Get your A-League tips for a bumper round of Week 24 matches, including a pivotal ‘Big Blue’ showdown between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory.
History: Played 27: Melbourne City 12 V Brisbane 10 (5 Draws)
Last meeting: January 11, 2019: Melbourne City 1 d Brisbane 0 at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: Melbourne City have not been an easy watch for their fans this season. Case in point: following up a 2-0 upset of Sydney FC with a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Western Sydney last week. But the sixth-placed side remain seven points clear of the chasing pack and will all but seal a finals spot if they win here.
Ninth-placed Brisbane look to be marking time until the end of a bitterly disappointing season for the club. They have just three wins on the board and have lost their last three to Wanderers (4-1), Victory (2-1) and Sydney (3-1). Frenchman Eric Batheac has scored the Roar’s goals in their last two outings.
The home team has only been beaten once in the last 14 Melbourne City-Brisbane encounters. The Roar have only beaten City/Heart once in 13 visits to Melbourne – way back in 2010. Brisbane won 2-0 at Suncorp in Week 5 and City prevailed 1-0 at home in Week 13.
It’s been hard to back City with any confidence this season and the Roar – $10 outsiders – are worth a shout with a bit head-start.
17:35 (AEDT), Sat 6th Apr @ McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
History: Played 20: Western Sydney 8 V Newcastle 6 (6 Draws)
Last meeting: February 1, 2019: Newcastle 5 d Western Sydney 1 at Spotless Stadium
Final Thoughts: After clawing into finals contention with four wins and two draws in seven games, Newcastle now need a miracle after back-to-back losses to Central Coast and Wellington. The Jets conceded more than two goals just once in the opening 21 rounds but leaked a total of seven against the Mariners and Phoenix, leaving them seven points adrift of sixth place.
Western Sydney are a further three points back and need to win all four games and hope City or United lose all four of theirs to scrape into the playoffs. But they are in fine form – a 3-0 bashing of Melbourne City was their fourth win in sixth games.
The Jets have had the wood on Wanderers over the past couple of seasons, unbeaten in five clashes and chalking up three wins. In two encounters in Sydney this season, Newcastle have prevailed 2-0 and 5-1. Roy O’Donovan notched a goal in each half in the latter blowout.
On current form – and with two wins in their last three away games – Wanderers are well worth taking a risk on as a sizeable underdog.
19:50 (AEDT), Sat 6th Apr @ SCG, Sydney
History: Played 45: Victory 15 V Sydney 14 (16 Draws)
Last meeting: January 26, 2019: Victory 2 d Sydney 1 at AAMI Park
Final Thoughts: The regular season’s last instalment of the ‘Big Blue’ could decide second place.
Sydney FC bounced back from a 2-0 loss to Melbourne City with a 3-1 away win over Brisbane. The result saw them stay a point ahead of Melbourne Victory, who upset the Glory 2-0 in Perth last Saturday.
After losing to the Sky Blues seven straight times, the Victory have now won the last three in a row between the clubs. The Victory have chalked up 2-1 wins away and at home so far this season, with Ola Toivonen scoring in both.
Sydney FC are warm favourites at home but a hard-fought draw shapes as the most likely outcome.
17:00 (AEDT), Sun 7th Apr @ Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
History: Played 36: Adelaide 18 V Wellington 8 (10 Draws)
Last meeting: January 5, 2019: 0-0 draw at Coopers Stadium
Final Thoughts: Wellington are enjoying a watershed campaign and their return to the finals is assured, but they confront a long-standing hoodoo in Adelaide this weekend.
Despite their spectacular turnaround this season, the Phoenix have been unable to snap their bogey against United. Adelaide won 3-1 in Wellington in Week 5, while the teams played out a scoreless draw at Coopers Stadium in Week 11. The Phoenix’s winless streak against United now stands at 10 games, though four of the last seven finished in a draw.
The fourth-placed Phoenix are coming off three straight big wins over the Mariners (8-2), Wanderers (3-1) and Jets (4-1). Adelaide, three points back in fifth, snapped a five-game winless run with a 1-0 defeat of Adelaide last weekend. But with just three goals in their last six games, they don’t exactly have opposition defences quivering in their boots.
The head-to-head odds look very much askew here – get down on the massive value the firing Phoenix provide.
19:00 (AEDT), Sun 7th Apr @ Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
History: Played 39: Central Coast 19 V Perth 14 (6 Draws)
Last meeting: December 31, 2018: Perth 4 d Central Coast 1 at Central Coast Stadium
Final Thoughts: Perth Glory could have just about sealed the Premiers Plate last weekend, but went down 2-0 to the Victory at home – just their second loss all season. They still hold a six-point lead at the top of the table but another defeat would make things a bit hairy heading into the last three rounds with a couple of games against top-four opposition.
Despite a drought-breaking win over Newcastle in Week 22, Central Coast’s hopes of offloading the wooden spoon took a big dive with a 1-0 home loss to Adelaide last Sunday. They sit five points behind the Roar.
The Glory have won three straight against the Mariners. The got out of jail with a 3-2 home win in Week 5, before Andy Keogh and Fabio Ferreira both scored braces in a 4-1 romp in Gosford in Week 10. The latter was the first victory in the rivalry by the away team in 13 matches.
Perth are unbeaten on the road this season, though three of their last five away games finished in a draw. But the Glory are a modestly-priced favourite and can be backed with confidence.