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 Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix: #BRIvWEL
Ando says: Hmmmm, this one could have many a punter thinking to kick off the weekend’s A-league action. The Roar lost their last match at home to the rampant Adelaide United and then semi-capitulated in the early stages of last week before claiming a point in the west. They face a Wellington side that is the most in-form side in the competition besides the Reds. They have not lost in five weeks, and they demolished the Victory 5-0 at the ‘Cake Tin’. They have players high on confidence and well in form; Cunningham, Huysegums and Brockie finally broke his goal drought. We know how dangerous he can be. The Roar will be looking to regain some form at home, but I think the Phoenix will maintain their unbeaten record. Draw 1-1.
Bez says: Round 16 kicks off with an interesting clash between the rising Phoenix and the stuttering Roar. Brisbane returns home after a 0-0 draw away to Perth Glory, in a game that saw departing striker Besart Berisha sent off. While Wellington head to Suncorp after a 5-0 drubbing of Melbourne Victory. The Phoenix were clinical in their win over a depleted Victory, yet they still sit in second last spot. With a win (and other results going their way) they could sit seventh come Sunday evening and that will provide them with plenty of motivation coming into this clash. Brisbane will be without Berisha, Franjic, Miller, and McKay which are four key losses and provide Wellington a great chance to get another win in Australia, which I believe they will. Wellington 2-1.
Adelaide United vs. Melbourne Heart: #ADLvMHT
Ando says: Finally, yes finally, the Melbourne Heart have broken their 19-game winless streak. Maybe they will have the confidence to go on a winning streak like the Phoenix. THUMP! Yep, that was the sound of the Heart coming back to Earth from cloud nine. They may have won a match and they may have been bought out by Sheikh-driven Manchester City, but it doesn’t mean all the doom and gloom has been lifted for the red half of Melbourne. They face a rampant Reds side who haven’t lost in six matches and who have beaten both the Roar and the Wanderers in the last fortnight. They have suddenly moved from the trenches at the bottom half of the table to making a serious case to be considered a title contender with those sides they have just beaten. The Reds back on home turf for a second consecutive week to run riot against the Heart. Adelaide 3-0.
Bez says: For the second straight week, Josep Gombau’s side will enjoy a home fixture, with the Reds this week hosting Melbourne Heart. The Red & White half of Melbourne are on a 1 game winning streak at the moment, which while not sounding impressive does come on the back of 19 consecutive games without a victory. Heart were impressive in their 3-1 defeat of Newcastle after going a goal down early in the first half, with Harry Kewell starring, a performance that has people talking about a possible World Cup spot going to the former Leeds and Liverpool player. Adelaide provide a much tougher opposition for the Heart, as they slowly see themselves climb the ladder, after recording four wins from their last six fixtures which include the prize scalps of Western Sydney and Brisbane. Based on that, it’s hard to go past the home side, unfortunately Heart’s winning streak ends at 1. Adelaide 2-0.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets: #F3Derby
Ando says: One of the A-League’s fiercest derbies is the F3 Derby, or should we call it the M1 derby now? I think everyone is just as confused as these two sides. The Jets have had a challenging week to say least, with the mutual termination of Gary Van Egmond’s contract. Youth coach Clayton Zane takes the reins in the interim and will have a difficult task of getting the Jets off the ground, so to speak. They haven’t won in a month and now have the tag of losing to the hapless Heart as of last Friday night. The Central Coast had one of the scrappier wins on record, beating Sydney FC 1-0 last week. They weren’t convincing and that is putting it bluntly. They look a shadow of the team that existed under Graham Arnold’s tutelage, so Phil Moss will want a change to the mundane performances they have been producing of late. I think CCM to take the points in this derby – but only just! CCM 1-0.
Bez says: The 31st edition of the A-League’s original rivalry takes place in Round 16, with the Mariners hosting the Jets. The visitors are coming off a tumultuous week with now former head coach Gary Van Egmond being sacked after their loss to the Heart. Interim Coach Clayton Zane takes the reins of a team that hasn’t won in Gosford in five years, and are currently four games without a win. Saturday night will Phil Moss’ first F3 Derby as Mariners head coach, with his side coming off a strong 1-0 win over Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium. The win puts the Central Coast into third spot as they continue their tussle with Melbourne Victory for that ladder position. It was is normally a highly entertaining affair (with the odd bit of spite) I can’t see the Mariners losing at home. It will be another long trip home for the Squadron on Saturday night. Central Coast 2-0.
Melbourne Victory vs. Sydney FC: #BigBlue
Ando says: This traditional Australia Day clash is likely to have the spice and fieriness of many that have come before it. The Melbourne Victory week has entailed mixed fortunes to say the least. They knocked of WSW 3-1, then were thumped 5-0 in windy Wellington. Their form is ridiculously inconsistent and this could (I use the word ‘could’ lightly) play into Sydney FC’s hands. Who will turn up? Off the field and they have had a recruiting boom. They have signed Socceroo and World Cup hopeful Tommy Rogic on loan for the remainder of the season, which will be an added boost to Kevin Muscat’s midfield. They have signed Besart Berisha for the next two seasons, so the future is looking bright. Sydney, on the other hand, are a shambolic mess and the road looks very bleak at present. Without a genuine lack of direction visible to the faithful, this has to be the lowest point in the Sky Blues’ history. They have looked dysfunctional on the pitch in recent weeks and I’m not sure that it will change this week. It is a Big Blue derby match, so they should put up a fight, but the Victory will be too good on home soil. Victory 2-1.
Bez Says: Australia Day plays host to another important rivalry fixture in round 16, with the Big Blue between Victory and Sydney FC taking place. In the 28 Big Blue matches, Victory have a slight advantage with 9 wins to Sydney’s 7, with the sides splitting the points on 12 occasions. It’s been a big week for the Victory with Tom Rogic joining the club on loan and Besart Berisha signing on with the club for next season. But for now all eyes will be on Rogic who returns to Australia looking to sure up a World Cup spot after a so far failed stint in Scotland with Celtic. Kevin Muscat has hinted that Rogic will start from the bench, and it will be interesting to see the type of player that returns, after Rogic scored 5 goals in 24 appearances for the Mariners and lit up the competition. The less talked about the Sky Blues the better, the club is in all sorts at the moment, with fans threatening to not renew memberships next season if Sydney continue the path their on. Two clubs at opposite ends of the spectrum this weekend, and it’s the darker shade of blue that will be celebrating this weekend. Melbourne Victory 3-0.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Perth Glory: #WSWvPER
Ando says: The last fixture of Round 16 sees the WSW trying to come off a two-game winless streak against the Perth Glory. I’m not of the belief that WSW are in a ‘slump’ as some others are portraying, especially when you consider the Heart hadn’t won all year up until last week. Now that is a slump, according to WSW goalkeeper Ante Covic. The Wanderers won their last home match in the Sydney derby, but it was hardly convincing considering they were outplayed for much of the second half. They have recently lost to the Victory and Reds away in the last fortnight, so I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom. For the Glory, they have claimed seven of their last nine points and have built some confidence under new coach Kenny Lowe. Shane Smeltz has returned to the side and is looking better with more game time. Surprisingly they haven’t met all season and this will be tough task for the Glory. I think WSW to scrape to three points. WSW 1-0.
Bez says: Round 16 will be come to end Sunday night as Perth Glory travel east to take on the Wanderers. Western Sydney enter the fixture on the back of two consecutive losses, while Perth have won 2 of their last 3. Despite some teams having already played each other 3 times so far this season, this is first meeting between the two clubs. The last time these two sides met at Pirtek Stadium was in February last year with home side claiming a 1-0 win. It’s always hard to tip against the Wanderers at home, especially when they come up against a Glory side that has only won 1 game away so far this season (vs. Newcastle). I believe the Wanderers will get to winning ways in front of their adoring fans, a comprehensive victory all round. Western Sydney 2-0