With the grand finalists set and the season almost complete, we head straight into the talking points from the second week of the A-League finals.
If you were planning on firing a few darts at a board to decide your tips for this week, don’t worry, you are not alone.
It has been a tough fortnight with the Jets, Mariners and Wanderers continuing the unpredictability in Round 19.
The voice of the people holds a slender one point advantage over Paul Nicholls and another very handsome fellow in equal second. Mike Tuckerman is lurking with hopes of pulling back a few games and with 40 home-and-away A-League matches remaining, much could change over the next eight weeks.
I’m still waiting on trophy news from the editors.
This week looks tricky once again with the Mariners going into a match as favourite, a Melbourne derby and a crucial clash between Wellington and Sydney FC.
Good luck with your tips and be sure to include them in the sheet below to have your say as the voice of the crowd. Here are the panel’s thoughts on the upcoming round.
Draw, Draw, Victory, Adelaide, Perth
The battle of the cellar dwellers will probably finish all square, for the simple reason that the Mariners don’t look like they’re a good enough side to win and the Roar don’t look like they can even be bothered.
A Phoenix home game in Campbelltown? How about those metrics! Wellington would probably have won this game across the ditch, but they might have to settle for a point against the out of form Sky Blues.
Can’t see Victory failing to win all three derbies this season, but then again stranger things have happened. Melbourne City look like they couldn’t beat an egg right now, so let’s settle for a Victory ‘home’ win.
Newcastle’s midweek AFC Champions League exit in Kashima will have taken plenty out of them, and the Reds should really be primed to pounce. The only question is: which Adelaide team will turn up here?
Rejoice, Western Sydney fans, it’s your last ever game at Spotless Stadium! The Wanderers should send it off against the Glory the same way they’ve gone about most of their fixtures at Homebush – with another defeat.
Central Coast, Wellington, Victory, draw, Perth
Early betting suggests the Mariners will enter the clash against Brisbane Roar as warm favourites.
Considering the fact that they have won just the single game for the season, that is somewhat astonishing. Although, Roar have won just two and capitulated against the hot Glory last week in Perth.
Many will say they don’t care who wins this one yet it will play a key role in deciding the destination of the wooden spoon and might actually be an entertaining affair. Connor Pain to score and the Mariners to win at home.
It is official, Sydney FC have the wobbles and the natives are very restless.
The Sky Blues threw away a golden opportunity to move into second place against the Mariners last week and after gaining just the lone point from a potential six against the two weakest teams in the competition, they look to be in trouble.
Wellington handled the Victory well in Auckland last weekend, securing another draw and with a win against Sydney could land in fourth position by the end of the weekend should other results go their way.
The dangling carrot and the neutral venue will get the Phoenix over the line in a tight one.
I’m tipping a slaughter at AAMI Park on Saturday night when the Victory towel up City in the Melbourne derby and a draw when the fatigued and travel weary Jets take on Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets’ Asian Champions League campaign ended in disaster on Tuesday night against Kashima yet they are a resilient lot in the Hunter and Adelaide didn’t impress against the Wanderers in Round 18.
The final match of the weekend will be played late Sunday at Spotless Stadium when the Wanderers face the Winx-like Glory; in search of their 15th win of the season from just 19 matches.
Suffice to say, unless the visitors miss the flight, are struck down a mystery bug that ravages the team or fail to mentally prepare for the contest, they will lap the Wanderers by at least three clear goals.
Central Coast, Wellington, Victory, Newcastle, Perth
Central Coast put in a great shift against Sydney last outing with Matt Simon leading from the front. Brisbane Roar on the other hand were outclassed by Perth, their fine win against Sydney seemingly light years away.
At home on a Friday night there’ll be gyrations in Gosford and yelling in Umina as the Mariners pick up their second win of the season.
So Wellington are playing their home game against Sydney FC in Campbelltown? Why didn’t the Wanderers think of that? The Phoenix have done a lot of things right this year both on and off the pitch, the Eden Park match being just one of them.
I really enjoyed Wellington’s match against Melbourne Victory last week and thought the combination between Roy Krishna and David Williams was superb. Add to that the great form shown by defender Steven Taylor, left back Liberato Cacace and keeper Filip Kurto, and Wellington look in great shape.
Sydney FC were stale against the Mariners and the combination between Adam Le Fondre and Reza Ghoochannejhad may take some time to develop. I think the Phoenix could snatch this.
What’s going on at Melbourne City? Their performance last week against a tired Newcastle was a low point in their season. They look like a team playing without direction. They should lift for the Melbourne derby but not enough to prevent Victory from taking all three points.
Newcastle finally fell under the prongs of the Antlers mid-week but their performances over the last few weeks have been heartening for Jets fans. Adelaide are having one of those weird yo-yo type seasons and are due to bounce back to form after a poor effort last week. My head says Adelaide but my heart rules on this one – Newcastle for me.
Take it away Bruce: “Glory Days, na-na-na, Glory Days!” That’s right, these are Perth’s glory days, their greatest since the 2000 NSL season. Keogh, Castro, Davo, Iko are all in great form and under Tony Popovic’s tutelage the Glory couldn’t ease up if they tried.
It’s a shame for the Wanderers to meet such a hot team when they themselves have come off one of their best displays of the season. Roly Bonevacia will need to put in another good performance if the Wanderers are to be any chance but I can’t see them getting anything out of this game.
|Round 20||Mike||Stuart||Paul||The Crowd|
|CCM vs BRI||DRAW||CCM||CCM||CCM|
|WEL vs SYD||DRAW||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|MVC vs MCY||MVC||MVC||MVC||MVC|
|NEW vs ADL||ADL||DRAW||NEW||ADL|
|WSW vs PER||PER||PER||PER||PER|