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Kicking us off on Friday night, it’s the Roar and the Mariners. The Mariners past two games have seen them lose 3-1 to Wellington and 6-2 to Western United. Barring a miracle, Brisbane have this one in the bag.
Then on Saturday to start us of with, it’s a replay of last years GF, between Sydney and Perth. It’s 1st vs 4th on the ladder, in what is surr to be an entertaining as hell game. Le Fondre, Ninkovic, Barbarouses, Castro and Fornaroli are just some of the star-studded names in this encounter. We’re in for a big one! Then its City playing the Wanderers. City are coming of a 3-2 win over Perth last round. Last round the Wanderers went down 3-1 to the Roar. Expect City to have it relatively non-difficult at AAMI Park.
Then on the Sunday, the Phoenix and the Victory do battle. Wellington are hoping to reach 2nd spot on the ladder. And Melbourne desperately need a win to keep their slim finals hopes alive. It’s all or nothing for Melbourne in this one. Then its Adelaide vs Newcastle. Adelaide lost 5-1 last round and 5-2, two matches before that. The Jets on the other hand are a bit resurgent at the moment and should probably take it out.
Bring it on!
Friday, 13th of March, 2020
Brisbane Roar vs Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Suncorp Stadium | Start: 7:30PM
Brisbane Roar – Brisbane are currently 5th on the ladder. They have won 8 of their 20 games and have 29 competition points. They are now only 4 points of the 3rd placed Phoenix. The sky is the limit for the resurgent Roar. Last round at home against Western Sydney, they won with ease, 3 goals to 1. Scott McDonald had a double, as he opened the scoring in just the 3rd minute of the match, then he had another one to back it up in the 27th. O’Shea topped things of in the 72nd minute with a strike of his own. The Roar’s only leaked goal came in the 54th minute. Brisbane had 66% possession of the ball and with it they shot just 6/21 on target. + They also had a shot hit the woodwork. They completed a strong 84% of their passes as well, which was good for 489/581. And they gave up only 10 fouls and 4 yellows. They head into this encounter with victories in 5 of their past 8 clashes.
Central Coast Mariners – The Mariners are dead last in 11th spot at the moment. Their season has gone horribly thus far, as they have just 4 wins from 20 games + 15 defeats as well. Their GD is at a big -26 and they’ve got only 13 competition points. The only way for them is up, up and up. In their last game at Bluetongue Stadium, they went down 3-1 to Wellington. The Central Coast leaked goals in the 18th, 30th and 78th minutes of the match. Whilst Jair scored an 89th minute consolation home goal. That was his debut goal for the side. The home-side had only 47% of the ball. And it showed, as they went 3/16 on target during the match! Their passing was a lot better though. They went 391/468 on target during the match. They also gave up a high 17 fouls and one yellow during the game. They head into this one on the back of 8 straight losses!
Past History – Brisbane have won 13 of their past 17 clashes against the Central Coast! Earlier this year they met at Bluetongue Stadium, there the Roar came away with a hard-fought 1-0 victory. A Lewis Miller OG in the 86th minute was all that split the two sides. Both sides shot poorly that day. Brisbane went 3/10 on target and the Central Coast 2/18 + they had a shot hit the woodwork. Before that, the Roar also won 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium. O’Donovan broke the dead-lock in the 61st minute. And Neville put one into the back of the net just 5 minutes later. The possession was close, the Roar at 52% and the Mariners at 48%. But the shooting was poor. The winners going 6/15 on target and the losers going 5/16 on target, with one coming of the woodwork. Before that, the Central Coast won in a penalty shootout, 2 (4) – 2 (2), in the FFA Cup. Melling converted what proved to be the winner for the underdogs. And Aldred missed the shot that would’ve given the Roar a sneaky chance at taking it away from them.
Key Player/ Key Stats – Duric has 4 goals this season + 21 shot assists. This match has the potential to turn into a very high scoring affair. And whilst Brisbane have plenty of attacking power, the Mariners don’t. Expect them to rely heavily on him throughout the game for some much needed offensive output. If the Mariners can get anything out of this one, then Duric will be a key reason as to why.
