The near-impossible nature of A-League tipping was made even more difficult last week, with a host of unusual draws featuring.
Western United, Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne Victory are all backing up this week in what stands to be a decisive round when it comes to the chase for the top six.
It is now or never for the Glory and a chance for Western Sydney, Brisbane and Wellington to make their way into the six, in a hot race between seven teams separated by just six points.
Good luck with your selections this week and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the improving voice of the crowd.
Here are the thoughts of the panel on all the Match Week 20 action.
Victory, draw, Sydney, Western Sydney, City, Perth, Brisbane, United
Steve Kean looks about as well-suited to being an A-League coach as I do a world-title-fighting boxer, but plenty of these Victory players are playing for their futures under Tony Popovic. Meanwhile, Macarthur are without a win in five. Home side for mine.
Adelaide can thank a six-game winning streak earlier in the season for the fact they’re still in the top four. They’ve struggled since then, winning just one of their past six games. Wellington are desperate to keep their finals dream alive, but this might finish all square.
It’s hard to believe, but at one stage this season the Newcastle Jets went on a five-game unbeaten run. They’ve been cactus ever since and are out to avoid a third successive league defeat against a bogey side in Sydney FC. It won’t happen.
A stirring win in the derby means it’s game on for the Wanderers in terms of a top-six spot and this is a vital clash with Western United at Bankwest Stadium. Mark Rudan will instruct his side to fight tooth and nail in Parramatta, but this game is surely Western Sydney’s to lose.
It’s hard to see how anyone will stop Melbourne City from claiming the premiership. They’ve won more games than anyone else this season and they’ve made AAMI Park a real fortress. Brisbane Roar are a better team than they get credit for, but they won’t have the legs to avoid defeat here.
It’s been a frustrating, forgettable season for Perth Glory. Even when they haven’t been severely impacted by COVID, they’ve rarely looked their best. Still, it’s hard to see how Richie Garcia’s team don’t come away with three points at home against a bang-average Victory side.
I should have tipped Brisbane Roar in Gosford the other night. The Queenslanders cast off the shackles a bit in that 4-0 win and with Warren Moon having found a couple of willing new workers in Alex Parsons and Masato Kudo, the Roar should bag another win in front of their home fans.
It’s hard enough to tip against Western United in Parramatta earlier in the week, but I just can’t see them losing to a Perth Glory side that’s well down on confidence. Which pretty much ensures I’ve just jinxed Western United’s chances of winning in Perth.
Nuts to this impossible-to-tip season!
Victory, Adelaide, Sydney, Western Sydney, City, Perth, Central Coast, Perth
Melbourne Victory can and will beat Macarthur, with the visitors without a win since April 2 and the home side finally showing some grit in the past fortnight. Adelaide need a win and should get it when the Phoenix make the long journey west, the home deck being the deciding advantage.
It is hard to see the always plucky Jets matching Sydney FC on Saturday afternoon, with the Sky Blues building their quietest ever challenge towards an A-League premiership. Later that night, the Wanderers and Western United meet in a blockbuster that will see the winner inside the six and the loser out. It will be a Wanderers win or a draw. Can the home side find that one goal? Yes.
Melbourne City will be too strong for Brisbane on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park; the visitors consumed with the busiest schedule possible and without the weapons to put pay to the ladder leaders. Perth should get the win they need late Sunday against the Victory in the west and next Wednesday will see the Mariners finally get their season back on track with a win against the tired and ageing legs of a Brisbane Roar team looking to consolidate a spot in the top six.
The week ends later that night in Perth, when the Glory take on Western United. By then United may be on the outside looking in, or perhaps sitting fourth. Who knows? I’ll tip Perth on the back of three games in eight days for the visitors.
Macarthur, Adelaide, Sydney, Western Sydney, City, Perth, Brisbane, draw
So what’s with all the draws? We’ve had virtually none all year and now suddenly we are in draw city. If Bobo hadn’t blasted the penalty halfway to Brazil we might have had another one.
