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Opinion

The Roar's A-League expert tips and predictions: Match Week 23

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Expert
26th May, 2021
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Early on in my mathematical studies I learned that nine does not go into six. Yet that remains the situation with a couple of weeks of A-League play remaining.

This week, Brisbane Roar continue their charge towards the finals, Macarthur FC have two key games that will decide their fate and the Phoenix, Glory and Wanderers are all in the last chance saloon and requiring nothing less than three points to remain in the fight.

All in all, it is one of the closest races for the top six we have seen in recent A-League times.

Good luck with your tips for the match week ahead and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the ever important voice of the crowd. Here are the thoughts and selections of the panel leading into Match Week 23.

Mike Tuckerman
Central Coast, United, City, Draw, Wellington, Brisbane, Draw, Central Coast, Brisbane

The Central Coast Mariners are heading straight down the F3 highway to the danger zone. Lose this game and they’re in serious danger of missing out on finals football altogether. They come up against an in-form Macarthur, but I reckon the visitors can jag a much-needed win.

Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Wellington Phoenix means the season is pretty much done and dusted for Western United, but they’ll still want to beat their big brothers in their own backyard. Melbourne Victory are absolute garbage and will finish the season as such.

Melbourne City looked like they’d rather be playing the pokies over at Redcliffe Leagues in midweek, but they should still be good enough to down the Jets. Put it this way, if Newcastle avoid defeat in this one it’ll be a major surprise.

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Not for the first time this season, it’s tough to tip against Adelaide United claiming all three points at home. They fire up for the visit of Sydney FC at the best of times, but the Sky Blues should have enough resolve to hold on for at least a point at Coopers Stadium.

A raucous home crowded fired the Phoenix to a deserved 3-0 win over Western United in Wellington, and the same thing should happen when they host Perth Glory at Eden Park in Auckland… despite Glory’s excellent run of recent form.

“You’re getting sacked in the morning!” Can’t see this game ending well for Carl Robinson. Brisbane Roar are a much better side than many pundits give them credit for.

What are we up to? Western United versus Macarthur in a battle of the metric-makers? Let’s call this one a draw.

The Mariners should be too strong for the Jets in the latest instalment of the F3 Derby, especially if they fail to beat Macarthur earlier in the round.

It’s not that I necessarily think Brisbane Roar are exponentially a much better side than Perth Glory, but Redcliffe is a difficult place to come and play in midweek and Glory have never been the best of visitors when they make the long trek over to the east coast.

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Stuart Thomas
Macarthur, United, City, Adelaide, Wellington, Western Sydney, Macarthur, Central Coast, Brisbane

I really want the Mariners in the top six, I think everyone does. Yet Macarthur are on the cusp of achieving something rather grand in their inaugural season. I’m seeing a bell-ringing win for the home side.

Western United and Melbourne Victory will fight out a now meaningless derby on Friday, with a United win likely and Melbourne City have the chance to get things back on track in the twilight Saturday clash again Newcastle Jets. They will.

Beating Adelaide at home will prove too tough a task for the Sky Blues hours later and afterwards the Reds may well be near favourites for the championship considering the host of players about to leave our shores on national duty.

Early Sunday, Wellington and Perth will play a blockbuster, with the loser out of the race and the winner humming towards the finals. Wellington for me in front of a big Auckland home crowd.

Reno Piscopo of the Phoenix runs with the ball

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Later that day the Wanderers face elimination when they tackle the Roar in Sydney. Talk about a tough tip. I’ll go Western Sydney based on nothing more than home field advantage.

Western United face a highly motivated Macarthur FC on Monday in what looks a likely win for the team with most at stake, Central Coast should secure its spot in the finals with a win over the Jets on Tuesday and Brisbane will towel up a uninterested Perth in the final match of the round.

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Paul Nicholls
Central Coast, United, City, Draw, Wellington, Brisbane, Macarthur, Central Coast, Brisbane

Oh anxiety, my constant companion, I’m sorry to put you through this. I blame Socceroos coach Graham Arnold. Sure he needs to pick A-League players but why does he have to choose all the best ones? I’m encouraging the Tipsters and Charlatans Union to launch a class action.

In the satellite city derby the Macarthur Rams are undefeated in six while the Mariners have scored only two goals in five games. Expect a cagey contest and Alen Stajcic to have too many tricks up his sleeve.

Western United did their bit for New Zealand football by getting thrashed in Wellington but should do their bit for Australian football by belting Melbourne Victory.

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to tip Brisbane against premiers-elect Melbourne City. Unfortunately I am a rocket scientist and tipped City. Even without Jamie Maclaren, City should beat Newcastle.

