So many young players have graced the pitch this season and last season.
If there has even been a more bizarre climate in which to guess football results in a tips and predictions article, I’m not sure when it existed.
At the time of writing, the A-League is on.
With two clubs in quarantine for another ten days, there are five matches across three rounds slated for the weekend and – should the league stay afloat and eventually find its way to a conclusion, whenever that may be – all five could well have a serious impact of the final make-up of the top six.
Melbourne City need to knock off the hapless Mariners to keep Wellington at bay in second, the Sydney Derby could effectively decide Western Sydney’s fate, and three points are vital for both Perth Glory and Western United.
Good luck with your tips, resist the urge to panic in supermarkets and be sure to enter your selections into the sheet below.
Here are the thoughts of the panel on an A-League round that many thought would not be going ahead.
Tips: Draw, Brisbane, Sydney, TBC, Perth
We could throw a dart at the rest of the season and have better luck finding a winner, but if the competition is going to continue behind closed doors then it should conjure up a few anomalies.
The Central Coast Mariners should hold Melbourne City to a draw in Gosford.
Brisbane Roar will ‘host’ the Newcastle Jets at Cbus Stadium on the Gold Coast on Friday night, with both sides in form. How either will fare playing behind closed doors remains to be seen, but it’s hard to tip against a Roar side that won’t have to travel far.
How filthy would the Western Sydney Wanderers be right now? They would have gone close to selling out the derby, and now they won’t even have the advantage of the crowd behind them against their hated crosstown rivals. It’ll be a case of third time’s the charm for Sydney FC in the strangest of derbies.
Well the A-League has often flirted with a Big Bash League sort of competition, and now it looks like we’ve got one. The Jets and City will both back up from Friday night fixtures for this Monday night grudge match under lights and no fans in Newcastle. Who will win? I haven’t the foggiest. Let’s stick with a draw. Is Perth Glory versus Western United still on? Are they playing in Perth? I’ll tip the ‘home’ team to take the chocolates, assuming this game goes ahead.
Tips: City, Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Perth
I would love to see Central Coast break a shocking run of losses and win against City on Friday night. Sadly for them, it is unlikely. Once again, they will play well at times yet the tendency they have to concede early and then fail to mount enough pressure to pull back deficits will most likely play out for the umpteenth time this season. City 2-1.
Talk about a fluid situation. The Roar suddenly face the Jets in what was slated as a Round 27 match-up. The men in orange look to have all the momentum. Being my favourite team, it’s difficult to tip against them here.
Forever to be known as the quietest Sydney derby, the clash gives the Wanderers an opportunity to claim all nine points against their rivals in a season. With recent derby results well against them, that would be a terrific outcome. It is a shame no one will be present, however. Both teams are in good form and the actual contest could be an entertaining one. Sydney to win in a tight affair.
Both Melbourne City and Newcastle are forced to undertake the quick back-up before their clash in the Hunter on Monday. The Jets do unpredictable better and will pinch all three at home. In saying that, this is all getting a bit weird, isn’t it?
Perth Glory simply have to win against Western United in the west on Monday night. The idea of the men in purple missing the top six this season was absurd just a month or so ago. However, the chase is on from behind, with their opponent in this match one of the teams capable of removing them from the finals.
Despite 11 total goals in their last two matches, Perth will prove a far tougher nut to crack for United, as they showed against Sydney last weekend. Perth will get the points with a single goal from a classy Uruguayan.
Tips: City, Newcastle, Sydney, Draw, Perth
We join the illustrious company of the NRL and possibly the AFL in keeping the world’s sporting wheels turning. In this column our job is not to reason why but to tip fearlessly until the very end and that’s what we’ll keep doing.
For Central Coast, the end of the season can’t come soon enough. I’ve lost count of how many games they’ve lost in a row, but at least they are consistent and we should be able to add one more to the tally this weekend. Melbourne City are vying for second place with Wellington and will not want to slip up.
Newcastle are suddenly one of the hottest teams going around. It will be another victory for the Jets over the Roar on the Gold Coast in the second match of the weekend.
My mind has been so preoccupied I didn’t even realise it was a Sydney derby this weekend. It’s such a shame we won’t be seeing a crowd at Bankwest – that first derby of the year showed the new stadium in all its glory. This game should be entertaining but as I can’t seem to remove these sky blue blinkers, I’ll tip Sydney FC 3-2.
Against City, Newcastle should hold on for a draw, in a match where both teams are backing up and will be fatigued.
It’s kind of a Western derby on Monday when Perth Glory host Western United. A surprising stat is that Perth haven’t won for six weeks, although they appear one of the better sides in the competition. Western United have smashed in 11 goals in two weeks and everyone’s second-favourite striker, Besart Berisha, has now scored 15 goals – just one behind the leading scorer, Adam le Fondre.
Over in the real Wild West, Tony Popovic will have too much ammo in his holster.
Then who knows where we will be next week.
Tips: City, Newcastle, Draw, City, Perth
With the world in panic, and leagues dropping faster than share prices, our league charges on to keep all of us entertained in a time where little can.
With five fixtures from three different rounds this weekend, I can only think one thing: it’s better than none.
The Mariners are keen to end their despair, aiming to snap a nine-game losing streak when Melbourne City come to town. Can they do it? No. Absolutely not. City will run riot and extend their safety in second place. 3-0 Melbourne City.
Next up is the fixture between Brisbane and Newcastle. The Roar have been in flying form and don’t show many signs of slowing. Newcastle have had a late resurgence this season, and I’m starting to believe they can scrape into finals contention. I’m going 2-1 to the Novocastrians, but it could easily go either way.
Would you believe it’s derby week again! And in this season of complete pandemonium, Western Sydney can claim all three fixtures against their sky blue counterparts, something they’ve been unable to do previously. With both teams coming off hard-fought draws in games they feel they should have won, this fixture could be spicy.
With an eerie atmosphere behind closed doors, this Sydney derby will end all square with multiple goals on both sides.
Melbourne City then travel to Newcastle, seeking two wins in four days. Newy are making a late charge, yet their fitness won’t match up to Erick Mombaerts’ men, and City will get the three points.
Last but not least, Perth Glory have hit a road block in their fight for a top-two spot and they risk falling out of contention completely should they fail to register all three points on Monday. Western United have hit a rich vein of form, which has rocketed them into the top six and a finals spot could easily be consolidated with a strong performance in Perth. I think the Glory will step up and get the job done.
|Round 22||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|CCM vs MCY||Draw||MCY||MCY||MCY||MCY|
|BRI vs NEW||BRI||BRI||NEW||NEW||BRI|
|WSW vs SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||Draw||?|
|NEW vs MCY||TBC||NEW||Draw||MCY||?|
|PER vs WUN||PER||PER||PER||PER||?|