Macarthur still have a chance of finishing in the top two or three places and should be able to defeat a resurgent Victory. Adelaide fans were less than thrilled with their draw with Western United. Only a week before they disappointed in a last-minute loss to Wellington. They must and should turn the tables on the Phoenix to get their season back on track.
Sydney finished the derby strongly and Bobo’s form is improving. They will be too good for Newcastle but can Western Sydney put together two good performances in a row? Is Scott McDonald the buy of the season? Scotty to score a hat-trick as the Wanderers defeat Western United.
Brisbane played a ripper against the Mariners, with Joey Champness showing he is one of the finest talents in the league. Melbourne City have the defence to counter the hip-hop star and get the win. Perth haven’t won in their last five games. At home against a tired Melbourne Victory they should reverse that statistic.
Did you know Joey Champness’ ‘My Plan’ has over 1 million plays on Spotify? That’s almost as many views as this article gets. With figures like that the Roar will belt the Mariners.
In the final match of the week, Perth and Western United will mark a return to draw city.
Victory, Wellington, Sydney, Western United, Brisbane, Perth, Brisbane, Perth
Nobody is tipping draws. That has probably contributed to the low tally of correct tips across the board this season. Plenty last week and luckily even the goalless draws have been classics. Stand by for eight more of the best in this season of outrageous quality.
Macarthur Bulls haven’t won for a while now, so this is another chance for the Victory to steer themselves well away from the wooden spoon position. Rudy Gestede will be a menace in this one and Victory will notch a fine win with two headers from the big Beninese striker.
Wellington can count themselves unlucky not to have taken the points from a swampy Redcliffe last time out so they will have their tails up against an Adelaide team who struggled against ten men last week. It all points to a Phoenix masterclass in front of an unusually subdued home crowd.
Sydney FC need to win this game or they could be looking at an edgy run in to the regular season to make the top six. Newcastle gave a little bit of fight late on at City last week, but this should be a win for the Sky Blues. Kosta Barbarouses will do the damage, the pretty approach play finally rewarded with some clinical finishing.
Wanderers’ new-found confidence following their derby win will carry over into this game with Western United. They will be cruising until the last 30 minutes, the fans doing their Poznan, when Alessandro Diamanti will release Dylan Pierias to silence the RBB. The home fans will still be looking the other way when Besart Berisha pops up to slide home a surprise winner.
City vs Brisbane should be a home banker, but for the love of a close finish, I’ll be rooting for Brisbane. The Roar have marginally the best form, and they will fire in this one, Joey Champness scoring a brace to the collective despair of the big Sunday afternoon crowd.
Perth’s month-long run of home games hopefully continues with this Sunday afternoon fixture, a beauty of a match-up against a team finally finding form way too late in the season. This is the match of the round, and it will produce an avalanche of second-half goals, Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro getting among the goals in a high-scoring win for the home team.
The midweek double-header starts with the fizzing Roar at home to the lightly sparkling Mariners. A moment of madness by Ruon Tongyik will see the Cental Coast reduced to ten for a handball on the line, Brisbane slamming home the penalty. The home team will be all over their visitors for the rest of the game until a penalty is awarded to the visitors, thumped against the bar by Matt Simon to hand the points to the hosts. High drama!
Another Glory home game to finish the round, and another chance to claw back some ground on the pack. And this time they’ll give a vintage performance, Western United not showing up at all and Perth running riot in the first half to lead 3-0.
Bruno Fornaroli will fail to add to that tally in the second half after spurning a hatful of chances, but this will be a dominant win for the home team.
|Match Week 20||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Texi||The Crowd|
|MVC vs MAC||MVC||MVC||MAC||MVC||DRAW|
|ADL vs WEL||Draw||ADL||ADL||WEL||ADL|
|NEW vs SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|WSW vs WUN||WSW||WSW||WSW||WUN||WSW|
|MCY vs BRI||MCY||MCY||MCY||BRI||MCY|
|PER vs MVC||PER||PER||PER||PER||PER|
|BRI vs CCM||BRI||CCM||BRI||BRI||BRI|
|PER vs WUN||WUN||PER||Draw||PER||PER|