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 in the seventh round.
History: Played 41: Perth 16 V Adelaide 16 (9 Draws)
Last meeting: January 20, 2021: Perth 5 d Adelaide 3 at nib Stadium
Final Thoughts: Adelaide have two wins, two losses and a draw so far in season 2020-21. A decent start for Carl Veart’s charges, though they will be eager to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Brisbane on Saturday. The game was already gone by the time Nathan Konstandopoulos put them on the board in the 82nd minute.
Perth Glory have recorded two wins and two losses from their four outings to date, snapping a two-game slide with a comprehensive 3-1 success against Melbourne City on Sunday. Nicholas D’Agostino’s 84th-minute sealer was his fourth goal of the season.
The teams produced a high-scoring affair two weeks ago in what was the Glory’s belated first hit-out, with United overwhelmed 5-3. D’Agostino scored a goal in each half as the Glory powered to a four-goal lead before the Reds found a couple of late consolations.
Perth now boast three wins and a draw from their last five clashes with Adelaide. Both clubs are searching for consistency, but the Glory’s superior attacking potency gives them the edge here.
History: Played 44: Victory 20 V Brisbane 16 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 2, 2021: Brisbane 3 d Victory 1 at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: Brisbane Roar have slid into top spot courtesy of their three wins in four outings so far this season. Since losing to Melbourne City first up, the Roar have put away the Victory (3-1), Jets (2-1) and Adelaide (3-1) – despite potentially momentum-disrupting breaks of 18 and 10 days between the last two games.
Warren Moon’s attack-focused game-plan is paying dividends, while striker Dylan Wenzel-Halls has cashed in to score four of their eight goals – including a brace against United.
Melbourne Victory – desperate to avoid a second straight dismal campaign as an also-ran – have steadied the ship after losing their first two games. The Victory beat Perth Glory 2-1 and played out a scoreless draw with Western United four days later.
The Roar scored an emphatic 3-1 win in Melbourne when the teams met during the opening week of the season, dominating the second half after the teams went to the sheds at 1-all.
The Victory have won their last four on the road against the Roar. But Brisbane’s form can’t be ignored and the Victory have struggled to find the back of the net.
History: Played 1: Macarthur 1 V Western Sydney 0
Last meeting: December 30, 2020: Macarthur 1 d Western Sydney 0 at BankWest Stadium
Final Thoughts: Two wins and a draw from their first five games is a satisfactory result for A-League new chums Macarthur FC, but they are coming off a humbling 3-0 loss to heavyweights Sydney FC. The Bulls hung in gamely after skipper Mark Milligan’s 21st-minute red card, before conceding three goals after the 65th minute.
Macarthur enjoyed a dream A-League start when they rolled Western Sydney 1-0 in their debut outing. Milligan’s 72nd-minute goal secured the win for the Bulls.
But Wanderers are unbeaten since, chalking up away wins over Newcastle and Central Coast, as well as a derby draw with Sydney FC and a 1-all home result against the Jets on Friday. Bernie Ibini’s first-half goal for WSW was cancelled out by an 81st-minute Jets penalty.
The 10-man Bulls’ heavy loss last week aside, these teams have proven two of the toughest defences to break down this season. Wanderers are tempting as a $3.00 underdog but the totals markets also provide solid value.
History: Played 31: Melbourne City 15 V Newcastle 12 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: March 23, 2020: Newcastle 2 d Melbourne City 1 at McDonald Jones Stadium
Final Thoughts: After opening their campaign with four straight losses, embattled Newcastle have started to turn things around – on the paddock, at least. The Jets followed up a breakthrough 2-1 win over the Phoenix in Wollongong with 1-all draw against in-form Wanderers in Sydney, with second-half goals from Roy O’Donovan proving decisive in both results.
Meanwhile, Melbourne City are hoping for a form reversal of their own after crashing to Perth Glory (3-1) and Central Coast (3-2) in the past week. City had already seen their two-goal lead eradicated by the time Kerrin Stokes was red-carded at the hour mark against the Mariners. Plugging a leaky defence will be manager Patrick Kisnorbo’s main priority ahead of this assignment.
Six of the teams’ last seven matches were won by the home team, though City did come away with a 4-0 win in Newcastle early last season.
It’s been a heavy workload for Melbourne City and another match in NSW is less than ideal, but I believe they will tighten things up defensively and secure a draw against the improving Jets.
History: Played 3: Western United 2 V Central Coast 1
Last meeting: March 1, 2020: Western United 6 d Central Coast 2 at GMHBA Stadium
Final Thoughts: Central Coast’s renaissance continues, bouncing back from a 2-1 loss to Wellington on Sunday with a 3-2 comeback win over Melbourne City on Wednesday. Down by two goals after 31 minutes, the Mariners fought back to level through goals to Jaden Casella and Matt Simon, before Daniel De Silva put the 80th-minute winner past 10-man City.
The Mariners have won four and lost two of their six games – more than the three-time wooden spooners could have realistically hoped for. But after conceding two goals in consecutive games, they’ll be looking to restore the steely defence that leaked just one in their first four games.
Western United followed up their rollercoaster 5-4 win over Perth with a tense scoreless draw against the Victory last Saturday. United had five players yellow-carded in a fiery derby, while Besart Berisha had a goal called back by the VAR.
Western United responded to a 1-0 loss to the Mariners in Gosford last season with a pair of resounding home victories – 3-0 and 6-2, with Berisha scoring a brace in both and Max Burgess bagging a hat-trick in the latter.
The Mariners are a different team this season, however, and it’s hard to fathom how they are underdogs at home in this one.
History: Played 44: Sydney 25 V Wellington 14 (5 Draws)
Last meeting: January 2, 2021: Sydney 2 d Wellington 1 at WIN Stadium
Final Thoughts: Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix square off for the second time this season.
Calem Nieuwenfhof and Luke Brattan scored to give Sydney FC a 2-1 win over Wellington in their first outing of the 2020-21 season. The Sky Blues have now won 10 and drawn two of their last 13 against Wellington, going unbeaten in the last six.
The Phoenix chalked up their first win of the season last Sunday, a 2-1 upset of the Mariners in Gosford. Ulises Davila scored the 15th-minute opener, while Jaushua Sotirio produced the late winner is dismal conditions.
Sydney FC bounced back from their 2-0 home loss to the Mariners with a 3-0 beatdown of Macarthur FC last weekend. After being frustrated by a 10-man Bulls outfit for more than an hour, the Sky Blues surged to an emphatic win with Patrick Wood goals either side of Milos Ninkovic’s strike.
Expect Sydney FC to justify their $1.83 favouritism at Jubilee Stadium.
History: Played 23: Victory 13 V Western Sydney 6 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: August 12, 2020: Western Sydney 2 d Victory 1 at BankWest Stadium
Final Thoughts: Newcastle Jets and Western United were schedule to square off on Wednesday, but the clash was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols.
Instead, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory back up after Saturday assignments.
Wanderers twice came from a goal down to draw 2-all with Macarthur FC at Campbelltown. Graham Dorrans and Simon Cox both found the back of the net in the second half.
The Victory were embarrassed 5-2 by Brisbane Roar, leaking four goals in the first 35 minutes. They are in all sorts and impossible to get behind against a comparatively consistent, defensively competent Wanderers outfit.