Bruised but elated after their Brazil triumph, the Matildas have acknowledged that expectations on their shoulders played a huge role in their World Cup blip against Italy.
Tipping glory comes to those who wait – and waited I have. Five from five for me in Round 11.
Sadly, the rest of the panel were right on the money and close behind. The crowd also made a noise with four successful tips.
Tuesday and Wednesday nights see three matches of the strangely split Round 12. The first match of the round was played on January 2, when the Jets and the Roar fought out a controversial draw.
On January 16, Round 12’s final match takes place, when the Mariners face City in Gosford. I’ll work that one into the tipping around that time.
As for now, we have three matches to tip and the Perth vs Sydney clash on Wednesday in the west looks the juiciest.
Good luck and be sure to insert your tips into the sheet below to have your say in the well-performing voice of the crowd.
Wanderers, Victory, draw
Not only do the Phoenix deserve to go into this match as favourites, but Mark Rudan – who took an age to get his chance as an A-League coach – would no doubt love to get one over a club from his local hood. But the Wanderers will win here, if only because they might have to say auf wiedersehen to their popular German coach, Markus Babbel, if they don’t.
If only Adelaide had a striker like Ola Toivonen. The Swedish beanpole has stepped up in Keisuke Honda’s absence, and the visitors look like they’ve got too much quality for the gun-shy Reds. It also helps that Victory have won their last three A-League games straight against a team they just love to beat.
That’s right woodchuck-chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day! Ever get the feel of deja vu? Well these two sides met at the same venue less than three weeks ago. The games are coming thick and fast now, however, and with the Glory proving tough to beat – that 2-1 defeat to Sydney FC in Round 9 was their only loss so far this season – it’s hard to separate these two sides. Expect a score draw at the newly renamed HBF Park.
Wellington, draw, Sydney
The places remaining for Wanderers fans to turn for hope are thinning, despite pushing the Victory to the brink at ANZ Stadium last weekend. Their lone goal was a penalty and finding avenues to score is proving to be their Achilles heel, finding the back of the net just 12 times in 11 matches.
Wellington built further character with a stoic defensive effort on the road that earned them a point against the Reds, even after losing a man in the second half. It potentially said more about the new attitude that Mark Rudan has brought to the club than any of the flashy and impressive wins, and the Wanderers will be their next victim.
Adelaide are playing well without the luxury of a consistent goal-scorer and Victory have been scrapping results while Keisuke Honda recuperates. At home, the Reds can grab a point. Nikola Mileusnic has brought some life to the front third and if Marco Kurz can get Ken Ilso and George Blackwood in form up top, Adeliade might have a chance as the season rolls on. In saying that, if Toivonen fires again? Good luck Adelaide.
Perth were poor against the Roar in the first half in Round 11 and Sydney were very, very good against the Mariners. It was a day out for Alex Brosque at Jubilee Stadium, yet perhaps an asterisk should be placed against any result involving the Mariners right now, so cursed and out of touch do they seem.
Sydney to win at home.
Draw, Victory, Perth
Wellington did well to hang on to a point against Adelaide last week, despite being a man down at the end. Their Round 12 opponents, Western Sydney, were unlucky not to pick up a point against Melbourne Victory. It will be interesting to see if Kwame Yeboah gets game time, as the Wanderers need some spark up front. Draw.
Now that Craig Goodwin has gone off the boil, the Reds have had problems in front of goal and are struggling to put anyone to the sword. Meanwhile, it’s no Honda, no problems for Melbourne Victory, as big Swede Toivonen has been scoring goals like shelling peas. Their away win against the Wanderers last week was a reminder they are very much in the race for the Premiers’ Plate. They should have too much firepower for a solid Reds defence.
Competition leaders Perth host Sydney FC and, going by last week’s results, this game should end up about 5-5. Both teams were put under pressure and showed great character to register come-from-behind wins.
Glory should get the better of the Sky Blues in an enthralling contest.
Evan Morgan Grahame
Draw, Victory, Perth
Western Sydney were narrowly beaten by a limping Victory last round, another performance to inspire in the Wanderers supporters more ire than hope. The inability to score efficiently is working the red and black fans into a caustic lather; Western Sydney took three times as many shots as Melbourne, with more than double on target, and yet needed a penalty to score their one goal.
Wellington’s draw with Adelaide cooled their head of steam, and a second draw in a row for them seems likely. They will be without Mandi, whose red card last week will pause what has been a good season, and their bluntness will carry over from that 0-0 stalemate against the Reds.
Adelaide are in such dire need of a striker, Kurz actually asked for one for Christmas. The Reds rattled off 32 shots against Wellington without scoring, and the sputtering fluency of their odd attacking scheme has been discussed at length on this site. Melbourne, on the other hand, have a fine striker, whose position under the salary cap becomes a more wondrous piece of business with every passing league appearance. Toivonen isn’t only a premier link-up man, he’s also scoring freely now that he’s fit and starting; last week he became the first Victory player to score in five consecutive league matches. Melbourne to win.
Sydney’s crushing of the Mariners last week seems on paper an incidence of ruthless bullying, but was in fact a rout spurred by some opposition generosity, and a sizeable wodge of luck. Kalifa Cisse’s two rapid-fire bookings were perhaps the most moronic sequence seen this season, and meant the Mariners’ early lead was always likely to be overcome.
Brosque’s gorgeous hat trick also applied a layer of gloss to the win, but one suspects Perth will not be so torridly ill-disciplined or easily overrun as the Mariners.
The Glory fought all the way back from two goals down to beat Brisbane last round, also beneficiaries of an opposition dismissal and will be set on winning this top-of-the-table six-pointer at home.
|Round 11||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Evan||The Crowd|
|WSW vs WEL||WSW||WEL||DRAW||DRAW||WEL|
|ADL vs MVC||MVC||DRAW||MVC||MVC||MVC|
|PER vs SYD||DRAW||SYD||PER||PER||DRAW|