Get your A-League tips for what shapes as an intriguing round of Week 19 matches, kicking off with a huge clash between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory.
History: Played 35: Victory 19 V Wellington 8 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: October 21, 2018: Wellington 2 d Newcastle 1 at Westpac Stadium
Final Thoughts: With just one win from their last four games, the Wellington Phoenix are eager to regain some momentum and cement their top-six spot. David Williams’ 58th-minute equaliser secured a 1-1 draw at Newcastle last Thursday, a satisfactory bounce-back from their 3-0 loss in Perth.
Second-placed Melbourne Victory are coming off a loss to the Glory themselves, going down 2-1 at home on Sunday. It was just their second loss in 16 games. Kiwi veteran Kosta Barbarouses took his tally to six goals in his last five games and will be looking to continue the streak against his countrymen.
The Phoenix boast three wins and two draws in their last seven encounters with the Victory. After 22 straight games between the clubs without a draw, they played out two stalemates earlier this season – 1-1 and 3-3, both at AAMI Park in the space of four weeks.
With four wins in their last five games in Wellington, the Phoenix are tough to back against. The draw shapes as the best head-to-head option, but the hosts look good value to strike early.
19:50 (AEDT), Fri 15th Feb @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
History: Played 27: Melbourne City 13 V Newcastle 10 (4 Draws)
Last meeting: January 6, 2019: Melbourne City 2 d Newcastle 1 at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: After a horror run, seventh-placed Newcastle have kept their playoffs hopes afloat with two wins and a draw in their last four games. They trounced Western Sydney 5-1 in Week 17 before playing out a 1-1 draw with Wellington last Thursday.
Melbourne City are in a funk, winning just one of their last six games. After back-to-back away losses to Wellington and Sydney, they drew 1-1 at home with Adelaide in Week 18. With a minefield schedule against the Victory, Perth and Sydney coming up, getting three points here is vital for City.
Newcastle have won only one of their last seven against Melbourne City – during last year’s playoffs. City have notched two home wins over the Jets this season, 3-0 in Week 6 and 2-1 in Week 11.
The Jets have lost only one of their last seven at home; City have lost three straight on the road. The hosts hold the value here against the out-of-sorts Melburnians.
19:50 (AEDT), Sat 16th Feb @ Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
History: Played 22: Adelaide 9 V Western Sydney 5 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 18, 2019: Adelaide 2 d Western Sydney 1 at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: Adelaide continue to grind away and have climbed to fourth after losing just one of their last 10 games. Following back-to-back home wins over lightweights Central Coast and Brisbane, United held Melbourne City to a 1-1 draw at AAMI Park. Craig Goodwin scored for the fifth time in seven games.
Western Sydney are 14 points off the top six, but they will be buoyed by last week’s 2-0 shutout of the Mariners – snapping a 10-game winless run. It was an important response to their humiliating 5-1 loss to Newcastle a week earlier.
Adelaide are unbeaten in their last eight games against Wanderers. The teams drew 2-2 in Adelaide on Boxing Day, before United snared a 2-1 away win in Week 14.
The Reds have won three straight at home and are unbeaten in their last five in Adelaide. Wanderers have managed just two points from their last five on the road.
22:00 (AEDT), Sat 16th Feb @ nib Stadium, Perth
History: Played 39: Brisbane 21 V Perth 10 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 6, 2019: Perth 4 d Brisbane 2 at Suncorp Stadium
Final Thoughts: Perth Glory extended their lead at the top of the A-League ladder with a 2-1 away win over the second-placed Victory last weekend. They have lost just once all season, boast seven wins and two draws from their last nine games, and have conceded just one goal in their last five outings.
Struggling Brisbane broke a 12-game winless streak with one of the upsets of the season in Week 18, stunning Sydney FC 2-1 at Suncorp. Late goals from Tobias Mikkelsen (77’) and Dylan Wenzel-Halls (90’) snatched a long-awaited three points.
Brisbane won five and drew two of their last nine against Perth prior to this season. But the Glory have won both clashes this season; they prevailed 2-1 at home, then overcame a two-goal halftime deficit to carve out a 4-2 win in Brisbane.
Three draws – all against sides outside the top six – is all the Roar have managed on the road this season. Nib Stadium has proved a graveyard for all comes this season and it’s hard seeing the Glory getting rolled here, despite the Roar’s recent giant-killing form.
17:00 (AEDT), Sun 17th Feb @ Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
History: Played 38: Sydney 19 V Central Coast 11 (8 Draws)
Last meeting: January 4, 2019: Sydney 5 d Central Coast 2 at Jubilee Oval
Final Thoughts: Sydney FC flubbed a golden opportunity to move to second last weekend, letting a lead slip late before going down 2-1 to battlers Brisbane. It was their third loss in seven games.
Central Coast have slipped back into familiar form since their mid-January mini-revival, losing their last four – including a 2-0 defeat away to Wanderers last weekend. They are six points adrift of the field in last place, racking up just one win and three draws this season.
Central Coast have managed just one win in their last 14 encounters with Sydney FC. The Sky Blues edged out the Mariners 2-1 in Gosford in Week 6 this season, before piling on five second-half goals in a 5-2 home win in Week 11.
Sydney have won their last five games at home by a combined 12-4 and shouldn’t have too much trouble putting away the Mariners, who have lost nine in a row on the road.