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To start us of in Round 18, we have a hotly anticipated Melbourne Derby. This might be the first time ever in A-League history, where the Victory are in City’s shadows. Will City further shove their dominance down their rivals throats, or will the other side of Melbourne have something to say about it?
Next up on a Friday night, we have two Top Four teams doing battle. Will it be Perth or Wellington who eventually prevail in the end? It’s star-studded that’s for sure, with the likes of Fornaroli, Ikonimidis and Davila all bound to feature.
The next day it’s the re-match of the Sydney Derby. Western Sydney controversially handed the Sky Blues their only loss to date this campaign. Will Steve Corica’s men do something about it? Or will the Red & Black spring another upset on their cross-town rivals?
The second game on this Saturday is between Brisbane and Adelaide. Not too long ago these two teams played out an eight-goal thriller with eight different goal-scorers. That was a truly entertaining spectacle to watch. Will we see something similar this time around?
And on this Sunday, we have the F3 Derby. Roy ‘The Boy’ O’Donovan is back in town for this one. Will he continue to taunt the Mariners? Or will the Central Coast do a blast through the past? Only one way to find out.
With three Derbies this round, an all Top Four clash and QLD vs WA, this round isn’t to be missed. Everything you need for it is right here on Punt Sports.
A-League Tips – Friday, 7th of February, 2020
Melbourne City vs Melbourne Victory
Venue: AAMI Park | Start: 7:30PM
Melbourne City – City are currently 2nd (quite amazing), but they’re 13 points of 1st placed Sydney (not so amazing). Perth are just one point behind them, Wellington and Adelaide a win and Western United, two victories. Through 16 games this campaign, they’ve won 8, drew 3 and lost 5. Their last match, was a solid contribution to the 5, as they went down to the Reds, 3-1. Noone scored his 4th of the season to make it 1-1 for Melbourne. But goals to the opposition in the 12th, 41st and 47th minutes of the match, made for difficult times for City. Especially so after Delbridge received yet another red in the 76th minute. It was originally a yellow, but was upon review, upgraded to a more dangerous one. This was/ is of a massive frustration to City given the match’s he has already missed this season. They had 52% possession, yet shot only 2/9 on target. They also completed 79% of their passes, good for 385/488. Hendry went of with a knee injury during the clash against Adelaide. If he misses the rest of the season it will be severely disappointing for the Celtic-loanee, as well as for City’s chances of a maiden Championship. For the sake of both parties, lets hope its nothing too serious.
Melbourne Victory – The Victory are currently in 9th spot on the A-League ladder, with 16 points. They have 4 wins, 4 draws and 8 defeats through 16 games so far. They sit just five points outside of a finals spot, but they’re also only two wins ahead of last place as well. Their campaign has been pretty poor to date. That’s for sure! Their most recent efforts came in the form of a spirited 2-2 draw vs the Glory. 1X to Toivonen (23rd min) to open the scoring and 1X to Nabbout (58th min), secured them the much needed point. Although they could’ve claimed all three if D’Agostino hadn’t had scored the late 90th minute equalizer for Perth. The Victory owned 52% of the ball and shot 3/8 on target throughout the match. They also completed 79% of their passes, which was good for 400/504.
Past History – The last clash between these two sides, Victory won 2-1. Before that it was a 0-0 draw and two consecutive 1-1 draws. Before that City won 2-1. You just can’t separate these two sides can ya? In the latest edition of the Melbourne Derby, Toivonen scored a double in the 15th and 41st minutes of the game. Whilst Delbridge got one back for City 15 minutes later. The Victory had 49% of the ball and shot 6/12 on target. City had 51% of it, but shot woefully, going just 3/11 on target. The fouls were high as the Victory leaked 14 and City 16. Before that, in the 0-0 draw, City owned 49% possession and the Victory, 51%. City shot badly, going just 4/17 on target. While the Victory were an even worse 1/6. In the 1-1 draw preceding that, Niedermeier saw red in just the 15th minute of the match. Maclaren converted the ensuing spot-kick. While the now departed Barbarouses scored in the 50th minute.
Key Battle – Maclaren vs Toivonen. ‘Macca’ has 13 goals this season and Toivonen 8. One way or another they’re both bound to impact the game for their respective sides. They’re simply too good not to!
