It’s been another tumultuous week for A-League and FFA with fan walkouts, football bashing in the media and a cop out conference by David Gallop. With more threats of boycotts this week, there’s no guarantee the focus will be back on the football but we’ll do out best to shine a light back on the game.
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 9 – Matchday 1, 2015/2016
(8) Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City FC (6)
Venue: Central Coast Stadium | Last Corresponding Meeting: January 5, 2015 (2-0)
Western Sydney ensured that Central Coast Mariners suffered a 5th defeat for the season while Melbourne City kept up their erratic reputation with a 5-1 thumping of Perth Glory.
When these teams met less than 2 months ago it was an exciting affair with Melbourne City coming away with a 3-1 win. Since then City has gone on to score double the goals (18 to 9) but conceding only 1 less (15 to 16) I talk about how frustratingly inconsistent Melbourne City are almost every week and about how good Aaron Mooy is almost as much so I’m going to give it a rest this week. Last week the Mariners only managed 6 shots on goal and were kept scoreless for the first time this season. They should get a few more chances this week given City’s defensive frailties but I don’t think it will be enough to get their season back on track with a win. Melbourne have too many attacking options and Central Coast have their own defensive problems.
Key Statistic | Central Coast Mariners have already received 2 red cards this season and conceded 20 more fouls than Melbourne City (143). They need sort out their disciplinary issues and keep 11 players on the field for a better chance of winning games.
Key Player | Bruno Fornaroli. It would be very easy to put Aaron Mooy here every week but that would be terribly boring very quickly so I’ve gone with Fornaroli. When these teams met earlier in the season Fornaroli scored a double and currently tops the scoring charts with 6 after his goal last week.
Prediction | Central Coast Mariners 1 – 3 Melbourne City
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 9 – Matchday 2, 2015/2016
(4) Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets (5)
Venue: Allianz Stadium | Last Corresponding Meeting: January 3, 2015 (0-0)
Sydney FC played out their 3rd lifeless nil all draw this season against Wellington Phoenix. In Newcastle, the Jets completed their 3rd draw in a row with the scores being locked at 1 all with Brisbane Roar.
Newcastle again showed they’re not to be underestimated again with an attacking display against an impressive Brisbane Roar. That doesn’t necessarily mean goals against Sydney FC who have played out a number of bore draws already this season and are kings of stifling an attacking opposition. This style of football certainly has its critics and Sydney coach Graham Arnold had his own little tantrum about ugly games last week despite his team being the main culprit. Regardless, those tactics have his team sitting just above the Jets at 4th on the ladder and Newcastle need to find a way to break them down. Despite managing a draw against Brisbane, Newcastle managed only the 1 shot on target, they will need to do better this week or we’re all in for a long 90 minutes.
Key Statistic | Sydney FC has kept more clean sheets (5) this season than scored in different fixtures (3). All their 6 goals have come from 3 matches. They also have almost 500 passes than Newcastle, that’s a lot of tapping the ball around for little result in terms of a goal. Don’t expect to be to thrilled watching this game.
Key Player | Enver Alivodic. Had a great season for the Jets last year but has failed to really find his feet this season. He needs to offer more as an attacking option now that the Jets have a decent well organised defence.
Prediction | Sydney FC 1 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 9 – Matchday 3, 2015/2016
(7) Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory (1)
Venue: QBE Stadium (Auckland) | Last Corresponding Meeting: April 12, 2014 (1-4)
Wellington Phoenix came away with a point after the dull nil all draw against Sydney FC that I banged on about above, while Melbourne Victory nabbed top spot and a 4th consecutive victory with a win over Adelaide United.
