After a slow start to the tipping season for the panel, things have looked decidedly better recently as the form lines of the 11 A-League clubs become clearer.
So much so that my golden tipping form has seen a clear lead built with the other experts flailing away in the background. Mike Tuckerman also bounced back last weekend, yet the crowd fell a further point behind after hitching its wagon on a draw in the Melbourne derby.
Good luck in Round 10 and be sure to enter your selections into the tipping sheet below to have a say as the interactive and important voice of the crowd. Here are the thoughts of the panel on the upcoming round of matches.
Brisbane, Draw, Sydney, Perth, City
Brisbane vs Western United should be an interesting tactical battle in as much as neither side is exactly blessed with pace and both have had their ups and downs this season. Roar simply have to respond after their insipid performance against Sydney FC. If they can’t fire up for this game, they won’t get up for any.
I don’t know why, but I always enjoy this fixture. I’m also enjoying the fact that Victory are rubbish this season. They folded like a deck of cards in Geelong last week, but they’ll surely turn in an improved performance this time around. Phoenix are better than they get credit for, so this one could finish level.
The Sky Blues haven’t always had things their own way against the Mariners, but it’s hard to see Sydney FC losing at home – or indeed at all – in their current form. Ironically, the Mariners should put in a better defensive performance than Brisbane Roar did last week, but Sydney FC have too much class.
How good is Tony Popovic? A lot of the Wanderers fans still seem to love him. They probably won’t after his Perth Glory side scrape together a win over Western Sydney in the west. Melbourne City made Glory look good last week, but that’s exactly what Markus Babbel’s side are liable to do this weekend.
No Abdiel Arroyo is a bit of a blow for the Jets, who can’t seem to take a trick on the injury front. They were the victims of a classic smash-and-grab raid by Adelaide United last weekend and they’ll run into a Melbourne City side looking to put a poor game behind them. City should stave off any upsets here.
United, Wellington, Sydney, Perth, City
I find it near impossible to select Brisbane in the current climate. Robbie Fowler read the riot act during the week after the trouncing dished out to the Roar by Sydney FC. That came off the back of him openly questioning the commitment of some players in his squad just a fortnight earlier. Combined with Western United’s impressive dismantling of the Victory in Round 9, and an away win is the logical choice in this one.
I like what Ufuk Talay is doing in windy Wellington. Inside the six at this early stage, the Phoenix travel to Melbourne to take on the tenth-placed Victory. Common sense suggests Marco Kurz’s men will find some form in the near future, yet tipping them on that basis could be folly. Victory are in poor form. Wellington are not. The men in white to win.
Sydney will beat the Mariners on their home deck on Saturday night to further extend their lead at the top of the ladder. The Sky Blues are hot and Alex Baumjohann has added a dimension to their attack that few defences have been able to combat for even short periods of time this season. The Mariners will no doubt have a serious dig, but tipping them is not something any serious A-League fan will be doing this weekend.
Perth stunned in-form City last Friday and should notch their second successive bag of three points to move inside the top six when they topple the Wanderers in the west on Saturday. Markus Babbel’s side look a little lost, his contract is under immense pressure and Perth produced their best effort for the season in Round 9.
Both losers last weekend, the Jets and City meet in the Hunter on Sunday afternoon with a win vital for both clubs. City will be better after another of their rather predictable poor performances and Newcastle have been solid in the last month, only letting a point slip late against the Reds last time out. This is the trickiest match to line-up this weekend and a fired-up City might be the smart bet come kick-off.
Draw, Wellington, Sydney, Perth, City
Brisbane Roar hardly had a look in against Sydney FC last outing. This week they will be up against a Western United team buoyed by their second win against Melbourne Victory. Away form for United is hard to assess since they have only played one match outside of Melbourne. The travel could blunt the men in green. Draw.
Melbourne Victory returned to their dismal worst against Western United. Despite taking the lead they were outplayed for a good portion of the game. Wellington are playing with an unexpected spring in their step. Coach Ufuk Talay deserves some kudos for steering them to three straight 2-1 victories. Can they do it again? Why not. Phoenix to win 2-1.
Sydney were smoking last Saturday, which is kind of apt as we cough and splutter through another week. Given the poor air quality will the game with Central Coast at Netstrata go ahead? If it does, it will be hard to see anything other than a Sky Blues win. They demolished Brisbane, and the form of Alex Baumjohann and Kosta Barbarouses must be making Steve Corica sleep easy despite the smoke. Sydney to win.
We witnessed a Tony Popovic masterclass last week as his Perth Glory side bottled up Melbourne City. This was the Popa at his AFC Champions League best. The Wanderers could consider themselves unlucky not to have picked up a point in Auckland last week. Another long-distance away game awaits in Perth, and in the form the Glory are in I can’t see any joy for the Wanderers.
With a slice of luck Newcastle could have won against Adelaide. Football is about taking chances and Newcastle really need to convert. It’s hard to see the Jets scoring enough to pip Melbourne City, who despite crashing to earth last week should win on Sunday.
Brisbane, Draw, Sydney, Perth, City
We open Round 10 with a game of what ifs. What if Brisbane’s forwards can be adequately fed? What if Alessandro Diamanti produces a vintage performance? What if Robbie Fowler can find some consistency?
Amongst all these questions, one thing is for certain, on their day, Western United are a force to be reckoned with. After dispatching Victory last week, their inconsistent form dictates they’ll struggle to replicate that performance. O’Donovan to score, Brisbane to win 1-0.
There are a few fine things in life: happy relationships; well-aged scotch; and A-League triple headers. Luckily for us fans, we have the latter on Saturday.
Victory are hosting Wellington again, and this time the story is significantly different. Rather than a Victory side looking for a form steadier against a winless Wellington, we’ve got the Nix flying high in fifth place with three wins on the trot, looking to make it four. On the other end we’ve got Victory, currently in freefall under Marco Kurz and desperate for some form before the Melbourne Derby.
As a Melbourne local I’ve been to every Victory versus Wellington game since 2016, and I know better than to tip either side with certainty, so I’ll be going for the draw here.
There have been executions prettier than the way Sydney demolished Brisbane last week. Even though it’s only Round 10, it’d be hard to tip anyone against the Sky Blues right now.
The Mariners are definitely finding their footing this season, however since Alan Stajcic proclaimed they’d make the top six, they haven’t won a game. Sydney to romp past the Mariners, 4-0.
It’ll be a warm welcome back to Perth for the Glory after silencing their doubters by smacking City in Melbourne, the first side to do so in 17 games. Bruno Fornaroli scoring against his former side was a quality sight for the A-League.
Saturday night they host a side on the slide in the Wanderers. Who knows how Markus Babbel still has his job – they’ve been average since the Sydney derby, and they’ll continue on that trend until something bucks it, either the coach being sacked, or the team of admittedly solid players clicking and finding the back of the net.
It’s going to be the first of those, Perth to win back in front of their home crowd.
Sunday’s only game features a Jets outfit who can only be frustrated after their late collapse to Adelaide last week, hosting a City side who stumbled early against Perth and just couldn’t get themselves back up. It’s a battle of the trainwrecks.
Newcastle has been an unhappy hunting ground for this Melbourne side of late, their last win there coming in April 2018. However, they’re a machine under Erick Mombaerts and he won’t stand for what transpired at AAMI Park last week. City to win.
|Round 10||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|BRI vs WUN||BRS||WUN||Draw||BRS||WUN|
|MVC vs WEL||Draw||WEL||WEL||Draw||WEL|
|SYD vs CCM||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|PER vs WSW||PER||PER||PER||PER||PER|
|NEW vs MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY|