The Best of the Day preview slips one past the ‘keeper with A-League tips for a blockbuster between Melbourne City FC and Central Coast Mariners.
19:05 (AEDT) @ AAMI Park, Melbourne
History: Played 31: Central Coast 13 V Melbourne City 11 (7 Draws)
Last meeting: February 3, 2021: Central Coast 3 d Melbourne City 2 at Central Coast Stadium
Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down a crunch Monday night A-League clash between ladder-leading Central Coast Mariners and fifth-placed, on-fire Melbourne City FC.
1️⃣ A fifth win in a row? 🤞
3️⃣ Monday night football 🤤
5️⃣ A test against the top of the table 👊
— Melbourne City FC (@MelbourneCity) March 20, 2021
The Mariners have chalked up eight wins and a draw from their 12 games to sit three points clear at the top.
The season’s surprise packets have lost just one of their last seven. The Mariners are coming off their first draw of the campaign – a 2-all result against Perth Glory after Matt Simon netted a 90th-minute penalty.
Simon has scored in six of Central Coast’s last seven matches.
— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) March 14, 2021
Melbourne City have a couple of games in hand, winning six and losing four of 10. But they are in red-hot form, scoring 14 goals and conceding just two in winning their last four games.
City trounced the Victory 6-0 a fortnight ago, before making another statement last weekend with a 3-0 defeat of Macarthur FC.
Jamie Maclaren is having a field day, scoring seven goals in Melbourne City’s last four games.
3 – @MelbourneCity's Jamie Maclaren has bagged a hat-trick in two of his last three A-League games against the Central Coast Mariners; he (89) needs just three goals to equal Shane Smeltz (92) for the second-most career goals in @ALeague history. Speedtail. pic.twitter.com/mt1ACm7mc9
— OptaJason (@OptaJason) March 16, 2021
Melbourne City have won 10 and drawn three of their last 15 against Central Coast. But the Mariners came back from a halftime deficit to beat City 3-2 when the teams met in Gosford last month.
City raced to a 2-0 lead through goals to Adrian Luna and Jamie Maclaren. But Jaden Casella struck back for the Mariners before halftime, and goals from Matt Simon and Daniel de Silva in the second stanza carried the hosts to victory.
The Mariners have not chalked up an away win or draw in this rivalry since forcing a stalemate with Melbourne Heart back in 2014.
Melbourne City are hot $1.67 favourites – perhaps a bit short given Central Coast are also in strong form. We’re in for a Best of the Day thriller but the home side look the goods to make it five straight.