Adelaide and Sydney is a tough pick. Sydney will sorely miss Ryan McGowan and Rhyan Grant. Draw.

Wellington will again prove why New Zealand teams are a great asset to the A-League, when they pull a crowd at Eden Park. Perth’s recent form will be no match for all that Kiwi-love.

Brisbane should continue their good form against the Wanderers and if they are genuine, Macarthur must and will beat Western United. Central Coast should consolidate their ladder position against Newcastle and Brisbane will ensure a finals place at the expense of Perth.

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It’s such a hard round to tip that I had to go outside for some inspiration. Great, a super blood moon. Guess who’ll be cleaning up werewolf dung in the backyard all weekend.

Texi Smith
Macarthur, United, City, Adelaide, Perth, Western Sydney, United, Newcastle, Perth

My goodness, this is going to be an exciting last two weeks. Teams that are neck and neck play each other in classic six-pointers and anything can happen. Hold on to your bobble hats, the bold and beautiful A-League is reaching its crescendo.

Either the Phoenix or the Wanderers will have one hand on the trap door as Macarthur host the Mariners in an absolute humdinger of a game at the bull pen.

Marvin’s men have had the wood over the Bulls this season, but when it counts, Macarthur will step up and grind out a result thanks to a single goal from Denis Genreau in the first half that will set the alarm bells ringing in Gosford.

Western United have endured a horror run of late but there’s no way Victory will get anything out of this game, even at AAMI Park. Tomi Uskok will turn in an all-action display to free up Alessandro Diamanti to fill his boots.

Victory will set themselves up to be overtaken by Newcastle for the wooden spoon ahead of the final day of the season.

Knights fans

(Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

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City didn’t turn into a bad side overnight. The speed and verve of their play will be far too much for the Jets and we’ll see a one goal lead at the break blow out to four by the end; Naoki Tsubaki bagging a double to send the Premiers home happy.

Adelaide United vs Sydney FC is an enormous game. With Sydney travelling to Brisbane on the final weekend, this game could have a massive impact on the finals and home ground advantage.

Sydney’s inability to convert attacking possession into goals will haunt them here, going down by the odd goal in five; Craig Goodwin up to his usual tricks against the Sky Blues to seal the win.

A distance derby with a twist at Eden Park in Auckland. Not content to have played the majority of their home games thousands of kilometres away in Australia, the Phoenix have to travel north to take on Glory. It will affect them and Jason Geria and Diego Castro will silence the Kiwi fans to give Glory a shot at the top six.

A fight to the death at Bankwest as the Wanderers put their slim finals’ aspirations on the line in a show of all-out attack. Steven Ugarkovic will keep the sparkling Roar midfield at bay and a thunderbolt from Jordon Mutch will seal three valuable points for Western Sydney. The shots on target stats will read 20:4, but Jamie Young will have an utter blinder.

Simon Cox of the Wanderers controls the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Western United’s miniscule chance of making the six will improve after they dispose of an out-of-sorts Macarthur FC, Dylan Pierias scoring twice and setting up another; the sweat forming on the Mariners who will be in action the following day desperate for the win they need.

A midweek derby game of huge importance here – Newcastle Jets will see the opportunity to jump above fellow strugglers Melbourne Victory, and they will come out all guns blazing.

The Mariners will be nervous, but at 0-2 late in the game will stage a fightback, only to see Matt Simon hit the post with a penalty to deny them a vital point.

High drama on the Cenny Coast.

The extra game that precedes the final round will hinge on a send-off just before halftime. A ridiculous second yellow for encroaching from a free kick will see Scott Neville dismissed.

Then, Perth will turn on the style, Nick D’Agostino scoring before a late penalty and VAR drama hands Diego Castro a chance to win the game.

A twice-taken penalty with Jamie Young coming off his line when saving the first will be hammered home by the silky Spaniard to steal the points.

Match Week 23 Mike Stuart Paul Texi The Crowd
MAC vs CCM CCM MAC CCM MAC CCM
WUN vs MVC WUN WUN WUN WUN WUN
MCY vs NEW MCY MCY MCY MCY MCY
ADL vs SYD Draw ADL Draw ADL DRAW
WEL vs PER WEL WEL WEL PER WEL
WSW vs BRI BRI WSW BRI WSW BRI
WUN vs MAC Draw MAC MAC WUN MAC
CCM vs NEW CCM CCM CCM NEW CCM
BRI vs PER BRI BRI BRI PER BRI
Last week 5 3 5 5 5
Previous total 57 57 63 51 59
New total 62 60 68 56 64

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