Head to Head: Brisbane
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Saturday, 14th of March, 2020
Sydney FC vs Perth Glory
Venue: Jubilee Stadium | Start: 5:00PM
Sydney FC – At Marvel Stadium against a desperate Victory side + you have the fact that Sydney were on a bit of a down-hill slope, many might’ve seen Melbourne stealing this Big Blue away from them. And as Rojas scored in the 5th minute, it looked like it was going to happen. But 4 goals later to Ninkovic (43rd minute), Caceres (64th minute), Le Fondre (66th minute) and Barbarouses (spot-kick courtesy of a 87th minute courtesy of a Hoogland red), saw them put those fears into a coffin and lower them deep, deep into the ground. It’s a result that sees them still in 1st place on 46 points. They are 10 points clear of 2nd placed City and with 2 games in hand. Not to mention the Sky Blues GD is +26. City’s and 3rd placed Wellington’s are just +7 each. Le Fondre’s goal was his 16th of the campaign, as he sits 2 above Berisha in the Golden Boot race. They shot 5/15 on target, with 55% ownage of the ball. They also completed 84% of their passes, something which was good for 434/517. And they gave up 11 fouls and 1 yellow. Sydney have won 7 of their past 10 games overall in all competitons.
Perth Glory – Despite scoring goals through Chianese in the 53rd minute and Fornaroli 12 minutes later, Perth went down 3-2 to City last round in what was a Top 3 clash. That was Fornaroli’s 12th strike of this campaign. The 1 goal defeat has left Perth currently in 4th spot on the ladder. They have 8 victories and 30 points to their name. They are just 2 wins of 2nd placed City. They missed a massive chance to once again own 2nd place in this clash. The 3 goals they conceded all came within an early 14 minute time-period of one another, 24th, 30th and 34th minutes of the game. The Glory had 58% possession of the ball and shot 7/16 on target. They also very un-luckily had 2 shots bounce of the woodwork. They also completed a strong 85% of their passes, which was good for 449/530. And they gave up 9 fouls during the game, including one yellow at NIB Stadium.
Past History – Sydney have won 13 of the past 14 clashes contested between these two sides! The last one was 3-1 at NIB Stadium. Le Fondre, Barbarouses and Ninkovic all got on the score-sheet, as Sydney shot a respectable 4/7 on target, with 52% possession of the ball. Perth went 6/18 on target in comparison. Before that, the Sky Blues won the GF on penalties at Optus Stadium. It was 0-0, but Sydney won 4-1 on penalties. The man affectionately nicknamed ‘Rezza’ scored the winning spot-kick in that heated and close affair. Sydney were just 0/3 on target in that one. And Perth just a slightly better 2/10. Prior to that match, Sydney won 1-0 at Jubilee Stadium. The sole goal of the game came via Le Fondre in the 37th minute.
Key Player/ Key Stats – Fornaroli has 12 goals this campaign. He sits behind only Le Fondre, Berisha and Maclaren in the race for the A-League’s Golden Boot Award. Le Fondre should continue his fine form against Perth, or at least there’s no reason as to why he’s not expected to do so. So Bruno will too, just like his opposing Striker, have to come up big in this one to give Perth a chance. When Bruno’s hot, he’s hot as hell! Perth gotta give him the opportunity here so he can cause a massive upset.
Head to Head: Sydney
Half-time/Full-time: Sydney/ Sydney
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Melbourne City vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Venue: AAMI Park | Start: 7:30PM
Melbourne City – City are currently riding high in 2nd place on 36 points. They have 11 wins from 20 matches played this season. As well as this they have a GD of +7, the = 3rd best in the A-League. Griffiths scored first for them in the 24th minute, then Berenguer struck just 6 minutes later and Susaeta, only 4 minutes after that. This all came from their tight 3-2 win over Perth last round at NIB Stadium. The Glory scored their own goals via Chianese (53rd minute) and ex-City star Fornaroli (65th minute), but it wasn’t enough to stop Melbourne from claiming the crucial victory. Despite only having 42% possession of the ball during the game, they still shot a respectable 5/9 on target. They also completed a good 80% of their passes, 317/396. And they gave up 15 fouls + 6 yellows. Melbourne have been victorious in all of their past 3/4 A-League encounters.
