After another week of postponements, where just two tight draws were played out last Saturday night, rumour has it that the majority of A-League Men teams are fit, healthy and raring to go.
The best news of all is the return of Perth Glory, up against Brisbane this evening. Wellington and Western United both re-enter the fray and there is a flurry of action across the weekend before a Tuesday night Big Blue in Melbourne rounds out the action.
Texi Smith’s lead remains intact, with the crowd breathing down his Newcastle United supporting neck, and Messers Tuckerman and Hill made inroads last week.
Good luck with your tips for the round and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say in the always passionate voice of the crowd.
Here is the way the panel sees all the action unfolding over the next seven days.
Brisbane, United, Sydney, Draw, City, draw
It’s been a long time between drinks for Roar fans and they’ll be keen to see their side turn in a decent performance at home. They come up against an unpredictable Perth Glory, but the hosts might just snatch their first win of the season.
Wellington Phoenix look doomed to play out the majority of the season in Wollongong once again, although they’ll be buoyed by their recent FFA Cup win over Melbourne City. Western United remain a tough side to break down and they should have the quality to sneak another 1-0 win on the road.
Sydney FC turned in another fairly lacklustre display in their 1-1 draw with Brisbane and Steve Corica hasn’t been helped by a string of injuries to key players. They’ll run into a Perth side playing its second game within a few days, but the Sky Blues should just about edge things against a Glory side that hasn’t been home for ages.
Having missed out on a succession of home games, Brisbane suddenly find themselves playing two within a few days. Warren Moon’s men have struggled to break down opponents and they’ll find Adelaide United in an unforgiving mood. I suspect this game will finish all square.
The Mariners have been a surprise package this season – at least when they’ve played – and Nick Montgomery has made them a tougher side to beat than I originally expected. Despite that, the Gosford crew look a bit short on depth compared to the likes of Melbourne City. I’ll back the visitors here but will probably be left with egg on my face.
Melbourne Victory’s Australia Day clash with Sydney FC is always eagerly anticipated, even if this one has been moved forward to accommodate the Socceroos. Tony Popovic will have no room for sentiment against the club he once played for, but I’m tipping this one to finish deadlocked in what could be a spiteful affair.
Brisbane, Wellington, Sydney, draw, draw, Victory
Brisbane, United, Sydney, Adelaide, City, Victory
Predicting the form Perth will show in their first match back from isolation is difficult. Brisbane were decent against Sydney last week in their 1-1 draw and should be good for three points against an undoubtedly underdone Glory.
Good luck tipping Friday night’s clash between the Phoenix and Western United. Hopefully full squads, or something near to it, are available. If that is the case, I’ll side with a Western United team that has impressed in 2021-22. Sydney should be too strong for an unlucky Perth, forced to back up briskly this coming Saturday and still requiring miles in their legs, while Brisbane do the same on Sunday against an improving Adelaide United and could well be towelled up by three clear goals.
Central Coast meets Melbourne City late Sunday afternoon in a match that the home side could use as a statement game to further add to their credentials. City look the class of the field in full flight and there should be plenty of goals in the game. City 4-3.
Tuesday’s Big Blue looks tasty on paper, with Sydney finally winning and scoring, and Victory the form team of the competition along with Macarthur FC. Despite a little rest, Victory will win, with the best home crowd of the season on board for all the action.
Brisbane, United, Sydney, City, Adelaide, draw
The Glory roadshow begins in Brisbane this Wednesday in a hastily arranged fixture, and one that will give the Roar an opportunity to show what they can do. The draw with Sydney FC last Saturday was a resolute performance and despite injuries starting to mount up, the Roar will hit the ground running against a ring-rusty Glory and go in 2-0 up at the break thanks to Nikola Mileusnic. A fightback from the Daniel Sturridge-inspired visitors will be too little too late.
Ben Waine’s early goal will see Phoenix start their Friday night home game against Western United with their tails up. From then on, Western United, boosted by the return of Alessandro Diamanti, will use their playmaker’s strengths to ease open the home defence and it will be one-way traffic. A hat-trick from Dylan Pierias, the future Socceroos wide man, will have United out of sight and a late Aleksandar Prijovic goal will round of this rout to leave Wellington rooted to the bottom of the table.
Sydney FC have the potential to dine out on Glory on Saturday night, but it will take a massive turnaround in fortune in front of goal to make that happen. Instead, we’ll see Perth come storming at the home team. An intriguing midfield duel will see Daniel Stynes and the equally low-socked Max Burgess have a dribble-off, and this will be a highly entertaining game of expansive wing play and hard-running. In the end, the fox in the box, Elvis Kamsoba, will score a winner and Sydney FC will survive a lengthy period of injury time to come away with the points.
What a cracker of a game for Sunday arvo. The Mariners were on such a good run of home games before their enforced Christmas break, while champions Melbourne City are faltering. This game has goals written all over it and it will be a shootout to see who takes the points. Central Coast will play the ball around like Brazil, Moresche scoring early, but the game will be in the balance at halftime after Marco Tilio strikes from distance. A second-half blitz from the visitors will see them way ahead, Curtis Good scoring a towering header and the Mariners unlucky to miss out by the odd goal in seven.
Buoyed by their recent form, the Roar will be off to a flyer in the Sunday spectacular. United though have good form coming in to this one, and they will turn the screw either side of halftime. The mercurial Craig Goodwin will score and set up a thunderbolt from Javi Lopez, Adelaide coming away with all the spoils and deservedly so.
The Big Blue at AAMI Park is the jewel in the crown of fixtures in any Sydney FC supporter’s season, although tradition has been abruptly broken with this game taking place 24 hours earlier than usual. Victory are looking powerful and with a range of attacking options on the bench, this will be a pivotal game in the race for the premiership. Tony Popovic’s men will be urged on by a big parochial crowd and Sydney FC will be restricted to swift breaks while they try to stem the flow. Victory will take the lead through Josh Brillante against his old club, but Sydney FC will pull this one back through Paddy Wood and a fiery game will finish in a draw, with a flurry of yellow cards and a pair of reds.
|Match Week 11||Mike||Simon||Stuart||Texi||The Crowd|
|BRI vs PER||BRI||BRI||BRI||BRI||BRI|
|WEL vs WUN||WUN||WEL||WUN||WUN||WUN|
|SYD vs PER||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|BRI vs ADL||DRAW||DRAW||ADL||ADL||?|
|CCM vs MCY||MCY||DRAW||MCY||MCY||?|
|MVC vs SYD||DRAW||MVC||MVC||DRAW||?|