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The Roar's A-League expert tips and predictions: Match Week 21

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12th May, 2021

Paul Nicholls maintained his tipping lead last week yet enters Match Week 21 nervously; knowing nine games across the next seven days could well decide the champion for 2021.

It looks to be the most exciting and unpredictable match week, with Adelaide United, Macarthur FC, Western United, Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix, Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar all involved in fixtures that could well decide their fates in terms of position and/or participation in the top six come seasons’ end.

Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the continually improving voice of the crowd. Here is the way the panel sees all the Match Week 21 action unfolding.

Mike Tuckerman
City, Macarthur, Sydney, Central Coast, Wellington, Brisbane, Draw, Sydney, Draw.

Melbourne City showed they were vulnerable in their 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar last time out, whilst Adelaide United have plenty to play for. I’m just not sure the Reds have the cutting edge to win this game.

Fresh from downing Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park less than a fortnight ago, Macarthur have the chance to do it all over again at Campbelltown. Sitting fifth in the standings, the Bulls can ill-afford anything less than three points from this one.

Another Western United game, another different venue. This time it’s Ballarat’s turn to welcome the defending champions to town, and I reckon Sydney FC will be desperate to win against the out-of-form hosts, as they seek to avoid being overtaken by the chasing pack.

I reckon the Newcastle Jets are a decent chance of knocking the Mariners off in the F3 Derby, but the one thing that makes me think Central Coast will win this game is just how desperate they are for three points. This is their best chance of getting back in the winner’s circle.

Oliver Bozanic

Oliver Bozanic on the ball. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)


No one will stop Melbourne City from winning the premiership, although the games are coming thick and fast for every team – including the table-toppers. I reckon they’ll come unstuck at some point and Wellington Phoenix might be the team to take three points off them.

Every game is turning into a must-win for the teams fighting for a top six position. Adelaide have endured a bit of topsy-turvy season and Brisbane Roar could well nick all three points against one of their fiercer rivals.

Sorry Perth fans, but I just don’t think it’s your season. Glory have huffed and puffed throughout the campaign without ever really looking convincing. The Wanderers should be good enough to dig in for at least a point.

Will Melbourne Victory ever win a Big Blue again? It won’t be this one.

By the time Adelaide United cross the Nullarbor for this clash, time might be slowly running out for the Reds. I don’t believe Perth are in with a genuine shot of reaching the finals, but if the Reds are to do so, they’ll be looking to avoid defeat in this clash.

Stuart Thomas
City, Macarthur, Sydney, Central Coast, City, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney, Perth

Goodness me! Where to start? What a week this is going to be.

Melbourne City will be odds on to beat Adelaide to start the round and should do so. However, the streak will end at some point and the Reds are as good a bet as any. Nope, J Mac on the scoresheet again and City to win.


Macarthur should beat an improved Victory at home on Friday night with the bells ringing for all to hear, Sydney FC will dust up a wobbly Western United early Saturday afternoon before Central Coast man handle Newcastle in a late season F3 derby in the Hunter a few hours later.

City will win their second match of the week with a thumping of Wellington on Sunday afternoon, before Adelaide bounce back against the Roar in the twilight game to keep their top four hopes alive.

Sunday’s late game will see Perth hammer the Wanderers in the west; finally showing the form we have seen building in fits and starts and Wednesday’s action to end the match week should see Sydney FC reign supreme in the Big Blue, before Perth snatch the most vital of three points against the Reds at home and keep their slim semi-final hopes alive.

Paul Nicholls
City, Macarthur, Sydney, Central Coast, City, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide

Texi is the rookie, whose fire burned fierce and bright, but the flame is on the wane and it’s time to say goodnight.


Mike writes a great column, one of the finest going around, but a pundit doth not a tipster make and he’s struggling to make up ground.

Stuart is the reigning champ, a man of style and rugged good looks, but the only way he’ll repeat his feat is to skilfully cook the books.

Then there’s the Roar of the Crowd, a composite of many parts, who with their recent form are roaring up the charts.

In this choppy tipping ocean where circling sharks still feed, I’m still in here swimming and clinging to the lead.

Melbourne City and Adelaide promise a feast of all that is good about Australian football. Jamie Maclaren and the home ground decide this one.

