Robbie Fowler has begun his rebuild of Brisbane Roar with the arrival of ex-Newcastle Jets striker Roy O’Donovan on a two-year deal.
For the second time in just a few short weeks, the panel and crowd have managed just one correct selection across an entire weekend of A-League football.
As embarrassing as that may be, yours truly did snare the lone point with the successful prediction of a draw at McDonald Jones Stadium. Not only was it a draw, it was something of a dud draw with few chances and no goals in the Hunter.
This weekend presents the first instalment of a split round and begins with an opportunity for Sydney FC to stay in touch with Perth Glory when they face Adelaide on Friday night.
Melbourne Victory have a chance to do the same when they grapple with Newcastle on Saturday, however, both clubs’ work could all come to nought should Perth defeat City on Sunday and maintain their advantage at the top of the ladder.
Good luck with your tips this weekend and be sure to include them in the sheet below to have your say as the voice of the crowd. That voice is now level on points with little old me and my eyes are firmly fixed on the splendid trophy that the Roar editors commissioned during the week.
Here are the under-performing panel’s thoughts on the first three matches of Round 21.
Sydney, Victory, Perth
Tipping Sydney FC to win has felt more like a risk than a safe bet of late, but the Sky Blues should just about be good enough to beat Adelaide United at home. I’m not sure Leichhardt Oval is going to be quite the fortress Sydney FC had hoped though.
Melbourne Victory are another side that has struggled to showcase their best football on a week-to-week basis, but they’re generally tough to beat in Geelong and they should possess enough quality to overcome a Newcastle Jets side that looked dead on their feet last week.
Melbourne City are an absolute rabble at the moment and the jettisoning of Bruno Fornaroli midweek was another low point. Perth Glory have jagged a few lucky wins this season, but form suggests they should register a comfortable victory in this Sunday afternoon showdown at AAMI Park.
Sydney, Victory, Draw
Sydney FC managed a win against Wellington last weekend; a win played out in front of a terrible crowd thanks to the Phoenix’s decision to play a home match in Campbelltown.
It was a shame more Sydney fans didn’t make the trip and one can’t help think that the crowd would have been at least doubled had Eden Park in Auckland hosted its second match of the season.
Adelaide visit Sydney at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night, hoping to cushion their position in the six with at least a point. They currently sit fourth but reside just eight points clear of the seventh-placed Jets. The Reds were unconvincing last week against Newcastle, as were the Sky Blues who only took the 1-0 win against Wellington on the back of a spot kick.
Sydney need to rediscover their mojo and this looks like the game in which to do it. In a battle between the unconvincing, I am convinced that the Sky Blues will win convincingly.
Round 21 should mark the end of the Jets’ madcap chase for a semi-final place. Victory played superbly in the second half to draw level and hold out Melbourne City in the derby last week and with 11 men on the pitch, will make light work of a Newcastle team still struggling to find goals when most needed.
The Novocastrians were an abomination in the final third last week and without at least three goals against the Victory, will be comfortably beaten in Geelong.
Melbourne City will need to shrug off the disappointment of the derby draw, a match in which they sat in the box seat once Georg Niedermeier was sent from the field. Perth roll into Melbourne looking to maintain their eight-point lead on top and perhaps increase it should either Sydney FC or Victory strike a hurdle.
Another goal for Andy Keogh, another win, three more points and before long, the Premier’s Plate will be in Perth. It is a shame for the men from the west that this one will end in a draw.
Sydney, Victory, Perth
Sydney FC made up two points on Perth Glory last weekend and still have a faint sniff of catching them. Steve Corica will have some interesting roster juggling with their first Asian Champions League match against Ulsan just around the corner.
The Sky Blues have not been at their best in recent weeks although I felt they always had Wellington’s measure last outing. Tyros Brandon O’Neil, Josh Brillante and Michael Zullo have battled hard all season and will give away nothing to Adelaide’s midfield. At Leichhardt on a Friday night, Sydney should be too strong.
Like Sydney, Melbourne Victory are in a mini-rut at the moment with two draws and a loss in their last three games. Keisuke Honda is getting back into form but how Kevin Muscat uses him against Newcastle will be interesting – the upcoming Asian Champions League will certainly be on the Victory coach’s mind.
If not for my hungry cat nibbling on my toes I might have dozed through the entire second half of the Newcastle-Adelaide game last week. Newcastle looked tired and this week’s rest should do them a world of good. Still, it was a valuable point for the Jets and closes the gap slightly on Wellington.
Newcastle should be competitive but down in Geelong, I expect Victory to get back to winning ways.
So Bruno Fornaroli has finally been booted from Melbourne City. I noticed one or two twitterites making the suggestion they wish it had been Warren Joyce instead. Can an uninspiring City get up for their home game against a Perth team trying to clinch the premiership? I doubt it. The Glory have too many guns and often play well in Melbourne. Perth to win by three goals.
|Round 21||Mike||Stuart||Paul||The Crowd|
|SYD vs ADL||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|MVC vs NEW||MVC||MVC||MVC||MVC|
|MCY vs PER||PER||DRAW||PER||PER|