Head to Head: Melbourne Victory
Half-time/Full-time: Melbourne Victory/ Melbourne Victory
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Perth Glory vs Wellington Phoenix
Venue: NIB Stadium | Start: 9:45PM
Perth Glory – D’Agostino scored the thrilling 90th minute equalizer last round in his sides thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw vs the Victory. Their other goal came via Fornaroli, his 9th of the season. Perth’s relentless pursuit of this match, was just one of the key reasons they were rewarded with a point. They owned 48% possession of the ball throughout the match. And they shot 4/14 on target + they had a shot hit the woodwork. They completed 79% of their passes, good for 367/467. It was a draw which has left them in 3rd spot on the A-League ladder, just one point of 2nd placed City. Wellington in 4th and Adelaide in 5th are just two points each, of them. And not all that long ago it was announced that Elrich has joined Perth, after he secured a release from his contract with Western Sydney. The 33 year old has joined Perth in pursuit of silverware and he has played three times for Australia. He will give Tony Popovic’s side extra ACL depth as well, as they start their campaign in that, next week.
Wellington Phoenix – Wellington are currently 4th on the table on 24 points. They have 7 wins from 15 games, as they sit just a win of City. But similar to most sides, or all, they are way of 1st. 16 Points of infact! They did however secure an inspiring 2-2 draw with the Sky Blues earlier this season. They didn’t play last round, meaning their latest match was a solid 2-1 win over the Jets. Both their goals came in the 2nd half via Sotirio (53rd min) and Davila (69th min). His goal came just 3 minutes after Arroyo had seemingly evened the scores up for the Jets. The Nix owned 45% of the ball and they shot 4/12 on target. They also allowed Newcastle to fire away for 26 shots at their goals! The Nix completed 78% of their passes, good for 318/409.
Past History – Perth have won 4 of their past 6 clashes against Wellington. Their winning scores have been 2-1, 5-0, 3-0 and 1-0. A goal to Fornaroli (11th min) and one to Ikonimidis (33rd min), saw them beat the Nix most recently in New Zealand. The home-side claimed a late consolation goal to Davila in the 95th minute of the match. Perth owned 42% of the ball and the Nix, 58% of it. Perth shot 8/13 on target and completed 78% of their passes. That was good for 335/428. The Nix had a shot hit the woodwork, as they shot just 4/14 on target. They completed a strong 85% of their passes, that was good for 482/570. Before that, the Glory routed Wellington 5-0 in Perth. Keogh scored twice, Castro once, Ikonimidis once and Santalab once in the five-goal thrashing. Perth shot an incredible 17/37 on target that day!!! They owned 64% of the ball. + They had 2 shots hit the woodwork. Wellington owned 36% of the ball and went just 3/8 on target in comparison.
Key Battle – Fornaroli vs Davila. Both are marquee players who constantly deliver the goods for their team. Fornaroli finished 1st with Perth last season and has won an FFA Cup as well. While Davila is currently attempting to deliver the Nix into uncharted territory. Fornaroli has scored 9 for the Glory this season and Davila 10 for the Nix. Their creative, attacking brilliance, will see them both perform big in this encounter.
Head to Head: Draw
Half-time/Full-time: Perth/ Draw
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
A-League Tips – Saturday, 8th of February, 2020
Sydney FC vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Venue: Jubilee Stadium | Start: 5:00PM
Sydney FC – Sydney continued to widen their gap at the top of the A-League table, as they secured a tough, nail-biting 1-0 win over Brisbane. In front of a low crowd in Sydney on a Friday night, the Sky Blues scored the only goal of the game through Le Fondre in the 57th minute via a spot-kick. This was his 15th of the season, as he’s currently two ahead of Maclaren in the Golden Boot race. The spot-kick came about as a result of Neville’s 55th minute red card. Sydney have won 13 of their 15 match’s played this season. They were far from convincing in this one, but they got the job done regardless. They are 13 points ahead of 2nd placed City and 14 ahead of 3rd placed Glory. Sydney owned 53% possession of the ball and shot 7/13 on target. They also completed a very strong 89% of their passes, which was good for 542/609. They held the Roar to just 3/11 shooting on target as well. The Sky Blues are entering their ACL campaign next week and it’s wins like these that will hold them in good stead as they attempt to at least advance to the Round of 16 after failing to do so last season. In addition, solid victories like these will allow them to play youth in the A-League as well, if need be, in the lead up to Champions Leagues games.
