Australia’s first batch of qualifying fixtures for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, due to start in September, have been confirmed on Wednesday evening.
Evan Morgan Grahame is leading the field a merry dance in the early stages of the tipping season. With another four correct selections last weekend, the international break did nothing to derail his form.
Round 6 throws up some interesting matches with Friday night’s opener between Adelaide and Brisbane at Coopers Stadium looking like the pick of the bunch.
There is also plenty at stake for the Phoenix when they face a high-flying Perth side at Westpac Stadium; with many hinting at a potential cricket score for the visitors.
The most desperate clash could well be Melbourne City’s match-up with the Jets at AAMI Park. A loss for either side would see a concerning gap opening between themselves and the top four.
Good luck with your tips this weekend and be sure to insert them into the sheet below and have your say as the voice of the people. Of course, we all wish Evan the best of luck with his tips this weekend!
Brisbane, draw, Victory, Perth, Newcastle
You will not catch me jumping off the Brisbane Roar cause just yet. The men in orange finally got a win last week and should continue to improve as the new combinations develop further.
Adelaide will be a tough nut to crack and a draw seems highly likely. However, I’ll stick with Brisbane on the road and on the back of another Adam Taggart goal.
Week after week, I find myself writing that the Mariners need to show something after another poor loss. Well, at least they did last week, only denied a point by a late Chris Ikonomidis strike in Perth.
This week, Sydney will feel some of the same pressure, also needing a performance to exorcise the memories of a lacklustre display against Victory last weekend. Something tells me the Central Coast can pinch a draw in this one.
Kevin Muscat’s men look like they are rolling along well at this stage of the season and should take all three in comfortable fashion against the Wanderers, while the Phoenix will be up against it when they face A-League leader Perth across the ditch.
It is hard to see anything other than a fifth win of the season for Perth, with Andy Keogh again on the scoresheet. Mark Rudan is showing signs of frustration after an early win and a point here would be an absolute bonus for the home side.
In the toughest of all selections this weekend, Melbourne City will look to rebound with three points with or without Bruno Fornaroli and Newcastle goes in search of its second win after a somewhat fortunate victory against the Wanderers last Friday night.
This looks a toss of the coin to me but perhaps a night for the Jets to strike with apparent disharmony at City over Warren Joyce’s controversial decision last weekend.
Adelaide, Sydney, Victory, Perth, draw
It should be a good game between Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar on Friday night. Both teams had good wins last week and are looking to build some momentum. Brisbane’s in-form striker Adam Taggart will be a handful for the Reds but I think at home, Adelaide should get the points.
Sydney were slightly off the pace against Melbourne Victory last week and I don’t expect them to repeat that effort. Full marks to Central Coast Mariners for pushing Perth all the way but I expect Sydney coach Steve Corica to have his lads firing. Sydney to win.
After a stuttering start to the season, Melbourne Victory’s moving parts are clicking into gear nicely. Their 2-1 away win over Sydney FC sounds an ominous note to the rest of the competition. Keisuke Honda and James Troisi are combining well and Victory will be happy that big Swedish striker Ola Toivonen got on the scoresheet last week. Melbourne to give the Western Sydney Wanderers a football lesson.
We come to the incongruously named distance derby between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory. Only distance will keep these two close. Mark Rudan’s charges were poor in letting their lead slip so badly last week while the Glory know how to just keep winning. Perth’s hunger will get the three points.
So what’s the go with Warren Joyce’s Melbourne City? Strange selections, inept performances, it makes you wonder how much time Joyce will be given to pull things around. Melbourne City aren’t that bad a team and I think they’ll bounce back although not enough to win against a confident Newcastle side. Draw.
Evan Morgan Grahame
Draw, Sydney, Victory, Perth, Newcastle
Adam Taggart’s brace last week helped fashion a very pleasing narrative; with the Fornaroli furore, it fit nicely that City lost that game after dropping their best player.
This helped disguise the fact that City, although far from great, weren’t actually that bad against Brisbane.