The Melbourne Victory machine keeps rolling on and doesn’t look like slowing down with the announcement that star striker Besart Berisha has signed on for another 2 years. Earlier this season Melbourne dispatched Wellington 3-0 and haven’t looked back since. The Nix’s season has been up and down since with a win, a loss and 2 draws. Melbourne Victories marauding wingers Kosta Barbarouses and Fahid Ben Kahlfallah have created 19 chances and scored 3 goals between them. Wellington fullbacks Tom Doyle and Justin Gulley will have their hands full all game and most likely won’t get much of a chance to go forward cutting off supply to their forwards. On paper this looks like an easy win for the away side, and I think they’ll win, but I also think it will be closer than people expect.
Key Statistic | These teams both have very similar attacking statistics with Victory having scored only 2 more goals, only 3 more shots on target and even 1 less shot off target. The real difference is in defence with the Nix conceding 13 to Melbourne’s 7 and having faced 9 more shots.
Key Player | Besart Berisha. Easy one, shares top spot on the goal scoring charts after another goal last week and will be looking to celebrate his new contract with another one this week. He is never heavily involved in games but always pops up at the right time to poke home a goal.
Prediction | Wellington Phoenix 1 – 2 Melbourne Victory
(2) Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar (4)
Venue: Pirtek Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting: October 8, 2015 (1-3)
Western Sydney made it 5 in a row with a comfortable 2-0 win over the Mariners. They’ll come up against Brisbane Roar who played out their 2nd 1 all draw in as many weeks, this time away to Newcastle Jets.
Two of the biggest surprise packets this season come up against each other for the second time this season after Brisbane cruised to victory in their Round 1 encounter. This is an intriguing fixture and could give us a glimpse as to how far these teams have come now we’re well into the season. Ex Brisbane Roar star Mitch Nichols has been in outstanding form for the Wanderers and could be influential. Since the departures of Paartalu and Brattan, Brisbane have been without a recognised defensive midfield rock and those are the kinds of areas Nichols likes to exploit. These teams are incredibly closely matched statistically with both recording 3 clean sheets, both conceding 7 goals, Brisbane having scored 1 more goal and Western Sydney higher on the ladder by 1 point. Interestingly they have the lowest amount of yellow cards though Brisbane are still far more disciplined having earned only 9 cards to Western Sydney’s 18.
Key Statistic | Their last 2 encounters have resulted in 9 goals and while Brisbane havne’t scored more than 1 in each of their last 4 matches, Western Sydney have been banging them in with 9 goals in their last 4 games.
Key Player | Mitch Nichols. For all the reasons mentioned above. For the relatively small amount of touches he gets per game compared to other play makers in the league, he has a huge influence on matches.
Prediction | Western Sydney Wanderers 2 – 2 Brisbane Roar
Hyundai A-League Predictions: Round 9 – Matchday 4, 2015/2016
(10) Adelaide United v Perth Glory (9)
Venue: Coopers Stadium| Last Corresponding Meeting February 15, 2015 (1-1)
Not a great outing for either of these teams last week with Adelaide going down to Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory being demolished 5-1 by Melbourne City.
This bottom of the table clash may not have too many mouths watering but it’s a perfect opportunity for Adelaide to finally get their first win of the season. They’re never going to get a better chance than against the second worst ranked team on the back of a hiding. They will have to do it without winger Craig Goodwin who will be serving a 1-match suspension but they also welcome back forward Babalj after a long injury lay off. Gyorgy Sandor hasn’t scored for Perth since Round 2 and could make a return this week along with Josh Risdon, which can only be a good thing. I don’t think it will be enough to stop them going down to a desperate Adelaide side on Sunday evening.
Key Statistic | Perth’s passing accuracy is at a poor 69% compared to Adelaide’s 77.6%. Not unexpected given these teams style of play but Perth’s direct style of football isn’t resulting in victories or goals so it may be time for a tactical tweak.
Key Player | Tarek Elrich. Elrich played some good football last season but has fallen of the wagon a bit this term. He was able to get into dangerous positions more often under Gombau but so far this season has been confined to defensive duties, which haven’t been going so well conceding the second most goals in the league.
Prediction | Adelaide United 2 – 0 Perth Glory