Western Sydney Wanderers – For their cross-town rivals, the Wanderers, they claimed their 1st win under their new coach, as they beat the Mariners 3-1 in Gosford. It was a strong result which represents their 5th win of the season. It leaves them in 8th spot and just four wins of 6th spot. They have some work to do, but they look like they are slowly but surely getting to where they want to be. If last round is any indication to go of anyways, Simon scored an 82nd minute penalty-kick for the opposition. While Duke scored a 76th minute one of his own. Muller scored in the 42nd minute and Cox bagged a maiden goal for the Red & Black in the 95th minute. Western Sydney had 58% possession of the ball throughout the game. They shot 5/23 on target + they had a shot hit the woodwork. And they completed 81% of their passes, good for 387/478.
Past History – Sydney have a dominant history against the Wanderers, winning 12 of their past 18 clashes played against them. However, the last two games played between these two fierce rivals, have resulted in a 1-0 Wanderers win and a 1-1 draw. The 1-0 victory is the Sky Blues only defeat of this season to date. And one that they’ll be strongly looking to avenge in this clash. Duke scored the games only goal in the 19th minute. Western Sydney owned just 33% of the ball and managed to shoot just 2/10 on target. Sydney had 67% of the ball and shot only 4/21 on target. But they did have two shots bounce of the woodwork. The Red & Black conceded 14 fouls and three yellows. Sydney gave up 7 and 4. In the 1-1 draw, Brosque scored in the 7th minute. Baumjohann, the then Wanderer and now Sky Blue, evened things up in the 57th minute. And that is how the scores stayed. Sydney went 4/13 on target, with 52% of the ball. WSW had one shot come of the woodwork and shot 7/16 on target, with 48% of the ball.
Key Battle – Redmayne vs Lopar. Redmayne is a former Wanderer and somebody who is considered to be one of the best Goal-Keepers in the A-League. Lopar is attempting to take the mantle of Redmayne this season and so far has done a pretty damn-well decent job of it! ‘Redders’ is averaging 3.5 saves per match and has gotten four clean-sheets this season. Lopar has kept two clean-sheets an is averaging 3.36 saves per game. Both players are impeccable and will be critical parts of their sides defence in this one.
Head to Head: Sydney FC
Half-time/Full-time: Sydney FC/ Sydney FC
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Brisbane Roar vs Adelaide United
Venue: Suncorp Stadium | Start: 7:30PM
Brisbane Roar – Neville received a red card in the 55th minute, Le Fondre converted the ensuing penalty and that was that in their tight and tense 1-0 defeat to Sydney last round. A relatively boring result, resulted in their 6th defeat of the season from 15 games. They tried hard, but ultimately they couldn’t break through the Sydney wall. They are on 19 points as it stands, just two outside of the Top Six and with a game in hand over 6th placed W.U. as well. They had 47% of the ball and shot 3/11 on target. Additionally, they also had a shot hit the woodwork. They did however complete a more then solid 87% of their passes. Something which was good for 474/546. During the transfer window, they gained McDonald, but lost O’Donovan. He didn’t feature against the Sky Blues, as during that period of time, he was said to have been talking to other teams. He ended up at former club Newcastle eventually, a club whom he led to the GF. Under Robbie Fowler, he scored 6 times in 12 games for Brisbane. Only time will tell whether they miss his goal-scoring prowess or not. But he was also a relatively inconsistent player for them as well. So there would’ve definitely have been harder players to replace in the squad then him.
Adelaide United – Adelaide are currently in 5th on 24 points. They’re just three of 2nd placed City. But they’re also just five of dropping out of the finals calculation all together. Their latest efforts was a strongly-committed 3-1 victory over City, their 8th of the season. Halloran bagged a double in the 12th and 41st minutes, while Blackwood also scored one in the 47th minute. Noone was the scorer for City in the 16th minute. And aiding their cause of their win, was the fact that Delbridge received an upgraded red in the 76th minute of the match. Adelaide owned 48% of the ball and shot 5/17 on target. Although they also kept City to just 2/9 shooting on target. Outside of that, they completed 77% of their passes. Something that was good for 342/443.
Past History – Adelaide have won 4/4 past match’s between these two rivals. Most recently the Reds beat them 1-0 in Adelaide courtesy of a late 84th minute McGree goal. Adelaide went just 4/17 on target in that affair and Brisbane 3/18! In the match beforehand, Adelaide won 5-3 up at Suncorp Stadium in what was truly a hectic affair. The Reds had five different goal-scorers in the form of, Mileusnic (4th min), Blackwood (51st min), Goodwin (71st min), Diawara (75th min) and Isias (85th min). Brisbane had three different goal-scorers in the form of Wenzel-Halls (35th min), D’Agostino (50th min) and Bautheac (61st min). The home-side had 42% of the ball and shot 5/11 on target. The away-side and the winners shot 6/13 on target, with 58% possession. Truly crazy indeed!