Western Sydney Wanderers – Western Sydney are currently 8th on 24 points. They have only 7 wins from 19 games so far. However, they’re only two wins of 4th placed Glory. Or alternatively, they’re only 2 wins ahead of the 2nd last placed Jets. Frustrating times indeed at Parramatta. Their last game was a heavy 3-1 loss to Brisbane. At Suncorp they conceded a McDonald double + an O’Shea OG. Duke had prevouslty made it 2-1 with a goal in the 54th minute of the match. That was his 11th of the season, as his goal-scoring abilities continue to keep the Red & Black in matches. The Wanderers only had 34% of the ball and shot just 2/6 on target. They also made 73% of their passes, which was good for 226/310. And 17 was the number of fouls they gave up + 3 yellows. That was the Wanderers 1st loss from their past 5 games.
Past History – City have won 5 of the past 7 games played between these two teams. The last one, they won 3-2 at Bankwest Stadium, late last year. City’s goals came via a clutch double to Maclaren in the 56th and the winner in the 92nd minutes of the game. Whilst Brillante also scored in the 73rd minute. Western Sydney’s strikes were produced by Yeboah He had a double, scoring in the 2nd and 80th minutes of the match. City owned 60% of the ball and the Wanderers 40% of it in that one. Before that, City won 3-0 at AAMI Park. Noone scored twice and Maclaren once. They went a neat 6/12 on target. In comparison, the Wanderers went just 2/12 on target. And they had more possession (52%), then Melbourne as well. And in March of last year at ANZ, the Wanderers held out for a commanding 3-0 win. Riera scored twice and Duke once in the big win for the Red & Black. They shot just 3/12 on target the entire game! City were an even worse 1/10! With a shot of the woodwork.
Key Player/ Key Stats – Maclaren has 14 goals in the A-League this season, along with 13 shot assists. Verses most teams he’s close to unbeatable. And the Wanderers are coming of a heavy loss to the Roar where they leaked 3 goals. If the Roar can do that to them, then imagine of what ‘Macca’ is capable of doing to them? The Wanderers have to have a game-plan oriented around stopping him in this one, otherwise it’s already over before a ball has even been kicked.
Head to Head: Melbourne
Half-time/Full-time: Draw/ Melbourne
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Sunday, 15th of March, 2020
Wellington Phoenix vs Melbourne Victory
Venue: Westpac Stadium | Start: 4:20PM
Wellington Phoenix – Wellington are currently in 3rd place with 10 wins from 19 games. They also have 3 draws and 6 losses so far this season. And on 33 points, they are just 3 of 2nd placed City. If you had the Phoenix in your Top 3 at the start of the season, you woulda been laughed out of the conversation! But look at them now, they’re doing all the laughing! And their latest game was an easy 3-1 win over the Mariners, up on the Central Coast. Cacace scored 1st in the 18th minute, Hooper then struck in the 30th minute and then Sotirio scored in the 78th minute, With 53% of the ball, Wellington shot a neat 4/6 on target. Whilst also in the process keeping the Mariners to a horrible 3/16! They also successfully made 85% of their passes, good for 469/550. And they leaked a low, low 8 fouls during the game + 2 yellows included.
Melbourne Victory – The Victory are currently 9th on the ladder at the moment, ahead of only the lowly Jets and Mariners. They are on 20 points currently, 7 of a finals berth. As each round comes and goes, the prospect of playing Finals Football gets worse and worse for them. Their latest outing was a 4-1 thrashing in the Big Blue, as they went down hard to Sydney FC. Rojas scored in the 5th minute to open the scoring for Melbourne. But a late 85th minute Hoogland red card ensued the game was lost for the home-side. Adding some further sting to the result was the fact that it was former superstar Barbarouses who converted the ensuing penalty against his old teammates. With 45% possession of the ball, they shot only 3/12 on target! They additionally made 79% of their passes, which was good for 331/420. And 15 fouls was what they leaked during the match + 3 yellows and the one red.
