Spain’s and Italy’s champions are eliminated from the major European competition.
Quick! Blow the whistle and get things started.
Who knows how long a return to A-League action might last and it would be nice to at least get a round completed before we all crawl back under our rocks and begin another period of lockdown.
All sympathies go out to our friends south of the border, those already living that pain, yet with the round ball back in play and 27 matches in 28 days, there is at least one ray of hope on which to focus.
This will hopefully be the first of four tips and prediction pieces that capture the chaotic A-League period about to unfold. It is a busy week for Sydney FC, Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix, with two matches slated and the Reds, Mariners, Jets and Roar join them in action, while the Melbourne teams cool their heels in quarantine.
Yours truly leads the tipping after 24 rounds, holding sway over the roar of the crowd by four points. Mike Tuckerman looks the main danger to both, with Paul Nicholls and Tom Williamson making up the numbers in season 2019-20.
Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them into the sheet below to have your say as part of the all-important voice of the crowd.
Tips: Sydney, Central Coast, Brisbane, Sydney, Draw
Surprise! Suspense! Social distancing! Looks like the Blernsball-inspired finish to the A-League season will have it all, although whether anyone remembers how to play football remains to be seen. Table-toppers Sydney FC look better equipped than most, but just how long will they be able to play at home for?
Diego Castro appears to be winding his way across the Nullarbor as we speak, and there’s every chance Perth Glory are a bit of a rabble. There’s also the chance they’ve used their isolated Western Australian fortress to transform into the league’s most formidable opponent. I’m betting on the former here.
It’s out with the old and in with Darren Davies in Queensland, with the Welshman taking over at Brisbane Roar for his second spell in charge. The Roar were tough to break down during the Robbie Fowler regime and had a knack for grinding out results. They should do exactly that on the Gold Coast on Sunday.
Sydney FC to win another home game? You heard it here first! The Sky Blues have shrugged off the fact their old home ground is now a pile of rubble, and if they can play out the rest of the season in Kogarah, they’ve got an obvious advantage. That’s a big if, though, and the Jets should prove a tricky opponent.
Perth versus Wellington in the heart of Western Sydney is the fixture we all wanted to see, and both sides will go into this game on the back of an earlier run-out. It’s hard to imagine which team has been disadvantaged more in the midst of this pandemic, which makes sitting on the fence an attractive option.
Tips: Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Wellington
Seriously, it is hard to believe we are actually doing this. Form goes out the window, as have many of the players, and tipping from this point on could be an absolute nightmare. Surely the Sky Blues are the real deal and handle the Phoenix at Kogarah?
Perth will beat the Mariners in Gosford early Saturday evening, with the break potentially proving beneficial to Tony Popovic’s men and the Reds will spring an upset on Sunday, against a team still unsettled by the loss of their manager.
Sydney will do it tough backing up against the Jets on Tuesday yet should be able to take all three on their home deck and Wellington will bounce back against the Glory at Bankwest on Wednesday, a match I am still unsure whether I am permitted to attend.
Tips: Wellington, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Wellington
Have you ever picked up a book or tuned in to a TV series after a long break and wondered what the hell is going on? Is this the one about the teen vampires or is it the bloke who suddenly finds out he has been undead for centuries. It feels that way with the A-League as it finally kicks off again.
Of all the teams, Wellington has a case for being the most cohesive as they have been in a World Cup-style camp for a few weeks now, living and breathing football. Sydney will be a tough opponent and the game featuring two of the top teams should be a great way to restart the season. Phoenix to surprise.
Perth Glory host Central Coast Mariners in a game actually played on the Central Coast. The Glory will be without Diego Castro, last seen in a camper van in the Western Australian wilderness. Perth should still win though.
A Robbie Fowler-less Brisbane Roar play Adelaide at the Gold Coast and the home team should be too strong.
Sydney FC take on Newcastle at Kogarah on Tuesday night. It should be time for Sydney FC to click and take the three points. The Wednesday game pits Wellington against Perth Glory at Bankwest. Phoenix to chalk up their second win in a row.
Tips: Draw, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Draw
Three months, 24 days. That is how long we’ve been waiting for our fix of A-League football. I think I speak for everyone when I say it is excellent to be back.
Well, everyone else is back.
I find myself fortunate enough to live smack dab in the middle of metropolitan Melbourne, meaning that while my lucky co-panellists are going to be attending games and sinking beers, I’ll be watching from my room in lockdown. To say I’m jealous is an understatement.
Two strong grand final contenders square off to restart the season. Sydney are fortunate to count themselves at home for the remainder of this season, but Wellington have proven in the past that Jubilee Stadium can be a happy hunting ground for them, trouncing Sydney by three goals to one in their last meeting there.
Both teams were in strong form going into the hiatus, but there’s no telling that that form will dictate the pace of this game due to the long break.
The unpredictability of this round is going to prove massive, and I can’t definitively say either team will win, so I’m expecting a 1-1 draw.
Next up is another game that you’d expect to be a thrashing pre-hiatus. Perth were a bit shaky with some unexpected losses to Melbourne City and Newcastle and keenly looking ahead to this fixture for a desperate form settler.
Central Coast are a shambles. Ten losses on the trot and departures of key players due to the break, they aren’t looking promising for an escape from a third consecutive wooden spoon.
Perth will be a bit rough around the edges, but it will still be more than enough to dispatch of the hapless Mariners. 2-0 Glory.
Brisbane and Adelaide has all the building blocks for a nothing game, yet the implications that three points could have here is massive. The Roar are searching for a home elimination final, United are seeking that elusive sixth place. For both clubs, this is huge.
Brisbane will be reeling from the loss of Robbie Fowler, who had them firing on all cylinders pre-quarantine, while Adelaide will also be struggling to find their footing after Gertjan Verbeek returned to his native Netherlands.
It’s anything goes and whichever team can adapt better to the tumultuous atmosphere will come out on top. I think it’ll be Adelaide, 3-1.
Just four days later and Sydney are playing again! This is going to be a very interesting climax to the season as fitness will begin to play a huge role. Newcastle will be completely fresh as they make their return, while Sydney will have regained some sharpness after their game against the Nix.
Newy had an unexpected win against Melbourne City in the last match before the break and if they want any chance of making the top six, a win is a necessity here.
Will they get it? No, I can’t see Sydney dropping points two games in a row and I think the Wellington game will be much more likely their slip up.
Lastly we’ve got a massive game to wrap up our week of tips, as the distance derby will be coming to us live from Bankwest Stadium! The atmosphere should be like the stadium has never seen before.
In what is genuinely a very important game in regards to the top four, both sides will feel the three points are completely necessary. Because of this we’ll bear witness to a very attacking game.
We’re going to see a high scoring draw, 3-3.
|27 in 28 (Part 1)||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Tom||The Crowd|
|SYD vs WEL||SYD||SYD||WEL||Draw||Draw|
|PER vs CCM||CCM||PER||PER||PER||PER|
|BRI vs ADL||BRI||ADL||BRI||ADL||BRI|
|SYD vs NEW||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||?|
|PER vs WEL||Draw||WEL||WEL||Draw||?|