Western Sydney Wanderers have snapped a two-game losing streak after defeating Western United 1-0 in Ballarat.
The A-League enters Match Week 5 of play with a host of interesting and potentially tight contests. The panel is back for another week of tipping, despite some disappointing recent performances.
Each and every match looks a tough pick this week, with Sydney FC against a no doubt tiring Central Coast potentially the most theoretically clear cut of the five.
Perth are now in full swing and very busy. They will play their third match in six days when they tackle the Victory in Melbourne next Tuesday, while the latest edition of the original rivalry and an intriguing clash between the Phoenix and Jets also loom as entertaining contests.
Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the ever important voice of the crowd. Here is the way the panel members see the action unfolding over the next six days.
Sydney, Adelaide, Draw, Draw, Victory
The Sky Blues weren’t terribly impressive in the derby last weekend and will have their work cut out for them against a resurgent Mariners. They’ll be forced to work hard for all three points.
Having been forced to deal with a long layoff, the Reds now find themselves having to play a second game within a few days. They might be a bit leg-weary but Victory will be equally rusty.
It’s hard to know what to make of Western United. They’re certainly a well-drilled side, but have they got the firepower to really finish opponents? This one could finish all square.
The Wollongong – sorry, Wellington – Phoenix are like every other A-League team in that they haven’t exactly been able to get into any rhythm thus far. Look for the Jets to try and dig in for a share of the points.
Plenty of sides seem to have strengthened this season, but I’m not sure Victory are one of them. They usually fire up for an Australia Day clash though, so they’ll view this holiday showdown as a bit of a home banker.
Sydney, United, Victory, Wellington, Victory
Last year all I did was boast about my superb and consistent tipping. This year, I am battling. However, chalking up a point to start the round will be easy with Sydney FC strong odds-on favourites against a Mariners side that will be fatigued after a very busy period of play.
Sydney are not in top form but still good enough to win this. The Sky Blues 2-0.
Melbourne Victory have not played A-League opposition since the second of January and many will suggest they may do things tough against a young and energetic Reds. I don’t think they will. The long break could well have helped build some understanding and connectivity. Victory in a tight one.
I feel like throwing a dart at the board to predict the winner between Western United and Perth Glory. Based on a quick turnaround for the men in purple I’ll go with Mark Rudan’s side at GMHBA Stadium. With the season so young, getting a gauge on teams playing infrequently is a challenging exercise.
Wellington should beat the Jets in Wollongong late Sunday, with Newcastle playing their third match in eight days. The Phoenix will be well rested and are clearly a top six side in the making. I’m not sure the Jets will have much left in the tank.
Both off short back-ups, Victory meet Perth next Tuesday night at AAMI Park. Whoever wins this one could top off a superb week with potentially six points gained. I’ll tip the Victory to do so and the entire competition to sit up and take notice.
Sydney, United, Adelaide, Wellington, Draw
Matt Simon’s brilliant monologue delivered to a prone Ziggy Gordon on Tuesday was the finest piece of Australian method acting since Mel Gibson single-handedly routed the English in Braveheart.
Simon added action hero to his repertoire with some tidy Kung Fu moves as well. I rocked up to Stadium Australia last Saturday and was impressed with the performance of old hand Milos Ninkovic.
The Sky Blues still have issues up front but unfortunately for the Mariners, Matt Simon won’t be getting the Oscar this week. Sydney by two.
Western United unleashed two of their Spanish signings against Melbourne City and despite being a bit rusty showed some serious potential.
With Alessandro Diamanti still pulling the strings, United have a bit of improvement in them and should be too good for the underdone Perth Glory.
At home and with a team bursting with young talent, Adelaide look a certainty against a Melbourne Victory stuck in the slow lane.
Carl Veart’s Reds could challenge for honours this year and as Victory seem to bring out the best in them, expect Adelaide to romp home.
Wellington’s New South Wales record has not been great despite the team playing well. They face a Newcastle team who have proven to be a much tougher opponent than many thought. The Phoenix to win narrowly. I can’t find much to split Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory. With the home ground advantage Victory should have enough to hold Perth to a draw.
Sydney, United, Victory, Newcastle, Victory
The entertainment continues. We’re getting accustomed to seeing absorbing football and quality goals such as Loic Puyol’s acrobatic effort (why didn’t Duncan dive?) although last week did produce a Redders fumble and a shot off the arse that led to a goal, both from the Wanderers.
We also saw a comedy goal from Yuel for the Jets. All part of the package that we know as the A-League.
This Friday throws up a cracker. For all of the flair, swagger and confidence that the Sky Blues show on the ball, there is the counter argument that says they don’t do enough with it.
When faced with a team that is direct and can harry and hassle to get possession, they don’t look convincing. There will be a lot of fun and games between ex-Sydney hero Matt Simon and the unfortunate soul who gets the nod to keep him quiet and I predict plenty of pantomime to keep the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Sydney to win it, but only by one at the death.
At the time of writing we don’t know what sort of Perth we’re going to get, but having said that, it wouldn’t make a difference here.
Western United were stubborn but ultimately folded in their 2-1 reverse to local rivals City, and I fancy them to put that right with a first win of the season in this one.
The Perth defence will have no answer to the Besart Berisha strike power and the Alessandro Diamanti trickery of the home team in a handsome win.
I honestly don’t see what all the fuss is about with Adelaide. The Reds have a couple of lively young players and a striker with pedigree who is not exactly firing on all cylinders. And they have a defensive partnership that’s ‘tighter than a gnat’s chuff’.
But that doesn’t mean that the South Australians can cope with the quality that is Melbourne Victory. After their previous game was postponed, Victory have had time to properly lick their wounds from their opening defeat, and they will be back in this one to take all three points with a clinical performance.
Wellington are a quality team. There is enough firepower all over the park with Ulises Dávila and Tomer Hemed to give some teams a good thrashing, but they just need to put it all together into a complete performance.
That outrageous sending off against the Bulls last time probably interrupted a clinical victory, but there’s just something missing.
Newcastle come here with absolutely nothing to lose, and that will see their defensive experience give them the basis for a shock 1-0 win; O’Donovan getting the all-important winner with a brave close-range header.
The final game of the round is yet another chance to see Perth in action. We’ll be well and truly used to them by then.
Victory will be humming after their win in Adelaide and it will be home comforts for the Melbournians. Neil Kilkenny to pick up two yellow cards for persistent fouls to leave the visitors down a man, and Leigh Broxham to give the home side the points with a long range speculator.
|Week 5||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Texi||The Crowd|
|SYD vs CCM||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|WUN vs PER||Draw||WUN||WUN||WUN||PER|
|ADL vs MVC||ADL||MVC||ADL||MVC||ADL|
|WEL vs NEW||Draw||WEL||WEL||NEW||WEL|
|MVC vs PER||MVC||MVC||Draw||MVC||PER|