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Opinion

The Roar's A-League expert tips and predictions: Match Week 4

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Expert
13th January, 2021
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After a frustrating weekend where just two A-League matches were played, the competition bursts back into action, we hope, with six matches across five days.

A Sydney Derby headlines, a Melbourne one is served up for dessert, the ladder leading Mariners tackle the Wanderers and Perth Glory, remember them, make their first appearance of the season.

Good luck with your tips and with such a flurry of games there is every chance of storming to an early lead or crashing and burning should the weekend play out unpredictably.

Enjoy the football and be sure to enter your selections into the sheet below to have a say as the always important voice of the crowd. Here is the way the panel sees the matches unfolding in Match Week 4.

Mike Tuckerman
Sydney, Draw, Macarthur, Western Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide.

I have no idea who’ll win the derby. I suspect the Wanderers might be a stronger side than I’ve given them credit for and I believe Sydney FC have probably come back to the pack a little bit.

It’s still hard to tip against the Sky Blues though, particularly in a game of this magnitude. But I’m not overly confident.

Second verse, same as the first. Every time you think there’s a rather decent football side ready to burst out at Melbourne City, they go and lose 2-0 to Adelaide United.

Western United remain one of the toughest sides in the league to turn over under Mark Rudan, and I reckon they’ll dig their heels in here.

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Coach Mark Rudan of Western United

Coach Mark Rudan of Western United (Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The Jets turned in a spirited performance against the Wanderers last time out but they lack a bit of composure in key moments. Macarthur look like they’ll be a bit of a rocks-and-diamonds type of side, but there’s no denying they’ve got quality all over the park. Matt Derbyshire to get off the mark in this one?

The Mariners are top of the table for a reason and executed their game plan to perfection against Macarthur in what now seems an eternity ago. A couple of postponements haven’t helped their cause, and the Wanderers have the firepower to really hurt them in Gosford. Visitors to take all three points.

Someone has to finish last in a 12-team league and I reckon it will be the Jets. They’re probably not as bad as many of us seem to think and they’ll certainly surprise one or two teams this season, particularly at home. But the Roar have made a decent start under Warren Moon and it should continue here.

Will Adelaide turn out to be the surprise package of the season? They seemed to ambush Melbourne City last time around. It’s hard to know what to expect from a Glory side that has been cooling its heels since the start of the season, but they might find themselves up against it at home to the Reds.

Stuart Thomas
Western Sydney, City, Newcastle, Central Coast, Brisbane, Adelaide

It appears highly likely to me that Western Sydney will triumph in the derby this Saturday night. Sydney have had a longish and frustrating break and the Wanderers meet them off the back of a win.

The red and black do look to be building and a victory here will spice up the remainder of the season.

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Melbourne City are my tip against Western United, based on nothing more than the fact that I feel City will win the premiership and use this important match to kick start their charge.

Macarthur have fallen away since their opening victory in Match Week One 1 against the Wanderers. They earned an undeserved and dubious point last week while Newcastle looked really strong at times against Western Sydney.

Based on what we have already seen, the Jets could shock more than a few this season and this match will be one of those occasions.

I was going to predict a crashing down to earth for the Mariners against the Wanderers on Tuesday, yet the quick back up for the visitors makes it difficult to do so. Therefore, I’ll go with the fairy tale to continue and Alen Stajcic’s men to take nine from nine to start the season.

Alen Stajcic

Alen Stajcic (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

My old friends in Brisbane will be pleased to know that I am once again hitching my wagon with the men in orange, based on a shallow Newcastle squad being exposed on a three day back up.

The Roar’s Japanese contingent impress me greatly and could well drive Brisbane towards the pointy end of the ladder should Dylan Wenzel-Halls finally become the goal scorer of which he seems capable.

Perth Glory still exist and are ready to play. Sadly, they could well be off the pace; with Adelaide certain to hit the ground running in this encounter in the west.

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Personally, I can see a three or four-goal win for the Reds and expect the Glory to take some time to show their full potential under the new manager.

Paul Nicholls
Draw, City, Draw, Western Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide

I’m writing this with something of a heavy heart, having just heard of the passing of Frank Arok. In a coaching career spanning the glory days of St George Budapest to the Socceroos, he was one of the most influential coaches and passionate football supporters Australia has ever had. Vale, Frank Arok AM, 1932-2021.

