Paul Nicholls has held onto his impressive lead after Match Week 15 and as we draw ever closer to the seasons’ conclusion, it is hard to see him being run down.
This week sees seven matches slated and potential do or die clashes for Brisbane, Perth and Wellington, with the distance between all three and the top six beginning to become a real concern.
Sydney FC and Melbourne City on Saturday night looks like the blockbuster of the round, with the winner likely to be lauded as strong favourites heading into the finals.
Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them into the sheet below to have your say as the reliable voice of the crowd. Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the upcoming action.
Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide, Draw, Newcastle, Adelaide.
It’s not that Brisbane Roar are necessarily a better team than Macarthur, but more the fact the visitors desperately need all three points that leads me to suspect that’s exactly what they’ll leave Campbelltown with.
It’s easy to jump on Melbourne Victory right now, even if they’re not necessarily the worst team in A-League history. Both teams will view this fixture as a much-needed chance to claim a win, and I reckon the Jets will grab it.
Talk about a clash of the titans! Sydney FC have flattered to deceive all season and they’re running out of time to make a move up the standings. If ever Steve Corica’s team was to lay down a marker, this is the game to do it in.
The Reds are always a tough team to beat at home, and Western Sydney continue to turn in questionable performances. They were pretty poor against the Mariners in mid-week and Adelaide should pounce in front of their home fans.
Wellington just can’t seem to take a trick this season. They’re aiming to avoid a third successive defeat in Wollongong, despite the fact they’ve played reasonably well over the past few weeks. Western United should dig in for at least a point.
This game has been moved to Coffs Harbour and with the Jets eager to give the locals something to cheer about, they could head home with a much-needed win over a wounded Glory.
When and how did Macarthur sneak up to third? They’ve won their last three games in a row, but I reckon that run comes to an end at Coopers Stadium.
The Reds are playing for a spot in the finals and will be looking to make a statement in this one.
Macarthur, Newcastle, City, Adelaide, United, Newcastle, Adelaide
Macarthur FC continue to impress and exceed expectations. It is likely they will improve further as their combinations continue to grow. Against the sinking ship that is Brisbane Roar, they will be far too strong.
The Jets and Victory is an interesting affair, with little at stake and zero interest for most A-League fans. I have no idea who will win but will let home ground advantage sway me towards a home victory.
Picking against Melbourne City is silly right now. They look awesome, despite a minor slip up against Western United last week. Sydney are improving yet the ‘other sky blues’ will get the points this time around.
Adelaide and Western Sydney is a cracking affair in which the Reds will cement their semi-final position with a win and Western United travel to Wollongong knowing they need the three points if they wish to hunt down a spot in the finals.
They will do it well against the Phoenix.
Perth should beat a tired Newcastle next Tuesday, but won’t without Diego Castro, before the match week closes out with Adelaide and Macarthur United backing up in the city of churches.
That home ground advantage should get the Reds home and potentially move them to the top of the A-League table,
Macarthur, Newcastle, Sydney, Adelaide, Wellington, Perth, Adelaide
‘Not me mate, I’ve got a young family to support.’
‘Give it to someone older, I’ve got my career to think about.’
What if no-one wanted the Melbourne Victory captain’s armband? Is it the proverbial poisoned chalice? At least Robbie Kruse was getting cranky about it. Melbourne Victory need more crankiness. Bring back Kevin Muscat as coach anyone?
A hat-trick of wins has Macarthur firmly in the top echelons of the table. The Spanish pairing of Susaeta and Benat are lighting up the A-League and the Bulls won’t take a backward step to anyone. They should have too much class for Brisbane.
Surely Newcastle can get back on the winners’ podium against Melbourne Victory. I’ll stick with the Jets just one more time. Do it for me, fellas.
The Sydney FC and Melbourne City game will have big implications for the premiership. City have been a mixed bag lately with the loss to Western United and narrow victory against Wellington. I have a feeling that an improving Sydney might score an upset.
Adelaide’s great run was halted by a gritty Mariners team. The Reds still have the goods and should beat the Wanderers. It’s crunch time for Wellington when they play the enigmatic Western United on Sunday. Three points will keep a top six berth within sight and Phoenix should get it done.
Perth’s up and down season is due for an up when they take on the Newcastle Jets. Perth by two. Last time they met, Macarthur beat Adelaide 4-0. The Reds will be out for revenge and might just pip the Bulls at home.
Macarthur, Victory, City, Adelaide, Wellington, Perth, Adelaide
Like a mad professor, last week’s experimental tipping, a last-ditch attempt to reel in the leader of the pack, failed miserably despite picking up the first two games against all odds. At least the Mariners aren’t playing this week, so there’ll be no temptation to bet against them. And sitting bottom of the pile now, the pressure is off.
Macarthur are purring at the moment, but they have been playing sides towards the bottom of the ladder. Brisbane have had a horror run, and despite my gut wanting to tip them, I’m using my head. Markel Susaeta to score twice as the Bulls hit their straps.
Newcastle Jets have the golden opportunity to inflict more pain on the visitors, but today it will be all about the away team. With Rudy Gestede and Leigh Broxham returning, this will be a much-improved Melbourne Victory performance and an early Jake Brimmer free kick will be the difference between the teams.
Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval – misty eyed Sydney-siders, reminiscing about the great days at this stadium in other codes, will be brought down to earth with a thump after their easy win last Sunday.
Marco Tilio will terrorise his former teammates, but it will be a solitary goal that wins this one, that man Jamie Maclaren striking from distance to take the points.
Adelaide United have a home banker against the Wanderers. The Reds were so unlucky to be pipped by the Mariners last week, and Wanderers were thoroughly unconvincing but took a point off the same opposition.
Stefan Mauk will fling himself to the floor late in the game to win a penalty and will dispatch the resulting spot-kick to complete a come-from-behind win against a poor Western Sydney team.
It feels like years since the Phoenix played Western United. Phoenix will come up with the goods in this one, finally some of the pretty football that we’ve seen from the home side will be put to good effect.
Expect a performance akin to the win at home to Perth Glory, an even game blowing out unnecessarily and Phoenix coming away with a flattering score line after Uli Davila sets them away with a majestic free kick.
If Newcastle missed their opportunity against Victory earlier in the round, this will be even more frustrating for them. Leading by a goal at the break, a sending off will reduce them to ten and that man Daniel Stynes will come on to break the home team’s hearts with a perfect hat-trick in the final 20 minutes.
Macarthur will come into their away game at Adelaide full of verve after their dismantling of Brisbane. Their results suggest an assault on the title.
However, Adelaide have the Craig Goodwin factor and this will be one of those days when they click. Goodwin to score twice and Adelaide to cruise to an easier than expected win.
|Match Week 16||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Texi||The Crowd|
|MAC vs BRI||BRS||MAC||MAC||MAC||MAC|
|NEW vs MVC||NEW||NEW||NEW||MVC||NEW|
|SYD vs MCY||SYD||MCY||SYD||MCY||MCY|
|ADL vs WSW||ADL||ADL||ADL||ADL||ADL|
|WEL vs WUN||Draw||WUN||WEL||WEL||WEL|
|NEW vs PER||NEW||NEW||PER||PER||NEW|
|ADL vs MAC||ADL||ADL||ADL||ADL||?|