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The Roar's A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 11

3rd January, 2024
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3rd January, 2024
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It was a perfect six from six for Texi Smith in Round 10 and the tipping right across the board was solid.

The first round of the New Year looks a tougher nut to crack, with Adelaide suiting up twice against the Phoenix and the Bulls respectively, Sydney heading to Brisbane for a crucial fight for points and Perth and Macarthur hosting matches they simply must win to keep their seasons on track.

The blockbuster is the Saturday twilight clash between the Wanderers and Mariners in Sydney, whilst Sunday’s match-up between struggling Western United and Melbourne City looks a walk in the park for the visitors.

Good luck with your tips for the round – be sure to enter them in the sheet at the bottom of the page to have a say in the impressive Roar of the crowd; currently occupying equal top spot on the tipping ladder.

Here are the thoughts of the panel and where the smart money will be headed in Round 11.

Jamie Maclaren celebrates with Melbourne City team mates as they rout Brisbane 8-1. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Texi Smith

Phoenix, Macarthur, Central Coast, Sydney, Victory, City, Adelaide

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Wellington Phoenix cannot afford to play their risky playing-out-from-the-back football again, and hopefully they will abandon that heartbeat increasing tactic when they travel to Adelaide on Thursday night.

United were outplayed by Melbourne Victory last week, and continue their slide down the congested ladder which is headed somehow by tonight’s visitors. This one is a tough one to pick, but it will be the league leaders who come away with a win thanks to two spectacular counter-attacks, a tactic not seen since the Middlesbrough side of the mid-1990s.

Macarthur FC are smarting after a disastrous run and they huffed and puffed against Western Sydney Wanderers on Monday to little effect. Friday night’s opponents are Newcastle Jets, who held on to an early two-goal cushion despite being reduced to ten players, although that was against basement club Western United.

We have the recipe for a classic at Campbelltown Stadium, and with Monday’s pantomime villain Clayton Lewis stepping up to run the show, the home team will be out of sight at the break. Crowd favourite Lachlan Rose will be brought into the starting line-up following a reshuffle, and his energy will spread through the team, the grumpy Valere Germain cracking a smile when he scores after two minutes before Ulises Davila and Kearyn Bacchus add two more before half time.

Newcastle get back into the game straight away in the second period when Daniel Stynes produces a classy finish to reduce the arrears, but it’s only a matter of time before Lewis and Jake Hollman embellish an already impressive score line and the home side romps home with ease.

Newcastle’s Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (L) celebrates a goal with Lucas Mauragis. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The Western Sydney Wanderers clash with Central Coast Mariners on Saturday evening should bring us the entertainment we crave from the best football league in the world. The home team were not entirely convincing against rivals Macarthur on Monday, but neither were today’s visitors who stuttered to victory against Perth a day earlier.

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A tactical masterclass this will never be, but a game sprinkled with magical moments will detract from the lack of structure and poise that both of these teams show. Wanderers ahead through a Lachlan Brook strike from distance, only for Alou Kuol to equalise straight away with an overhead kick.

Storm Roux to smash home a spectacular goal to give the Mariners the lead, but Marcus Antonsson with a tap-in within a minute to level up once more.

The goals will continue into the second half, and it will be a late strike by the departing Marco Tulio to win the game 4-3 in front of the travelling Yellow Army.

A strange situation at Brisbane Roar has seen them go from an extensive search for a new coach to an announcement of a new man at the helm within hours. Is this the dawn of a new era for football in Queensland, or are we pinning our expectations on a new manager bounce that is unlikely to materialise given the short turnaround?

Kosta Barbarouses celebrates a Wellington goal with Tim Payne. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Sydney FC are the visitors tonight, fresh from their unlikely ascent up the league table following the unearthing of the new rules, and on the back of a glorious night at Allianz against the league leaders last week. Sydney fans will be wary of this one, their unpredictable form ready to desert them at any moment, but have no fear, the cogs in the marvellous midfield machine will turn smoothly, and Brisbane’s new year will start like the end of the old.