Vale Frank Arok: A man ahead of his time

Did Sydney’s two super strikes against Wellington answer the question as to where their goals will come from? Maybe not, and for that reason the signing of Bobo makes sense. Western Sydney unleashed Robbo-ball against Newcastle Jets – that move featuring a few cagey old Euro-pros finished off by young gun Tate Russell was top drawer.

In fact, I’ll tip a draw.

Newcastle were heroic last week and unlucky not to pick up a point. Macarthur’s Lachie Rose and Adam Federici have been two of the smartest buys of the year. Rose nearly single-handedly wrangles the Bulls attack while Federici dominates a penalty area in the same way a red back spider does a backyard dunny. Draw.

Which Melbourne City will turn up this Saturday against Western United – the good one or the bad one? The good one. City to win.

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Connor Metcalfe of Melbourne City shoots during the A-League

Connor Metcalfe of Melbourne City (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Can Central Coast make it three in a row? Signing Oliver Bozanic has been the Mariners’ smartest move since not signing Usain Bolt. The Wanderers will be looking for more Robbo-ball and expect Bernie Ibini to score in a comfortable win.

Newcastle host Brisbane in what is traditionally an exciting game. Brisbane will be desperate to get back on the paddock after last week’s postponement and should be too hot for the Jets.

Are Perth still in the A-League? I thought they might have been relegated or something. Is Western Australia even part of the Commonwealth anymore? Who knows?

I can’t pick Perth since their players are still digesting their Christmas pudding. If the Adelaide youngsters are allowed to cross the border they will get the win.

Texi Smith
Western Sydney, City, Macarthur, Western Sydney, Brisbane, Perth

I’m unsure whether or not the A-League clubs have been handed the keys to the car, but they’ve definitely been giving the bodywork some attention.

This is genuinely attractive football that we’re seeing; it’s as though the clubs have signed an agreement between them to provide entertaining play for the eager fan-base. And we’re lapping it up.

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Sydney are coming off the back of an unconvincing performance against the Phoenix, relying on unfamiliar long-range goals to secure the points. Wanderers were flat on the opening day of the season, but looked sharp on the road against the Jets.

I’m going with my head over my heart, and I reckon it’s the Wanderers’ day – their superior running, harrying and pestering will win over the style and flair of the Sky Blues.

City are an enigma. They look solid and stingy, then they are chasing the game and easy to prise open. In Curtis Good they have as good a defender as you will see in the league and Jamie Maclaren is surely due a goal.

Western United looked the goods against Adelaide on the opening day, and I would expect them to give City a good run, but my head says City.

You’d be brave to tip Newcastle at the moment, but if there was a game where they could grab points, it’s against a miss-firing Macarthur.

Since they silenced the home crowd at Bankwest in December, the Bulls have not convinced, and I struggle to see where the goals are going to come from. Derbyshire doesn’t look ready. But win this one they will.

I love everything about the Mariners at the moment. The all arms, all legs full-combat play of Matt Simon, the silky skills of Danny De Silva and the safe hands of Mark Birighitti.

Danny De Silva

Daniel De Silva of the Mariners celebrates (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

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They have exceeded all expectations already. That’s why it’s going to be unpleasant to see them undone in this one. Wanderers will be buzzing, and there will be so much to love from the team we all love to hate.

Simon Cox to smash a hat trick and then get red carded for something off the ball picked up by VAR.

I’m confused. How is this game going ahead? Aren’t the borders closed? Jets will be smarting after disappointment against the Bulls and Roar will find them ripe for the picking.

Busy forward play and another tight performance from Brisbane’s quality ex-Carlisle United backline will see the Roar get up by two goals; Gillesphey with another towering header.

Here we go! Great to finally see Perth Glory in action, and amusing to see them not on the bottom of the table despite having not played.

I am especially excited to check out Nick D’Agostino’s form – playing alongside the quality that Perth have across the park, this could be his year.

Adelaide will arrive with Tomi Juric having popped the cork on his goal scoring, but with him being isolated up front and too reliant on the wingers getting time to cross, he will be nullified.

Perth to win this one handsomely and kick start their assault on the A League title.

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Week 4 Mike Stuart Paul Texi The Crowd
SYD vs WSW SYD WSW Draw WSW SYD
MCY vs WUN Draw MCY MCY MCY MCY
NEW vs MAC MAC NEW Draw MAC NEW
CCM vs WSW WSW CCM WSW WSW WSW
NEW vs BRI BRI BRI BRI BRI BRI
PER vs ADL ADL ADL ADL PER ADL
Last week 2 1 1 1 1
Previous total 2 4 5 2 2
New total 4 5 6 3 3