After a disrupted start the A-League season is in full swing – and there’s a bumper seven-match schedule on offer for fans and punters this week.
History: Played 24: Western Sydney 9 V Newcastle 8 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: January 8, 2021: Western Sydney 2 d Newcastle 1 at McDonald Jones Stadium
Final Thoughts: Western Sydney Wanderers come off a weekend’s rest aiming to build on a solid start to the season. After a first-up loss to Macarthur, they beat Newcastle, drew with Sydney FC and became the first team this season to defeat Central Coast. Wanderers have conceded just three goals in four games.
Embattled Newcastle earned some respite after losing their first four games, beating Wellington 2-1 in Wollongong on Sunday. Valentino Yuel scored for the third game in a row, while Roy O’Donovan’s drought-breaking goal sealed the much-needed result.
The teams met three weeks ago in Newcastle, with Wanderers snapping an eight-match winless streak against the Jets with a 2-1 success. Ziggy Gordon and Tate Russell scored for Western Sydney before Nigel Boogaard pegged one back for Newcastle. The Jets have managed two wins and two draws from their last four games away to WSW.
Despite their tough start, the Jets have not been terrible defensively. Wanderers’ early success has been built on excellent defence but they still have a long way to go attack-wise. The value here lies with a WSW win and the under.
History: Played 3: Western United 3 V Victory 0
Last meeting: July 25, 2020: Western United 2 d Victory 1 at BankWest Stadium
Final Thoughts: It’s been a rollercoaster start to Western United’s sophomore campaign, starting with a scoreless draw against Adelaide, followed by a 2-1 loss to Melbourne City after a lengthy break and culminating in a thrilling 5-4 win over Perth Glory last weekend. Dylan Pierias’ four-minute brace in the second half turned a one-goal deficit into a lead, while Steven Lustica struck the 84th-minute match-winner.
Under-pressure Melbourne Victory enjoyed an upturn this week, following up their early losses to Brisbane (3-1) and Adelaide (1-0) with a 2-1 win over Perth on Tuesday. The Victory trailed at the 85-minute mark before Jake Brimmer scored two late goals to snatch the W. Callum McManaman and Rudy Gestede are on the injured list for this clash, however.
Though Western United have lost all five derbies against Melbourne City, they have had the wood on their other ‘big brother’, beating the Victory three times in as many attempts. Besart Berisha scored three goals across the three games, won by the new boys 3-2, 3-1 and 2-1.
Both sides bring a bit of confidence and momentum into this one, but the short turnaround and injuries could hurt the Victory.
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: Macarthur FC’s debut campaign steps up a notch with their maiden clash against A-League superpowers Sydney FC.
But the Bulls have made an impressive 2-1-1 start, including a 1-all draw with the Phoenix and a 2-1 win over the Jets since their sole loss to the Mariners. Loic Puyo and Matt Derbyshire scored inside 25 minutes to spearhead the victory in Newcastle.
Sydney FC, with just one win from their opening three games, have a point to prove. After being held to a 1-all draw by Wanderers, the champs went down 2-0 at home to the Mariners.
Expect the Sky Blues to come out firing, while Macarthur’s two-week layoff may stunt their early rhythm.
History: Played 43: Brisbane 18 V Adelaide 18 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: July 19, 2020: Adelaide 1 d Brisbane 0 at Cbus Stadium
Final Thoughts: Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United are both shooting for their third win of the season when they meet in Redcliffe.
After a first-up loss to Melbourne City, the Roar put away Melbourne Victory (3-1) and accounted for the Jets (2-1) last week despite an 18-day gap between games. Dylan Wenzel-Halls bagged the Roar’s last goal in both victories.
Adelaide boast a 2-1-1 record, bookending their 5-3 loss to Perth with shutouts of Melbourne City (2-0) and Melbourne Victory (1-0). Mohamed Toure found the back of the net in United’s last two games.
Adelaide have won five of their last six against Brisbane, including a pair of 1-0 victories in the teams’ three encounters last season.
I’m leaning towards the Roar at home, but it shapes as a fascinating duel with both teams bringing decent goalscoring form into this Saturday night showdown.
History: Played 38: Wellington 16 V Central Coast 15 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: March 8, 2020: Wellington 3 d Central Coast 1 at Central Coast Stadium
Final Thoughts: Central Coast’s resurgence has been the on-field story of the A-League’s first month. With only a 1-0 loss to Wanderers against their name, the Mariners have beaten Newcastle, Macarthur and Sydney FC to nil.
Backing up just three days after their defeat to WSW, the Mariners stunned the two-time champs 2-0 in Sydney with a pair of second-half goals. Conceding just one goal in four games is an extraordinary turnaround for a side that leaked more than two a game on average last season.
Wellington Phoenix are under early pressure after bookending a controversial draw against Macarthur with 2-1 losses to Sydney FC and the struggling Jets. Going back to a difficult end to last season, the Phoenix are now on an eight-match winless streak – and are looking to avoid extending that to a club-record-equalling nine.
The Phoenix have won their last five straight against the Mariners, including an eye-watering 8-2 demolition and another comprehensive 3-1 win in the two Gosford clashes last season. But based on the teams’ showings to date, it’s hard to get onboard with the Phoenix as a $2.10 favourite.
History: Played 34: Perth 16 V Melbourne City 8 (10 Draws)
Last meeting: March 8, 2020: Melbourne City 3 d Perth 2 at nib Stadium
Final Thoughts: Melbourne City are coming off a fortnight’s break, while Perth Glory are gearing up for their fourth game in 12 days after a delayed start to their campaign.
City FC have defeated Brisbane (1-0) and Western United (2-1) either side of a loss to Adelaide (2-0). Craig Noone and Jamie Maclaren scored in their important come-from-behind win over Western United.
The Glory have been nothing if not entertaining so far, winning a high-scoring thriller against Adelaide (5-3) and losing another to Western United (5-4), before going down 2-1 to the Victory. They have scored and conceded the most goals in the competition, despite playing the equal-least games. Bruno Fornaroli, Nicholas D’Agostino and Carlo Armiento have all scored three goals.
Honours were square between the clubs last season – both sides scored three goals in away wins either side of a scoreless draw in Melbourne. City FC’s 3-2 victory in Perth last March ended a six-match winless stretch against the Glory.
Perth are dangerous with the ball but clearly have some defensive weaknesses to iron out. Melbourne City are the safe option here.
History: Played 30: Central Coast 12 V Melbourne 11 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: March 20, 2020: Melbourne City 4 d Central Coast 2 at Central Coast Stadium
Final Thoughts: Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City FC both back up three days after Sunday assignments.
Melbourne City have won their last three against Central Coast, scoring 12 goals in the process.
Check back after the teams’ earlier Round 6 fixtures for an in-depth preview.