Palmerbet Sports Team run the rule over Round 26 of the A-League, kicking off with a vital showdown between Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory on Friday night.
History: Played 35: Perth 20 V Newcastle 7 (8 Draws).
Last meeting: December 9, 2017: Newcastle 2 d Perth 1 at nib Stadium.
Final Thoughts: The second-placed Newcastle Jets are at risk of heading into the playoffs with zero momentum, suffering three-goal losses to Adelaide and Melbourne City in the past fortnight.
Perth Glory remain eighth – three points shy of the top six – after their four-match unbeaten run ended via a 3-2 loss to Sydney. They trailed 3-0 at halftime before pegging back two late goals.
After the teams drew 2-2 in Newcastle early in the season, the Jets picked up a 2-1 away win in Round 10. But the Jets are trying to overcoming a terrible home record against the Glory, who are unbeaten in their last nine games in the Hunter.
Perth have an ordinary 2-2-9 record on the road, but with Newcastle slumping hard the draw is shaping as the most attractive head-to-head option.
Tip: Draw @ $3.60
History: Played 21: Brisbane 9 V Wanderers 8 (4 Draws).
Last meeting: January 5, 2018: Wanderers 2 d Brisbane 0 at Suncorp Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Brisbane leapfrogged Western Sydney into sixth spot last weekend after the Roar edged the Mariners 1-0 at home and Wanderers crashed 3-1 at Melbourne City.
The Roar are now unbeaten in their last four games, winning three, while WSW have been outscored six goals to one in their back-to-back Melbourne trips in the last fortnight. Wanderers have also been hit by a red card ban to Michael Thwaite.
Both sides have notched a 2-0 away win over the other so far this season. The Roar have managed three wins and three draws from their last seven away clashes with Wanderers.
The Roar have rediscovered their defensive steel and loom as a tough ask for Wanderers; we’re liking a low-scoring win for the visitors in this one.
History: Played 24: Central Coast 11 V Melbourne City 7 (6 Draws).
Last meeting: January 14, 2018: 2-2 draw at Central Coast Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Melbourne City are holding third spot after back-to-back 3-0 wins over Wanderers and Newcastle. They are hitting form at the right time, shaping as a huge danger as the finals approach.
Central Coast are well out of the finals picture in ninth, but are only two points clear of last-placed Wellington and will be desperate to avoid the wooden spoon. They have won just one of their last 16, however, and have lost their last four games.
Melbourne City prevailed 1-0 over Central Coast in December before the teams drew in Gosford a month later, extending the Mariners’ winless run in the rivalry to eight games. They have lost four straight to City in Melbourne.
The A-League’s form team on both sides of the ball at present, City will be looking to open their shoulders once again and racking up a big score on the hapless Mariners.
History: Played 32: Victory 18 V Wellington 8 (6 Draws).
Last meeting: January 10, 2018: Wellington 2 d Victory 1 at Westpac Stadium.
Final Thoughts: Melbourne Victory scored an impressive 3-1 win over Wanderers last weekend to retain fourth spot on the ladder, but the club is reeling from a humiliating 6-2 AFC Champions League loss to Ulsan in South Korea midweek.
Wellington remain in last spot, with last weekend’s 3-1 loss at Adelaide extending their winless run to five games. They have conceded 16 goals and scored just two in losing their last five games on the road.
The Victory won 3-2 in Wellington in December, but the Phoenix turned the tables for their home fans five weeks later, prevailing 2-1 – their third win in their last four against the Victory. The Phoenix also scored a shock 3-0 upset in their last visit to AAMI Park late last season.
Despite their travel toll, the Victory should be able to get back on track with a comfortable win over the battling Phoenix.
History: Played 37: Adelaide 17 V Sydney 14 (6 Draws).
Last meeting: January 14, 2018: 0-0 draw at Coopers Stadium.
Final Thoughts: After a rocky few weeks that garnered two losses in the A-League and a draw and a loss in the AFC Champions League, Sydney FC are gradually getting back to their all-conquering form. Consecutive domestic wins over Central Coast (2-1) and Perth (3-2) were followed by a 4-1 thrashing of Suwon Bluewings in South Korea.
Adelaide are effectively assured of a playoffs berth, consolidating fifth spot with big wins over Newcastle (5-2) and Wellington (3-1) in the past fortnight. They are still a chance of nabbing
Sydney are unbeaten in their last five against Adelaide, including a 1-0 win in December and a scoreless draw in January, both at Coopers Stadium. United have not scored a goal in the five-game streak.
Graham Arnold may rest some of his key men after their midweek Champions League assignment, but Sydney are still too good to pass up at a generous price at home.