: Rewind back three or four weeks and a fixture between the Heart and Sky Blues would have had you scrambling for the T.V. remote to watch anything else but this game. Fast forward to now and this match will be an interesting affair that could provide a very entertaining contest. Heart were unlucky last week to not pull off a famous away victory, and if it hadn’t been for Ryan Griffiths they would have. Settling for a draw, the Red & White side will take plenty of confidence in to the clash against Sydney. But the Sky Blues cannot be taken lightly, after a surprising 5-0 defeat over the Victory on Australia Day. Former Heart star Richard Garcia returns for Sydney while the home side welcome back Patrick Gerhardt and David Williams. Tough game to find a winner in this one, both sides have shown improvement, I can’t split them on this occasion. Draw 2-2.
Perth Glory vs. Melbourne Victory: #PERvMVC
Ando says: The Glory will be disappointed with the final outcome of lats week’s match against WSW, where they were considered to be a genuine threat to taking something from the match. Instead, they were lethargic and uninspiring, leaving the Wanderers to cruise to a 3-1 win. Yet, they can’t be in a worse predicament than their opponents this week in the Victory. The navy blue half of Melbourne have conceded 10 goals in their last two outings, and conceded five to the arch enemy in Sky Blue. Manager Kevin Muscat was fuming after last week and questioned the entire playing roster’s commitment to the cause, especially as three weeks they put the cleaners through Western Sydney on home turf. They have a long road trip across the Nullabor, and with a tumultuous fortnight still leaving the remnants of a stain, this could be a tough challenge for them mentally more than anything. I think Perth will make it three straight for the Victory. Glory 2-0.
Bez says: Normally home games are meant to provide a focus on the home side, yet for Perth Glory on Friday night, the football public’s focus will be on their opponents. Melbourne Victory have conceded 10 goals in two consecutive 5-0 defeats, which is quite alarming for a team currently sitting fourth. Kevin Muscat has asked all players and staff to take a long, hard look at themselves this week, so it will be interesting to see the performance that is dished up in Perth. The Glory take on the wounded giant that has only won twice in their last 10 visits west (D7), while Perth have never kept a clean sheet in any league fixtures between the two sides. Shane Smeltz is in a rich vein of form since his return from injury and has provided much needed fire power up front, with a boisterous home crowd behind him, Smeltz could be the difference. This is a tough game to decide a winner, however, I’m going with the Glory. I don’t think they’ll score five, but will make it three consecutive losses for the visitors. Perth Glory 2-0.
Wellington Phoenix vs. Adelaide United: #WELvADL
Ando says: This is up there as one of the clashes of the round. Prior to last week, the Phoenix hadn’t lost a match for over a month. Then they met the Roar, who had lost their roar and were purring after a few subdued performances. The Phoenix’s run came to end, but they went down fighting, which pleased the neutral and more importantly manager Ernie Merrick. The Phoenix have what it takes to knock off an Adelaide side who have been in-form themselves lately. The Reds have been unbeaten for the last six weeks, after their run continued against the Heart last week with a 2-2 draw. Yet, a road trip across the Tasman is now becoming a harder proposition for opponents than in the first half of the season. The Phoenix have now made playing across the ditch more intimidating and if they play like they did last week against the Roar, then they will go a long way to claiming three points and ending an unbeaten streak of their own. I think the Phoenix might do just that this weekend. Phoenix 1-0.
Bez says: Another interesting fixture in round 17 comes from Eden Park in Auckland as the 9th placed Phoenix take on the 6th placed Reds. A win for Wellington (and other results going their way) could see them into 7th by the end of the weekend. That fact alone should provide plenty for the improving side. The Reds travel to NZ with a current record of 7 games unbeaten, yet they have never kept a clean sheet over the ditch. That stat looks to continue, as Wellington have been scoring goals for fun of late, with 15 of their 21 goals being scored since round 9. Wellington are coming off an away loss to Brisbane in a game they were leading at half time. While at Coopers Stadium, Adelaide scored an 87th minute equaliser to avoid an embarrassing home loss to Melbourne Heart. Oddly it’s taken till round 17 for the first meeting between the two sides in season 9, and I’m tipping the home side. Wellington 2-0.
Newcastle Jets vs. Western Sydney Wanderers: #NEWvWSW
Ando says: Well, well, well. Where do the Jets go from here? They sack their coach, and generally the installation of a new coach brings about a reinvigorated response. Add to that the occasion of a local derby, and you would think the Jets would be fired up for the occasion. Instead, the viewer got one of the more disinterested performances by a side in many weeks. Clearly, there is an attitude problem of some sort in the Jets camp and that must change should they want to progress forward as players, and as a squad. This week doesn’t bring any relief to the storm surrounding the Jets. Facing the second placed Wanderers is never an easy match, whether home or away. They snapped the two-game losing streak last week by disposing of the Glory at Pirtek Stadium 3-1, and giving Tony Popovic the exact response he would have been craving from his men. I think they will continue on their ways once again this weekend. WSW 2-0.
Bez says: New coach, same result… the Jets are struggling. In an F3 Derby and with a new interim coach you wouldn’t have expected Newcastle to sink any lower. You would’ve been wrong. The Jets walked off at half time last week 3-0 down and out of the contest. To their credit they wouldn’t concede again, however the performance raised more questions than it provided answers. Round 17 doesn’t provide any relief for the Jets as they host the second placed Wanderers. Tony Popovic’s men corrected a two match losing run last week with a 3-1 win over the Glory. Western Sydney have never conceded at Hunter Stadium and have won their last 3 consecutive games at the ground. Newcastle welcome back favourite son Joel Griffiths for the clash as the striker has finally had his loan cleared. He is a welcomed addition for the home side, and should provide plenty for the Jets up front. Thousands of Wanderers fans will travel north for this one, and I believe they’ll be going home happy. Western Sydney 3-0.
Brisbane Roar vs. Central Coast Mariners: #BRIvCCM
Ando says: This is definitely the best match of the round and if both sides maintain the form of last week then this could be one of the all-time classics. It pitches the best attack in the league, the Roar (30 goals), against the best defence in the Mariners (15 goals and seven clean sheets). However, the Mariners have conceded 12 of the 15 goals away from home which may lean the punter toward a Roar victory on home soil. The Mariners were, however, rampant against a lacklustre Jets side last weekend and may have the necessary momentum to make that stat above appear redundant. The Roar though have Besart Berisha back fit and raring to go to prove a point after his announcement to join the Victory as of next season. The Roar have only lost one match at Suncorp this season, and despite the Mariners always providing a real threat to the Roar I think the Queensland outfit will take the last three points on offer for this round. Brisbane 2-1.
Bez says: Round 17 wraps with a classic encounter between the table topping Roar and the third placed Mariners. Both sides are coming off round 16 wins, in games that included cracking goals for both teams, in efforts that will hopefully be re-created on Sunday evening. If you’re having a punt on this game forget about tipping a draw, with only one of the last nine games ending that way. The Mariners have kept the most clean sheets so far this season (7) yet Brisbane have scored in 15 of the last 16 games between the two sides. The Central Coast have more to play for in this game as they currently sit in third, four points clear of the Victory in fourth. They are only 2 points behind the Wanderers in second, and have a game in hand on both sides. Brisbane still 5 points clear in first and will want to keep the Wanderers at arm’s length, as they should win on Saturday night. Besart Berisha is a huge in for the home side and will want to provide plenty after the announcement of his departure next season. A tough game to choose, but it’s Brisbane for mine. Brisbane 1-0.