The way Adelaide came roaring back in Wellington was very encouraging, especially as it was someone other than Craig Goodwin who led the charge. This feels like a score draw, and may well be a cracker.
Handed their first loss last weekend, Sydney will relish travelling to Gosford to meet the league’s worst defence.
The Mariners fell victim to Perth’s late winner, just as the Victory did in Round 2, and are being continually undone by their defence; ruining the work done by Connor Pain, Ross McCormack and others in attack.
Working without the ball, breaking quickly, and shooting sharply – as they did against Perth – is the way to play Sydney, but the suspicion is that, if given enough time to roll through their passing combinations, Milos Ninkovic and co may well put the game firmly to bed before a counter-punch can be landed.
Western Sydney had so many chances to score against Newcastle, and should have taken at least a point from a game they eventually lost 2-0. The Wanderers managed to send an astonishing 44 balls into the area, and bashed nine shots on target against the Jets.
This was probably the most painful iteration of what has been a harrowingly familiar problem and one wonders how Markus Babbel will react.
The Victory will be buoyed by the stilted win over Sydney; picking up points while playing poorly is always a good sign, and they will hope to consolidate things at home. Victory to win.
Perth will beat Wellington, who remain the most offensively inept team in the league, with the fewest goals scored, fewest shots on target registered, most shots required per-goal, second-lowest average possession percentage and the highest percentage of long balls hit.
For added measure, they also concede the most shots on target in the league. Funnily enough, they actually put the third-most balls into the box, though this is likely a result of them also being the third-heaviest crossers in the league, while completing the second-fewest of said crosses. Goodness me!
Perth, on the other hand, are remarkably efficient in attack, requiring the equal-fewest shots per-goal, attempting the second-fewest passes in the attacking third, all the while leading the league in goals scored.
Chris Ikonomidis’s straight-line pace makes Perth a constant, direct threat, especially with Neil Kilkenny hitting accurate drives from his quarterback position.
Oh, and Diego Castro is fit again. Perth to win.
When Warren Joyce dropped Luke Brattan for the game against Wellington, he brought the midfielder back for the next game against Brisbane. Will he do the same with Fornaroli for this match against the Jets?
If we’re to take him at his word, that in dropping his best striker he was simply “picking a team to win the game”, then there should be no reason not to usher the Uruguayan back into the fold.
Considering the amount of chances the Jets allowed the Wanderers last weekend, one can only imagine how many Fornaroli might gobble up if the same is to happen again.
Of course, it seems likely Fornaroli’s dropping isn’t a simple football decision, and that there is actually a more deathly funk setting in at City.
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect another poor crowd at AAMI Park at 7pm on a Sunday either; City could be ensconced in an even grimmer atmosphere by the end of the week. Newcastle to win.
Roar, Sydney FC, Victory, Draw, Jets
Adelaide United have flattered to deceive so far this season, while Brisbane Roar look poised to string together a full 90-minute performance. Could this be the night at Coopers Stadium? The Roar in a close one.
The loss of former Mariner Trent Buhagiar is looking like an increasingly big blow for a Sydney FC side short on inspiration, but they should still have too much firepower for the battling Mariners in Gosford.
Victory versus the Wanderers is undoubtedly the match of the round and a solid litmus test for both teams. Western Sydney are better than their results suggest, but Victory simply have too much class and will continue their winning ways here.
Wellington Phoenix have proved tough to beat so far, but do they have enough weapons to challenge opponents? They’ll dig in at home against a high-flying Perth Glory side and could well be stubborn enough to claim a point.
All is not well at Melbourne City, with the blowtorch increasingly being applied to coach Warren Joyce. Bruno Fornaroli may well return here, but the Jets will sniff an upset and will go for the jugular at AAMI Park.
|Round 6||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Evan||The Crowd|
|ADE vs BRI||BRI||BRI||ADE||Draw||ADL|
|CCM vs SYD||SYD||Draw||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|MVC vs WSW||MVC||MVC||MVC||MVC||MVC|
|WEL vs PER||Draw||PER||PER||PER||PER|
|MCY vs NEW||NEW||NEW||Draw||NEW||NEW|