Brisbane have climbed back to the summit of the A-League ladder but it’s tight at the top with Western Sydney having a chance to take top spot back this week. Which brings us to the game of the Round, Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers. It’s 3 v 2 and two of the most exciting teams to watch so make sure not to miss it.
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 14: Matchday 1, 2015/2016
(10) Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory (5)
Venue: Simonds Stadium (Geelong)| Last Corresponding Meeting: December 4, 2014 (0-3)
Melbourne VIctory finally broke their Newcastle Jets hoodoo with a 1 nil victory for their first win since Round 8. Central Coast also scored a 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix to record their first win since Round 1.
Both these teams come into this one on the back of important victories after a lean stretch. Central Coast’s attacking intent finally paid off but it’s come at a cost with O’Donovan set for a lengthy ban after his head-butt on Manny Muscat. He will be sorely missed for this one, as he is Central Coast’s most active forward with 27 shots at goal. Victory will still be without captain Valeri and Finkler may miss another week as well, but that shouldn’t hinder them too much this week. Storm Roux is a good young defender but I expect him to struggle against Khalfallah, especially as things might turn around for him this season after his goal last week.
Key Statistic | When you take away O’Donovan’s 4 goals and the 4 penalties Central Coast have scored, they only have 7 other goals. There aren’t a lot of genuine goal scorers in the team so O’Donovan’s loss will have a big impact.
Key Player | Kosta Barbarouses. He provided a beautiful assist last week and will be a handful for Josh Rose or the right wing this week. Has been one of Melbourne’s best this season.
Prediction | Central Coast Mariners 0 – 2 Melbourne Victory
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 14: Matchday 2, 2015/2016
(4) Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets (8)
Venue: ANZ Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: December 4, 2015 (1-0)
Sydney FC were disappointed to only come away with a 2 all draw with Melbourne City while Newcastle Jets suffered their 8th week without a win, going down 1-0 to Melbourne Victory.
Neither of these teams are at the top of their game at the moment, but things are certainly looking a lot better on the table at least, for Sydney FC. Goals have been hard to come by for the Sky Blues yet they still have almost double the goals of Newcastle. Sydney should have a full compliment of attackers at their disposal with Matt Simon returning from suspension and captain Alex Brosque likely to return from an injury lay off. The returning forwards brings no certainty of a victory though as the Jets have a well-organised defence and Sydney FC have only scraped through for 1-0 victories in their last 2 encounters.
Key Statistic | Newcastle haven’t scored in their last 5 matches and they’re coming up against one of the best defences. I don’t give them much of a chance of scoring against Sydney.
Key Player | Milos Ninkovic. He showed just how good of an attacking asset he can be for Sydney last week and they need more of that in the future. They have been lacking creative spark this season and his couple of goals last week could inspire him to step up more often.
Prediction | Sydney FC 1 – 0 Newcastle Jets
(3) Melbourne City v (2) Western Sydney Wanderers
Venue: AAMI Park| Last Corresponding Meeting: November 13, 2015 (0-3)
Melbourne City held on for a 2 all draw with Sydney FC last week while Western Sydney Wanderers surrendered top spot on the ladder win a nil all draw at home to Adelaide United.
Western Sydney have stumbled a bit in recent weeks with 2 draws which has allowed Brisbane Roar to overtake them on the ladder. They dominated the game against Adelaide but didn’t convert their chances and it cost them 3 points. City have had a tough run in recent weeks, playing everyone in the top 5 with the exception of Western Sydney. They have come out okay with a loss, draw and a win so this game will give them a better idea of where they sit in that top 5. Given recent form, the Wanderers are a tougher prospect than both Sydney and Victory. The outcome of this match will depend heavily on the health of City’s 3 stars Aaron Mooy, Erik Paartalu and Ivan Franjic. Mooy in nursing broken ribs and is no certainty to start while Paartalu and Franjic have minor injuries and are more likely to return. If those 3 make the squad I can see them getting a win but without them I give City very little chance.
Key Statistic | When Western Sydney Wanderers thrashed Melbourne City 3-0 in November, City were missing both Aaron Mooy and Ivan Franjic. Missing either of those 2 this week could result in a similar score line.
Key Player | Mark Bridge. Bridge was quiet last week and he only got 1 shot away. He’s been in great scoring form for the Wanderers and he needs to do better than that when they’ve come to rely on him.
Prediction | Melbourne City 1 – 2 Western Sydney Wanderers
(9) Perth Glory v Adelaide United (7)
Venue: nib Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: October 25, 2015 (3-1)
Perth Glory went down to the highflying Brisbane Roar 2-1 last week while Adelaide United held on for a nil all draw with 2nd placed Western Sydney Wanderers.
Glory almost snatched a point against Brisbane Roar late on but in general they gave the opposition far too much space in midfield. Adelaide United has the creative talent to take advantage of this should they do the same this week. Perth don’t have a very defensive minded midfield and the likes of Isaias and Carrusca may end up running rings around the young Oxborrow. Adelaide is also on a decent run of form with their last defeat coming back in November and they’ve beaten some good teams in that time, including Perth Glory. I’m backing the Reds to get their first away win of the season in this one.
Key Statistic | Adelaide United have only conceded 1 goal in their last 5 A-League outings which includes 2 away games.
Key Player | Diego Castro. The experienced Spaniard has done well since arriving in Perth but sometimes lacks the composure to finish as often as he should. He often finds himself in good position and if he can convert those chances to goals, Perth can be a dangerous team.
Prediction | Perth Glory 0 – 1 Adelaide United
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 14: Matchday 3, 2015/2016
(6) Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar (1)
Venue: Westpac Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting October 24, 2015 (3-2)
Wellington Phoenix suffered a shock thrashing 3-1 at the hands of Central Coast Mariners last week. A bit further north, Brisbane’s revival kept going with a solid 2-1 victory over a resilient Perth Glory.
On paper this looks like it will be a routine win for the ladder leaders but things rarely work that way in Wellington. Brisbane were top of the ladder when these teams met in Wellington in Round 3 but lost 3-2 to a late Powell goal for the home side. The Nix will be without Manny Muscat as he serves his 2 game suspension, which could create a problem on the left flank as that’s where Brisbane have been strong in recent weeks with Shane Stefanutto pinging in crosses. Henrique has been in outstanding form off the bench and will likely be utilised in the same way this week as he just doesn’t have the same impact on the starting team. Wellington will look to Michael McGlinchey to provide creative spark as he has created the most chances in the league (31) of any player other than Aaron Mooy.
Key Statistic | Brisbane Roar can equal the clubs longest ever winning streak of 5 if the beat Wellington Phoenix this weekend.
Key Player | Dimi Petraton. I have been quite critical of Petratos in the past but he has stepped up this season. He isn’t scoring as many goals as he would like but providing chances and getting assists and keeping Henrique out of the starting team.
Prediction | Wellington Phoenix 1 – 2 Brisbane Roar