On deadline day of the January transfer window in 2018, Crystal Palace signed Alexander Sorloth from FC Midtjylland for a fee of €9 million (A$16 million).
Mike Tuckerman tipped a perfect four from four in Round 19 as the Brisbane Roar continued on their merry way.
This weekend sees a mouth-watering clash between the men in orange and a Perth Glory team backing up from the Asian Champions League during the week.
Wellington will look to continue their march to the top four against a slipping Western United, Adelaide may well kill of Western Sydney’s season at Bankwest and the improving Jets have a chance to grab all three against what will be a tired Victory.
Sunday afternoon pits the ladder leaders against the gritty Central Coast and Sydney FC will be seeking their 14th win from 16 matches.
Be sure to insert your tips into the sheet below and have a say as the ever important voice of the crowd. Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the Round 20 action.
Draw, Adelaide, Brisbane, Draw, Sydney
After tipping the card last week, I’m due for a shocker any round now. Wellington Phoenix might be the surprise package of the season but they’ll run into a Mark Rudan desperate to turn things around at Western United. There’s no love lost between these two, so expect them to fight for every ball.
It’s hard to figure out whether Adelaide United are a decent side or not, but the sudden emergence of Mohamed Toure should have them flying again. The Wanderers can’t keep losing forever and will probably view this fixture as one they should win, but Adelaide’s youthful visitors might have too much spark.
Here’s a tip for away sides: run into the breeze first. To say that the wind is a factor at Dolphin Stadium in Redcliffe is a huge understatement. Brisbane Roar have proved tough to beat of late and they’ll take on a Perth Glory side that suffered a midweek ACL defeat in Tokyo. Roar with another wind-assisted win.
Carl Robinson has a bit to work on at the Newcastle Jets, but he’s got a bit to work with as well. The Jets have showed plenty of hustle and bustle this season but they’ve lacked some quality at both ends of the park. They’ll run into a Victory side at a good time here though. This one could finish all square.
Maybe the Mariners will jag a rare victory in Gosford on the back of Sydney FC’s midweek ACL exploits in Yokohama? There’s probably no better time. It’s just hard to see them overcoming a Sky Blues side capable of playing on auto-pilot. The heart says Central Coast but the head says the defending champs.
Wellington, Adelaide, Perth, Newcastle, Sydney
This looks an easy week of tipping from the leader’s perspective. Wellington are a polished side, bright and brisk and Western United appear fragmented and on the slide. In football circles, smoke usually means fire and something smells rotten in the state of, well, wherever Western United play in any given week. The Phoenix in a canter 2-0.
It looks to be the last chance saloon for the Wanderers and the fourth-placed Reds should prove too professional for them at Bankwest on Saturday night. That sense of professionalism has been the major issue for the Wanderers this season. Discipline and finishing have let them down at times while Adelaide continue to improve.
Here it is, the tip everyone waits for on The Roar. I managed to find my way through the muck and jagged a correct selection on the Roar last weekend and will do so again in Round 20. Perth to win after a disappointing result mid-week that will have Tony Popovic seething and his troops determined to bounce back immediately.
The Jets will beat the Victory in Newcastle this weekend after the Melburnians’ mid-week loss with a goal or two from Roy O’Donovan doing the damage.
Sydney FC will dust up the Mariners in Gosford. Each year I take my kids on a weekend up the coast to watch this clash and they should have the privilege of witnessing three or four Sky Blue goals and some wonderfully steered sauce bottles in the pre-game.
Wellington, Draw, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney
I saw the empty stands at the beginning of Fire Fight Australia and thought I was watching a Western United home game. The crowd did eventually pack the place out, unlike a Western United home game. Besart Berisha might be the Alice Cooper of the A-League but his team as a whole have been lacking in the Department of Youth in recent weeks.
Wellington put on a great show in Auckland last week. Ufuk Talay has them playing a superb team game, underpinned by 21-year-old Cameron Devlin, who has been one of the standout players of the year. The Phoenix will be Western United’s Poison.
Brash, loud and a bit off tune at times, Western Sydney are the Hilltop Hoods of the A-League. Thank goodness for DJ Mitch Duke keepin’ it real. This week’s opponents, Adelaide, have some of the most exciting players in the competition. Riley McGree has become a top goal provider and George Blackwood has stepped up another level. What can we say about Mohamed Toure that hasn’t been said? Young and with great technique, he could be the Amy Shark of the A-League, yet by bringing it home at the end you could also make a case for MT being the John Farnham of the competition. Draw.
Under their English manager and playing a solid set, the Roar are performing a bit like Queen at the moment. You know what you are going to get but who doesn’t rock out to We Will Rock You. With four wins from the last five games, Robbie Fowler has at last found his groove, and at Dolphin Oval the Roar faithful will be singing We Are the Champions once again.
Newcastle performed real smooth and on song last week just like Tina Arena. They definitely have lifted over the last few weeks and if coach Carl Robinson can iron out early defensive wobbles, the Jets will be too strong for a jaded Melbourne Victory.
Central Coast played alright last week despite going down 2-0 to Adelaide. They’ll give Sydney FC a shake but the Sky Blues are relentless and their KD Lang smoothness will win out. Hallelujah!
Wellington, Draw, Draw, Newcastle, Sydney
A strong win here could see the Phoenix in second by the end of the evening! And who better to do it against than the toothless new boys? Western United are struggling to find the back of the net, with the second least shots at goal in the competition. Phoenix to win, condemning Western United to the bottom five.
Second up on Friday night, Western Sydney host Adelaide in a fixture that, four years ago, would have been fiery and full of Western Sydney aggression. That is now a bygone era that fans of both these teams would long to go back to.
Adelaide are another side that can go top two, equal on points and goal difference with the Nix. It’s the Wanderers season on the line as we near the pointy end of the 2019-20 iteration of the league.
Saturday’s first match-up is actually a lot closer than it seems. Brisbane are in fighting form and Robbie Fowler’s men could easily push for a home final if they can get further consistency behind them as we head towards the finals.
Perth are knocking on the door of second place, with two games in hand on Melbourne City and just one point behind them. The semi-final spot is as good as theirs right now. It is Brisbane’s home game at Dolphin Stadium and they’ll eek out a draw here.
Next up is a replay of the 2017-18 grand-final, the one marred by the VAR controversy. How much has changed in two seasons? The two best teams back then are now resigned to avoiding the wooden spoon. Newy are moving in a positive direction as opposed to the Victory, who are an utter shambles right now. Newy to win it at home, dropping Melbourne to tenth.
Sunday’s solitary game is a true David vs Goliath, with the last-placed Mariners hosting first-placed Sydney FC. Can David get one over Goliath this time? No, absolutely not. These teams are in different dimensions. Sydney are just a force and it’s hard to see anyone beating them come finals time. Meanwhile the Mariners, while definitely an improvement on last season, are in last place yet again, staring down the barrel of a third consecutive wooden spoon. Lucky we don’t have relegation. Sydney are going to win, it won’t be a smashing, but they’ll have it sealed early and see out the game with ease.
|Round 20||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|WEL vs WUN||Draw||WEL||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|WSW vs ADL||ADL||ADL||Draw||Draw||ADL|
|BRI vs PER||BRI||PER||BRI||Draw||BRI|
|NEW vs MVC||Draw||NEW||NEW||NEW||NEW|
|CCM vs SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||?|