After a short break to refresh ourselves for the festive season, we’re back with predictions for the all-important Christmas round. The Wanderers kick off the round against Newcastle of Christmas Eve but the highlight of the Round has to go to Sundays clash between 2nd placed Brisbane Roar and the free scoring Melbourne City.
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 12 – Matchday 1, 2015/2016
(1) Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets (7)
Venue: Pirtek Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: March 21, 2015 (1-2)
Both these teams come into this one on the back of draws. Western Sydney finally had their winning streak come to an end, surprisingly at the hands of Perth Glory. Newcastle failed to make any ground on the top 6 suffering through a nil all draw with fellow strugglers Adelaide United.
Western Sydney will look to bounce back from a disappointing draw last week and while Newcastle aren’t easy beats, they will like their chances this week. The Jets haven’t won since Round 5 and have been kept scoreless in their last 3 games. By contrast, The Wanderers have scored at least 2 in each of their last 7 games since meeting The Jets in November. Mitch Nichols hasn’t showed any signs of slopping his goal scoring form and will be the main threat for the home side. Aside from a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Melbourne City, Newcastle has a solid defensive record and only 3 sides have conceded fewer goals.
Key Statistic | Newcastle Jets have scored the least goals of any club with just 9 in 11 games while Western Sydney Wanderers has the second most with 18.
Key Player | Mitch Nichols Nichols is banging them in for fun at the moment and no reason to think he’ll stop now.
Prediction | Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 0 Newcastle Jets
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 12 – Matchday 2, 2015/2016
(9) Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix (6)
Venue: Coopers Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: December 31, 2014 (1-3)
Wellington’s hot and cold season continued with a 1 all draw with Sydney FC while Adelaide United should have got more out of a nil all draw with Newcastle Jets last week.
This one isn’t exactly a Boxing Day blockbuster given how these teams are travelling at the moment, but both have shown glimpses of how good they can be. Adelaide and Wellington seem to be taking it in turns of 3 to get wins out of this fixture with, Wellington winning the last 3 matches, and Adelaide taking the points in the 3 before that. The Nix will be missing at least a couple of key players this week with Tom Doyle serving a suspension while Louis Fenton will miss the game through injury. The Reds would like their chances of getting a win in this game with Wellington’s depleted defence but I think Wellington has enough fire power to hit back and prevent a loss.
Key Statistic | The last 4 games between Adelaide and Wellington have resulted in 15 goals and while neither team has been particularly prolific goal scorers this season, both have the quality to put plenty on the board.
Key Player | Roy Krishna. He is ofthen forgotten about being all the way over in New Zealand but Roy Krishna is one of the most exciting players in the league. He always had the killer instinct but his first touch has improved dramatically this season and he already has 6 goals to his name.
Prediction | Adelaide United 2 – 2 Wellington Phoenix
(4) Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Allianz Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: February 21, 2015 (4-2)
Sydney FC are still yet to really hit a good patch of form this season and remain 4th on the ladder after a 1 all draw with Wellington Phoenix. Things didn’t improve for Central Coast after the suffered their 5th consecutive defeat, this time at the hands of Brisbane Roar.
This one looks like a no brainer on paper, and I’d have to agree that Sydney FC should get the job done comfortably at home. Filip Holosko is finding the back of the net again and aside from a slip up against Melbourne Victory, their defence is solid. The only question mark is how they are managing to score so few goals with such attacking depth, but maybe Holosko’s decent form can turn that around. Central Coast on the other hand have the same attacking problems but without the defensive capability to restore some balance. They have conceded the most goals of any team by a margin (24) and just aren’t showing improvement. There is always a little bit in this one these days with the likes of Matt Simon and Graham Arnold ditching the Mariners for Sydney FC. Having said that, the Sky Blues should comfortably win this one.
Key Statistic | Central Coast has conceded 12 goals in their last 3 clashes against Sydney FC and considering their defensive woes this season, it’s not too farfetched to think that they will let in another 3 or 4 this week.
Key Player | Matthew Jurman. I never thought I’d be saying this after his time at Brisbane, but Matt Jurman has turned into a defensive rock at Sydney FC. So far he has completed every single game and is part of the best defence in the competition. Despite being a game where Sydney FC should dominate, he will need to stay alert to stifle any counter attacks. With the Sky Blues attacking record not being the best, a defensive slip up cold be the difference between winning and losing.
Prediction | Sydney FC 2 – 0 Central Coast Mariners
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 12 – Matchday 3, 2015/2016
(5) Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory (8)
Venue: AAMI Park| Last Corresponding Meeting: November 7 2015 (2-0)
Melbourne Victory are on a horrendous run of 4 consecutive defeats after losing to cross town rivals Melbourne City last week. Perth Glory earned a point in a 2 all draw with ladder leaders Western Sydney Wanderers.
Perth Glory defeated Melbourne Victory less than 2 weeks ago at nib Stadium with a competent display. They’ll be liking their chances again this week after getting 2 wins and a draw against the table topping Western Sydney Wanderers in their last 3 outings. They would be foolish to think it’s 3 points in the bag though as Melbourne Victory put on an improved display in the second half of their game last week and should have got something out of the match. It was of course Besart Berisha that scored the goal to turn the momentum and he will be the main threat again this week. It’s no surprise that Perth’s turn in fortune coincided with the return of Josh Risdon and he will again be important in the Glory midfield against arguable the best midfield in the competition.
Key Statistic | Melbourne Victory have had 32 successful crosses to Perth’s 20. Their wingers are their main attacking outlet and regularly penetrate defensive lines before pinging in dangerous crosses. When you look at attempted crosses the numbers gap gets even wider with Melbourne having 136 failed crosses to Perth’s 68. Stop Melbourne’s wingers putting in dangerous balls and you go a long way to ensuring they have few chances created.
Key Player | Besart Berisha. He’s still the focal point of Victory’s attack and looks to be at his goal poaching best. Perth have played 3 games in the space of a weak which will make for a weary defence, likely to make mistakes. That is the environment Berisha thrives in.
Prediction | Melbourne Victory 3 – 0 Perth Glory
(2) Brisbane Roar FC v Melbourne City FC (3)
Venue: Suncorp Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting November 20, 2015 (1-1)
Brisbane Roar reclaimed outright second place on the ladder last week with an assured 1-0 victory over Central Coast Mariners. City are right on their tails now though after their impressive 2-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
This should be an exciting match between 2 of the best teams in the competition. Brisbane suffered a bit of a stutter before getting back on track with a couple of wins while City have gone from strength to strength in recent weeks. It will be a fascinating battle between the midfield big hitters Aaron Mooy and the likes of Thomas Broich and Corona. Steven Lustica could make way for Petratos after his match-winning goal last week while McLaren and Fornaroli should remain the focal points or their respective attacks. Brisbane shouldn’t crumble under pressure like some of City’s recent opposition and it will be another tough task for Melbourne after their derby last week. Brisbane have the defensive structure and have been creating enough chances to win this game but I think it will be a tight affair.
Key Statistic | Brisbane have won their last 5 home fixtures going back to round 26 last season.
Key Player | Aaron Mooy. Best player in the league by far and will be key to unlocking Brisbane’s sound defence. He will surely be closely marked by Brisbane’s deeper laying midfielders.
Prediction | Brisbane Roar 2 – 1 Melbourne City