Anthony Caceres will score just before the break, Robbie Mak thumping home a second, and Joe Lolley curling a sweet shot into the net for three. The Cahn era, just like that of Ufuk Talay, is starting from a low base.

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Saturday evening games under lights at HBF Park are those occasions every local football fan doesn’t want to miss. The visit of form team Melbourne Victory, minus their talisman and former Perth Glory star Bruno Fornaroli makes this a huge game and excitement is guaranteed.

Wholesale defensive changes for Alen Stajcic’s men following their two red cards last time out will see them try and stifle the game in midfield and it will work for a while until Victory take command. Zinedine Machach to open the scoring with a fierce shot, Chris Ikonomidis to make it two, before a spirited fightback has Perth knocking at the door after Adam Taggart’s poaching instincts create a goal from nothing.

The late surge is abruptly ended though when Ben Folami leads the break and finishes beautifully to seal the three points for Victory.

Brisbane Roar’s James O’Shea lobs over a corner. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Late Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park, as the general public contemplate their return to work after the Christmas break, the derby between Western United and Melbourne City will give us the tonic we need to brave those Monday morning blues.

The home team, so rarely playing at this venue, up against the visitors who know it well, and we have a mismatch on our hands.

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Western United were ripped apart in the first half against Newcastle Jets but were unlucky not to get something out of the game in the second period, while City strolled to victory against hapless Brisbane Roar. There should be only one winner tonight, and unfortunately for the league’s bottom side, it won’t be them.

Monday night at Coopers Stadium. Where would you rather be? Macarthur FC are in town following their handsome win on Friday, Adelaide still in shock after their home reverse against the Phoenix.

This is where Adelaide’s season kicks back into gear, and the Bulls’ continued malaise on the road takes the shine off what has been a good start to the season. Nestory Irankunda is given a start and immediately scores to give the home team the lead within a minute with a deft finish to a flowing move, and from that moment onwards there is only one winner, Isaias bending in the second before the half is over, and the much-maligned Hiroshi Ibusuki rising highest to power home a third.

A fantastic night for Adelaide United, and another away defeat for Macarthur that cancels out their marvellous weekend home win.

Sydney FC players celebrate a goal. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Stuart Thomas

Adelaide, Macarthur, Western Sydney, Brisbane, Victory, City, Adelaide

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Two matches at home is the perfect elixir for the inconsistent Reds. Despite Wellington’s impressive form, there were some cracks exposed last weekend against the Sky Blues. Adelaide to knock off the ladder leaders on Thursday as well as the Bulls on Monday night.

Macarthur should be too good for the Jets on Friday night, with their freefall requiring urgent attention and a response at home expected. The Wanderers will have their biggest crowd of the year on Saturday night when Central Coast visit. I can’t tip against the red and black right now. They look like serious championship threats.

Brisbane Roar will beat Sydney in a classic case of new coach bounce back. Sorry Roar fans, but I dreamt it on Tuesday night! Perth will enjoy being at home to the Victory on Saturday, yet the visitors are not mucking around in 2023/24 and on a nice unbeaten run.

If Melbourne City lose to Western United it will be a shock and is highly unlikely to happen. John Aloisi’s team killed off for the season and eliminated early after their ninth loss of the campaign.

Andrew Prentice

Wellington, Macarthur, Central Coast, Sydney, Draw, City, Adelaide

Ah, post-Christmas A-League, as welcome as leftover turkey and ham. Maybe Adelaide have had too many servings of trifle, because their form has almost reached the s-bend. There is no apparent explanation for the team that was bedazzling fans a little over a month ago.

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David Ball of the Phoenix and Ali Auglah of the Bulls compete for the ball during the A-League Men round eight match between Macarthur FC and Wellington Phoenix at Campbelltown Stadium, on December 18, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Wellington’s David Ball and Macarthur’s Ali Auglah compete for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

On Thursday, they face Wellington who top the table, even if they wouldn’t if the rules of every other football nation applied. The Phoenix were horrible in the first half against Sydney, seemingly having no clue how to play against a high press. They surely won’t repeat that performance and with a formidable range of attacking weapons, need only for their deeper players to get the ball to the right sets of feet.

Macarthur are another side whose form has dipped, but they can at least point to their mad travel schedule caused by the AFC Cup for some residual fatigue. They face a Jets side who can be depended on for consistency – said no pundit ever.

Seriously, Newcastle are a tough side to work out. They looked a million bucks for thirty minutes against Western, have beaten the leaders in Wellington, led the Wanderers by two goals in Newcastle, then looked toothless against Adelaide and all at sea against the Mariners.

They will also be without suspended striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, so I fancy the Bulls to regain some footing in Campbelltown.

It’s a swansong for the wonderful Marco Tulio at CommBank Stadium on Saturday. After bidding the home fans farewell with two goals against Perth, the resurgent Mariners will be eager to send him over to the J League with a win at the venue of their greatest club triumph – last season’s Grand Final dismantling of Melbourne City.

Zach Clough celebrates a goal.

Zach Clough celebrates a goal. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

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They’ll be facing a proper home team this time though. The Wanderers have the incentive of a possible top spot by the end of the round (unless the APL changes the rules again and just decides to do it alphabetically – go Adelaide!). The Mariners form has been irresistible of late and I fancy they’ll ruffle a few feathers in Parramatta.

Hey Ben Cahn, welcome to the A-League, we’re giving you a club abandoned by its former coach and coming off the biggest loss in history last start. No pressure. While clubs sometimes benefit from the “dead cat bounce,” in this case, it wasn’t a sacked coach or a team bang out of form when Ross Aloisi found the lure of the Chinese yuan more palatable than the lights of BrisVegas.

Sydney have won two in a row for the first time after vanquishing Wellington. Joe Lolley and Robert Mak are resurrecting the form that endeared them to Sky Blue fans last season, and with monster striker Fabio now getting amongst the goals, it might not be the start Cahn will be looking for on Saturday.

There is no reason to think the Victory will not continue their unbeaten start against a patchy Perth. Except…Bruno Fornaroli, he of the scoring-for-fun club, will be with the Socceroos as they prepare for the Asian Cup. Perth at home are a very different beast.

Granted, they will be without defenders Mark Beevers and Aleksander Susjnar, both suspended due to red cards in Gosford. Given all the competing factors, a draw seems a realistic possibility.

David Williams of Perth Glory and Tate Russell of the Wanderers compete for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

One of Western’s two wins this season have been against Melbourne City. But that was all the way back in Round 1, and City are coming off that 8-1 demolition job of Brisbane last week.

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Western’s off-field troubles are mirroring their on-field tribulations, and it would be a brave person indeed who would tip them to upset Aurelio Vidmar’s in-form side. Jamie Maclaren roared back to form (no pun intended) against Brisbane and looks again like the goal scorer who is running out of room in his trophy room for golden boots.

Adelaide get a bonus chance for a win this week, and have an extra day’s rest and no travel to cope with when they host Macarthur at Hindmarsh. It might just be the opportunity Carl Veart needs to steer their ailing vessel back into smoother waters.

The Bulls have surprised almost everyone with their form this season in both the A League and the AFC Cup. But those frequent flyer miles aren’t buying rest and success lately. While South Australia is till closer than Cambodia and the Philippines, the Bulls players have probably run right through the in-flight entertainment options on their airline of choice. The Reds to capitalise on Bulls travel fatigue.

Here’s the latest scores and as always, use the form below to get involved as part of The Crowd and take on The Roar’s expert tipsters.

Round 11TexiStuartAndrewThe Crowd
ADL vs WELWELADLWEL?
MAC vs NEWMACMACMAC?
WSW vs CCMCCMWSWCCM?
BRI vs SYDSYDBRISYD?
PER vs MVCMVCMVCDRAW?
WUN vs MCYMCYMCYMCY?
ADL vs MACADLADLADL?
Last week6455
Total27302830
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