Jamie MacLaren of Melbourne City celebrates scoring a goal

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Macarthur and Melbourne Victory square off for the second time in a week and last week’s tip still stands. Macarthur have more to play for.

Can Western United regroup after their 0-5 shellacking by the Wanderers? They have a chance against Sydney FC who have won just one of their last six. Sydney to sneak in. Central Coast’s wheels have fallen off but they’ll still pip Newcastle.


City backup on Sunday against Wellington but these guys are in form and love the contest. City by three. Brisbane have looked like world beaters recently and are in the race for the top places. The Roar to upset Adelaide.

On the same evening Perth should derail the Wanderers express and next Wednesday, Sydney will make a clean sweep of the Big Blue whilst Adelaide grab the win in Perth.

Texi Smith
City, Macarthur, United, Newcastle, Wellington, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide

Emulating their ‘parent’ club, Melbourne City look set to wrap things up for the Premiership. In a twist that keeps the A-League interesting though, the battle for a finals spot is so close, with a number of teams set to jostle for positions as the catch up games come on thick and fast.

City have been outstanding of late. It took them a while to get their rhythm, but now they’ve got the habit of winning, there’s no stopping them.

An impressive attacking display from the visiting Adelaide United will see a high-scoring encounter, but a long-range missile from Florin Berenguer will win it for the home team.

Like the second leg of a two-legged cup tie, Macarthur bring Victory back to the Bull Pen with away goals in the bank. The underwhelming Benat Etxebarria will finally come up with a performance to take us back to the San Mamés; the away team offering little resistance and giving him freedom in midfield.

The Bulls to win by five in this Friday night demolition in a sparkling display that masks the drudgery of their standard fare.


Sydney FC are a shadow of their former self. Western United will soak up what is, in reality, meek pressure from the Sky Blues whose possession stats will flatter to deceive.

Stunningly direct play from the terrifying Alessandro Diamante will unlock the visitors’ defence, Dylan Pierias atoning for his own goal last week to fire United to victory.

Alessandro Diamanti of Western United FC looks on

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

A derby victory for bottom team Newcastle Jets will fire them up to the heady heights of eleventh spot. Luka Prso will smash in a long-range speculator, that, followed by a Valentino Yuel poacher’s finish, will silence the Mariners.

It’s a long slippery road for the Central Coast as they continue their unceremonious tumble down the league, heading out of the finals contention trap-door.

Melbourne City will be keen to wrap up the Premiership, but they will not have figured on returning to their old ways and having a man sent off early on in this one.

Wellington will motor to a half-time lead as a result, Reno Piscopo adding to the goals in a second half completely controlled by the Nix. City will have to wait to be crowned.

Adelaide United’s season is looking shaky, and Brisbane are on the up. Without the firepower of Scott McDonald, the Roar have barely flinched, and it will be Jay O’Shea pulling the strings from set pieces to give Brisbane the lead.

Craig Goodwin will do everything but score, and his endeavour will come to nought as the points go back to Redcliffe.
Perth vs Wanderers is the match of the round this week.

The Glory were completely unimpressive in their win against Victory, whereas Western Sydney showed what they can do in a thumping win last time out.

Daniel Stynes will step up for this one and repay the faith shown in him since his dazzling early season form, and Perth will weather the storm from the rampant Wanderers to hang on to a slender lead and keep their miniscule chance of finals qualification alive.

The Big Blue is not the same since Besart Berisha moved on. There are plenty of players to boo though in the Victory line-up, I still haven’t got past Callum McManaman’s awful assault on Massadio Haidara, and Leigh Broxham didn’t cover himself in glory when getting Alex Baumjohann dismissed recently.

Sydney FC to turn the screws on Victory and deliver a handsome defeat on this year’s wooden spooners and a team full of villains.

Trent Buhagiar of Sydney FC takes a shot on goal

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Glory are like the friends who live in the party house. There’s always something going on there, drinks before going out, nights out ending up back at their place, an impromptu coffee turning into a 3am finish, and no one complains that it’s the same venue.

So, it’s another home game for the Glory, but their finals’ aspirations will be in tatters after this one; Stefan Mauk collapsing under a lightweight challenge in the box to earn a soft penalty to win the game after Perth throw everything at the Reds.

Match Week 21 Mike Stuart Paul Texi The Crowd
Last week 4 4 2 4
Previous total 48 45 53 45 47
New total 52 49 57 47 51