Adelaide got off the mark, the Wanderers returned to the winners’ circle and Sydney put in a typically professional performance in what was a typically entertaining week of A-League football. In this week’s A-League Predictions article, Week 10 looms as an even better spectacle, with all five fixtures being contested between relatively evenly-matched sides. There are three absolute blockbusters, with the other two matches promising to be abundant with goals and poor defending.
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 10
Sydney FC vs. Melbourne City (ANZ Stadium)
Arguably the match-up of the weekend, Sydney’s near-perfect start to the season will be put to the test against the side that beat the 1-0 in the FFA Cup final just 10 days ago. Melbourne City have been inconsistent this year without the influence of Aaron Mooy in midfield, and surprisingly haven’t scored more than two goals in any of their last 7 league matches. Against Sydney, that is unlikely to change against a Sydney outfit that has conceded just three times in the league this term. City have been far stronger at home than on the road this term, and when you consider that they have kept just one clean sheet all season (0 over their last 8 league matches), it is hard to see the visitors taking anything from this game.
Key Player | Dean Bouzanis – The City shot-stopper has made just one more save than Sydney counterpart Danny Vukovic, however he has conceded 7 more goals.
Prediction | Sydney FC 3 – 1 Melbourne City
Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners (FMG Stadium)
At the other end of the table, Wellington take on Central Coast in what could very well be a season-defining contest. With Adelaide off the mark, the race for the finals has well and truely begun, and whilst it’s unlikely either of these teams will challenge, rarely a season goes by without a surprise. Wellington strung together back-to-back wins at the start of November before a postponement, Melbourne City and significantly Adelaide United halted their momentum. Wellington won the reverse fixture last month, however Central Coast have shown potential on the occasions they’ve put in a solid 90 minute effort. This match will be very competitive in all likelihood, with neither side boasting polished combinations through midfield or in attack as yet. A 3-2 result wouldn’t surprise, but with the ‘Nix at home (an advantage they haven’t had very often this season) we’re unwilling to back against them. There is too much room for improvement in a side that has converted just 8% of its shots into goals this season for the dire results to continue for too much longer.
Key Player | Kosta Barbarouses – Just one of the Phoenix’s underperforming Victory recruits, we’re backing Barbarouses to open his account for the season this weekend. Roy Krishna’s pace and a lack of cohesion in midfield has seen him be the focal point so far this season, but the New Zealand international steps up in this one.
Prediction | Wellington Phoenix 2 – 2 Central Coast Mariners
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Melbourne Victory (ANZ Stadium)
The second contender for match of the round, the Wanderers returned to winning ways last weekend, dispatching a woeful Central Coast side. Prior to that, the club was winless in their past six, and the move away from Pirtek Stadium has taken its toll on a historically emotional and passionate group of players. Melbourne Victory meanwhile have been strong without being exceptional. Contrary to what Kevin Muscat’s post-match interviews may suggest, the Victory have not comprehensively outplayed their opponents in every match this season. At times they look lethargic, and Besart Berisha is receiving nowhere near the supply he had last season. Both sides are suspect at the back, at whilst the numbers point to a high-scoring game, we see this game getting bogged down at times. Victory should expect to win, however the Wanderers may found some confidence following last week’s effort. The Aspropotamitis vs. Rojas battle will be sensational.
Key Player | Jonathan Aspropotamitis – Marco Rojas is arguably the form player in the competition, and whilst the Wanderers will try to deprive the Victory of room on the counter, should Rojas find space, Aspropotamitis’ ability to track him will prove crucial.
Prediction | Western Sydney Wanderers 1 – 1 Melbourne Victory
Perth Glory vs. Newcastle Jets (nib Stadium)
Our tip for the biggest win of the weekend goes to Perth. The Jets have rarely been blown out this season, however they have still conceded 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 league fixtures. They’ve lost each of their last six trips to Perth, a record which is unlikely to change given the Glory are undefeated in their last 10 at home. All of this points to fairly one-way traffic on Saturday night. The Glory’s lone weakness is defensive frailty and sometimes an inability to play responsibly once a lead has been established. Even if they become completely reckless however, the Jets score an average of 1 goal per game, and are unlikely to match the 3-4 we see Keogh and company putting past the visitors.
Key Player | Andy Keogh – In our opinion we are still to see the best of Keogh this season. Whilst he hasn’t been terrible (aside from his penalty-taking ability) there is scope for him to really get going in this campaign given the supply he’s likely to receive here (Newcastle have conceded the 2nd most shots in the league this season).
Prediction | Perth Glory 4 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Brisbane Roar vs. Adelaide United (Suncorp Stadium)
The third contender for ‘Match of the Round’, and the second most significant fixture of the weekend will round out Week 10 of this season. Brisbane have defended their way to 4th on the ladder, however they’ll need to play far better to keep that standing moving forward. Adelaide meanwhile have a chance to move within striking distance of the Top 6 and can exponentially build on the confidence last week’s win gave them. Keeping alive the belief that last year’s resurgence wasn’t a one-off is key to their season, and a heavy loss here would be devastating. Brisbane have drawn their last four games 1-1, however only one of those was at home (and it was against Sydney). A move back to Suncorp is significant for the hosts who are undefeated (2 wins, 2 draws) at the ground this season. A low-scoring clash is expected, and whilst a draw wouldn’t surprise, we can’t see a fifth consecutive Brisbane match in a stalemate.
Key Player | Jamie McLaren – Fresh of being named the best u23 player in the competition, Jamie Maclaren should be on a high. The rumours of Robbie Keane to Brisbane however could ruffle some feathers however. How will the young star respond?
Prediction | Brisbane Roar 1 – 0 Adelaide United