Key Battle – Hingert vs Strain. Both players play on the right side of the field in defensive positions. Both players also aren’t the biggest names in their teams, but both men are also crucial to doing the dirty work for both their sides defensively. And they’re both perhaps a bit under appreciated in that regard. Hingert has won 70% of his tackles this season and has made 81% of his passes. Those numbers for Strain are 52% (14/27) and 80% respectively. This battle won’t even decide the outcome of this game, but it will play a small, yet critical part in doing so.
Head to Head: Brisbane
Half-time/Full-time: Brisbane/ Brisbane
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
A-League Tips – Sunday, 9th of February, 2020
Newcastle Jets vs Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Hunter Stadium | Start: 4:00PM
Newcastle Jets – The Jets drew 0-0 against Western United last round. It was their 4th draw and 10th point of the campaign. They still sit in dead last/ 11th position on the table. They are 11 points of a Top Six/ finals position and things aren’t looking all that good for them at the moment. This was highlighted by their inability to put the ball into the back of the net past W.U. They shot just 6/26 on target and had 0 goals to show for it. W.U. on the other hand had over one sixth of the shots Newcastle had and also had the exact same number of goals to show for it, 0! The Jets owned 60% of the ball throughout the match. And they completed 87% of their passes, good for 446/513. And in other news, O’Donovan has re-joined the club he departed at the end of last season. He scored 20 A-League goals in 35 games for the Jets and was a star player for them in their ‘Leicester-like’ run to the GF a few seasons back. He will add a much needed punch to their stuttering attack. But he will also have to find a way to hold back his notoriously famous temperament. Overall this is a truly amazing signing for them and one that I strongly believe that they need, as they attempt to get their season back on track.
Central Coast Mariners – For the Mariners, they’re currently in 10th position on the table on 13 points. They’re just three ahead of the last-placed Jets and eight out of a finals berth. They also have 10 defeats to their name and they possess the 2nd worst GD in the A-League at -14. In their most recent efforts, they were defeated 3-1 by the Red & Black of Western Sydney. Simon scored a good spot-kick for them in the 82nd minute, in what was his 3rd strike of the season. But former Mariner Duke scored one of his own against them in the 76th minute. The CCM also conceded goals in the 42nd and 95th minutes of the game, in the relatively close affair. They owned 42% of the ball throughout the match. They shot 5/19 on target, And they completed 70% of their passes, good for 236/335.
Past History – 1-1, 3-2 to the Mariners, 1-0 to the Jets and 2-1 to the Jets have been these sides recent results when contesting against one another. The F3 Derby has been close in recent times and we should expect more of the same in this one. Their 1-1 draw in Gosford saw Duric score in just the 4th minute of the match. And D. Petratos scored in the 56th minute to even things up. The Mariners had 48% possession and shot 4/8 on target. And they very un-luckily had 2 shots hit the woodwork. Newcastle shot 5/17 on target, with 52% possession of the ball throughout the game. CCM conceded 14 fouls and 2 yellows. NEW leaked 7 and 1 retrospectively. Before that, Pain scored what proved to be the 67th minute winner in his sides 3-2 victory. Murray also scored in the 51st min and Karacan in the 64th for the Central Coast. O’Donovan scored in the 74th min for Newcastle and Vargas in the 81st. O’Donovan also missed a 99th minute, late spot-kick, that if converted, would have landed his side a crazy point. Please oh please, let this be both a crazy and entertaining F3 Derby!!!
Key Battle – Simon vs O’Donovan. Simon has three goals this season and O’Donovan, six. It’s not about that. Their passion, intensity, fighting spirit and pride for their clubs jersey, will go a long ,long way in this one. The F3 Derby is dead, because these two teams are nothing more then cannon fodder for the rest of the A-League at the moment. These two men, these two special players, these two fighters are about to change all of that. Whether a red or two will be handed out, I’m not too sure. But these two players, these two attackers, will be front and center of all the good and bad in this feisty, tasty affair. No matter what!
Head to Head: Newcastle
Half-time/Full-time: Draw/ Newcastle
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes