A-LEAGUE WEEK 25
ADELAIDE UNITED V PERTH GLORY
The somewhat resurrected Adelaide Utd host Perth Glory when the round kicks off on Friday. Adelaide have been stellar in the last three performances grabbing seven points from a maximum nine available, something which looked well and truly impossible about three months ago. Meanwhile Perth have found themselves getting closer to the bottom half of the table with a few questionable performances, especially the one at home against Sydney FC last week where they were completely outplayed from start to finish. I expect this to be a lot closer but still think there'll be a winner out of the two
In the last seven fixtures on home soil for Adelaide they've managed to stay unbeaten throughout all of those games except one. That one loss was the last time these teams played back in February and Perth were absolutely dominant, winning the match 0-5. It's hard to see Perth recreating that as Adelaide have well and truly picked up since then, however this Perth time is in the finals for a reason whereas Utd are not so expect to see a meaty clash.
I like Adelaide Utd here at home as i think they have a bit more to play for. Sure Perth need a home final but Adelaide's desire to not create history and become the first team to win the title and come last the very next year, will be too strong. They are a half decent price for being at home and worth a pop.
NEWCASTLE JETS V WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
The wheels have well and truly fallen off Newcastle Jets in recent times and they still somehow may find themselves taking out the wooden spoon even though their push for finals was only echoed weeks ago. They were demolished by a NZ outfit who had several key players out and to lose 5-0 to a team full of B players and unknown subs on the bench is closer to embarrassing more than anything. That scoreline shouldn't continue when Jets return home but i don't think anyone can have them favourites.
Jets have made more headlines off the pitch this week than on it (probably not a bad distraction really) by confirming the signing of Melbourne Victory fullback Daniel Georgievski when the season ends. That will fill a hole but that's for next season, this season still has a few matches left and Jets really need the likes of Hoole, Kokko and Nabbout to step up. They've all been passengers recently and their performances recently have hindered their progress substantially.
The Wanderers on the other hand are the form squad aside from Sydney FC. Apart from the 0-2 away loss to Perth, WSW have been undefeated in four of their last five, which includes the history stopping win against Sydney FC. They were terrific against City and I expect them to be streets ahead of their relatively close rivals. WSW all the way here.
WSW to Win5 at 2.15+5.75
SYDNEY FC V MELBOURNE CITY
A tricky match for Sydney to contend with here as Melbourne City have everything to play for in respects to getting a home final and trying to finish as close to the top 2 as possible. Bearing in mind they are on equal points with Brisbane Roar and need all three points here because Roar host Mariners in Brisbane and that should really be three points in the bag. City were well beaten last week by WSW but after the international matches and the fact City haven't beaten Sydney away since March 2015, it seems very likely that the Sydney train will still roll on.
The man to watch for this match is Bruno Fornaroli. He's bagged four goals in his last four games against Sydney and he'll no doubt be the danger man. He's returned to his prolific scoring which was somewhat glanced over after Berisha, Bobo and some choice others took over the goalscoring exploits. The fact he's been allowed to hide under the radar surely has to be seen as a positive and he'll be the man that Sydney have to watch.
Sydney still look like genuine favourites here even though they have locked in top spot well and truly before the regular season ends. They have nothing really to play for other than the pride of being on top. There will be goals in this match as i feel both teams will try and play attacking football rather than sturdy, monotonous defending. We'll see if Sydney can continue the streak and bag some crucial goals on the way
MELBOURNE VICTORY V WELLINGTON PHOENIX
Match of the round for me. You've got Melbourne Victory hosting a Phoenix team who proudly put five past the inferior Newcastle last week and in the other corner, there is Victory who copped a 0-1 loss at the hands of Brisbane Roar when they fielded a depleted and questionable side. Victory will be no doubt looking to bounce back almost immediately and with their recent good fortunes against Phoenix, i can see them showing their superiority and dominance and putting this tie away easily.
As mentioned the Phoenix could not have been more impressive last week, they outclassed a lacklustre and stale Jets squad, however they did it in style and that'll bode well coming into this fixture. They will be slightly off put at the history being massively in the Victory's favour though and the caretaker has the annoying task of trying to decide whether to recall some of the players or keep the same squad from last week. A perplexing problem which'll no doubt lead to more questions than answers if they get this one wrong.
For me anytime the Victory play at home you know they are going to give it everything and rarely be on the receiving end of defeats. I like Berisha to return from national duty and bag the opening goal but i just will play it safe and take the win price.
BRISBANE ROAR V CENTRAL COAST MARINERS
There's not a whole lot you can say about this match. Brisbane Roar are dominant favourites at home here and there's seemingly no other outcome in this match. Central Coast haven't picked up three points in Brisbane since a 0-2 victory back in 2012 and with the current form they are in, they won't be changing that record anytime soon.
After a morale boosting victory at home to the Victory last week, Roar will build on that and claim the necessary three points that will see them leapfrog City into third place. They are far strong here and with the likes of Maclaren rested and not having to play international football, they'll be ready and fully focused on the job at hand.
I've potted Mariners a few times this year but they seem to step up every now and then and not get beaten as thoroughly as i'd expected. Nevertheless we'll go again and hope they put in a performance that only a school coach with no skill would be proud of.
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final -5 5 -100% Finals Week Two +23 10 230% Finals Week One -10 10 -100% Week Twenty-Six -6.65 15 -44% Week Twenty-Five +12.9 22 59% Week Twenty-Four -2.5 14 -18% Week Twenty-Three +15.83 19 83% Week Twenty-Two -11.25 18 -63% Week Twenty-One -1.79 16 -11% Week Twenty +2.24 16 14% Week Nineteen +20 11 182% Week Eighteen +12.16 11 111% Week Seventeen -5.88 15 -39% Week Sixteen -2.5 11 -23% Week Fifteen -15 15 -100% Week Fourteen +0.93 17 4% Week Thirteen +5.5 13 42% Week Twelve +3.05 18 17% Week Eleven -7.18 13 -55% Week Ten -2.07 18 -12% Week Nine +0.51 15 3% Week Eight -20 20 -100% Week Seven -3.22 16 -20% Week Six +10.2 14 73% Week Five -16 16 -100% Week Four -0.27 15 -2% Week Three -4.6 13 -35% Week Two -0.70 12 -6% Week One +1.05 12 9% Total -7.24 420 -2%