Western Sydney have pulled the trigger on under-fire coach Markus Babbel, axing the German midway through his three-year contract.
After Perth’s New Year’s Eve victory over the Mariners, Paul Nicholls was our Round 12 victor with four correct selections.
Round 13 launches into action on Wednesday, the first day of 2020. Robbie Fowler’s Brisbane will be hoping the new calendar brings better fortune. The round includes a Melbourne derby, a chance for Wellington to notch more points and cement their place in the top six and an opportunity for Sydney FC fans to fill Netstrata Jubilee for the second time in seven days.
Good luck with your selections for the week and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the interactive voice of the crowd. Here are the tips and predictions of the panel on the first round of A-League football for 2020.
Western Sydney, City, Wellington, Sydney, Victory
My tips are coming from the Miyakoji Express bound for Nara, so perhaps that explains my terrible recent form. I haven’t seen the latest round of action but that probably helps rather than hinders.
I reckon the Wanderers will get the job done on New Year’s Day in front of a big crowd at Bankwest Stadium. Brisbane Roar just can’t take a trick at the moment.
Every time Melbourne City look like turning a corner they go and lose to Sydney FC. They’ll be looking to bounce back and get one over their newest Victorian rivals.
Wellington Phoenix took a while to get going under Ufuk Talay but are a more than handy football side. They’ll have too much class at home for the Central Coast Mariners even though the visitors will make things difficult.
It’s hard to see anyone stopping Sydney FC from cruising to the league title. They’ll probably drop a game here or there and this one arguably looms as a potential banana skin, but it seems crazy to tip against the Sky Blues.
If Melbourne Victory are to qualify for the finals this season they have to win against teams like the Newcastle. A few Victory players are playing for their futures and they should take all three points against the scrappy Jets.
Western Sydney, City, Wellington, Sydney, Victory
After toppling the Reds in Adelaide in what was one of the most controversial matches thus far this season, the Wanderers return home to start the year, looking for three points and a return to the top six. Frankly, they should achieve it. Despite Robbie Fowler’s insistence that Brisbane are closer to stringing some wins together than most people think, their actual play suggests otherwise to me. After foolishly tipping Brisbane last week against the Jets, it might be some time before I will be doing so again.
Melbourne City appear to have lost their mojo, having lost three of their last four and allowing a ten-man Sydney FC to pinch the points in Sydney last weekend. I’m not sure what to make of them right now. Western United were outplayed by Wellington and, despite City’s inconsistencies, will be outplayed again by the home side at AAMI Park.
In recent years a Phoenix-Mariners clash often became the brunt of some mean-spirited jokes. Not this time. Wellington are flying, Central Coast are much improved and both clubs are capable of playing in the finals. Wellington will continue their run in front of another solid crowd at home.
Adelaide United have lost three from their most recent four and despite the likelihood of Sydney FC resting Milos Ninkovic after he limped off against City last Sunday, the Sky Blues will condemn them to another loss in Kogarah. Adelaide don’t appear to be able to take a trick right now and Sydney look to have a few more up their sleeve. The run looks set to continue for Steve Corica’s team.
Melbourne Victory are back on the pitch after a week off and Newcastle at least managed a point against the Roar in Round 12. After a resounding derby win against City, Victory most likely wanted to keep playing to bed down the improvements they had made. Now they must brush aside the extended rest and pick up where they left off against a side that appears destined for a long season. I’m feeling a potentially powerful and high-scoring win for the home side in this one.
Western Sydney, City, Wellington, Sydney, Newcastle
It looks like being a hot old night at Parramatta on Wednesday. Markus Babbel’s rabble did a fine job taking the three points in hot old Adelaide. Brisbane really haven’t got their act together yet. It’s a gradual improvement and they are looking good to hit top form by Round 29. Wanderers to win.
City have hit a mid-season slump. They will need to pull out of it soon lest their chances at a premiership go completely down the gurgler. In a derby against Western United they will be hard-pressed to get three points, but they are too good a team not to get the job done.
The Phoenix are nearly the form team at the moment. Their away win at Western United was a far better effort than their cricketing brothers at the MCG. They should have no trouble at home against the struggling Central Coast Mariners.
Sydney FC versus Adelaide will provide another tough test for the Sky Blues, but they have hardly faltered all year. Adelaide are unpredictable, and a draw wouldn’t surprise. Still, it’s Sydney FC for me.
Melbourne Victory and Newcastle would both hope to have been travelling better than eighth and 11th on the ladder at this stage of the season. They have frustratingly shown glimpses of good form, but not enough. I can’t bring myself to picking all home teams, so I’ll take the Jets in an upset.
Western Sydney, City, Wellington, Draw, Victory
|Round 13||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|WSW vs BRI||WSW||WSW||WSW||WSW||WSW|
|MCY vs WUN||MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY|
|WEL vs CCM||WEL||WEL||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|SYD vs ADL||SYD||SYD||SYD||Draw||SYD|
|MVC vs NEW||MVC||MVC||NEW||MVC||MVC|