Past History – 5 Of the past 6 games have been draws between these two clubs interestingly enough. 0-0 Was the score when they last went head to head at AAMI Park. In that fiery encounter, Dobras got a 60th minute red card. And with just 36% possession of the ball, Melbourne went a shoddy 1/12 on target, with a shot bouncing of the woodwork. And Wellington with 64% possession of the ball, were horrendous also, going 2/17 on target! With 2 shots for them bouncing of the woodwork, Prior to that it was a 1-1 draw in Melbourne. Davila scored in just the 5th minute of the game and Toivonen evened things up in the 66th. MEL completed 87% of their passes, good for 566/651. And WELL completed 74% of theirs, good for 238/320. Also at AAMI Park prior to that, it was a 3-1 win to the Victory. Kopczynski saw red in the 93rd minute. And MEL produced 3 goals despite having just 37% of the ball!
Key Player/ Key Stats – Devlin. With 56 tackles in total this campaign and 3.1 per game, defensively he’s been very aware so far for Wellington. When the Victory try to push on a counter or they have the ball in and around close to their own goals, Devlin might prove to be a bit of a difference maker. The youngster is very defensively aware and that will 1000% come in handy against Melbourne in what should be a closely fought encounter in this one.
Head to Head: Wellington
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes
Adelaide United vs Newcastle Jets
Venue: Hindmarsh | Start: 6:20PM
Adelaide United – Adelaide were clinically thrashed at home last round, as W.U. beat them 5 goals to one. Berisha scored twice, Diamanti once, Burgess once and Pain once, as the opposition absolutely wrecked them. McGree scored Adelaide’s sole goal in the 25th minute of the match. That was his 10th strike of the campaign. With an astonishing 62% of the ball, they shot a veeeery shoddy 2/26 on target!!! Their passing was better, as they completed 83% of their ones, good for 457/548. And they leaked only 10 fouls and no cards at all during the game. Now the Reds are in 7th on 27 points, the same as 6th placed W.U. They are however only 2 wins of 3rd, in just one sign of how close the A-League is this season.
Newcastle Jets – The Jets had a bye last round, so their previous game before that was a thrilling 2-1 win over the Glory at Hunter Stadium. Topor-Stanley scored a rocket from outside the box in the 12th minute and O’Donovan completed the crucial 3 points in the 74th minute. Newcastle also conceded the 29th minute penalty. The Jets, with 53% of the ball, shot 4/14 on target. They also completed a great 83% of their passes, good for 433 out of 524. And they gave up a big 17 fouls. included in those were 2 yellows. They are 10th and 2nd last at the moment. They have only 4 wins, a GD of -16 and just 18 points. But, the difference between them and 8th place is only 2 wins. They are slowly but surely on the rise.
Past History – Adelaide have won 7 of the past 11 games played between these two fiercely competitive clubs. Last time out at Hindmarsh, Adelaide won 2-1. Blackwood scored in the 30th minute and then Troisi scored the late winner in the 83rd minute. Millar had previously scored for Newcastle in the 48th minute. Adelaide shot 4/13 on target, with 1 of the woodwork. Newcastle shot 6/31 on target!!! With 2 of the woodwork. What a game that was!!! Before that, Adelaide won 2-1 in Newcastle. McGree scored a double in the 49th and 61st minutes of the match. This came as his side completed 71% of their passes, good for 263/369. And before that it was 1-0 to Adelaide in Adelaide. Toure scored the sole goal of the game in the 42nd minute. These sides never fail to disappoint us when pitted against one another. More of the same this time round please!!!
Key Player/ Key Stats – Mileusnic has 11 offsides so far this season, at 0.6 per match. He has to read the lines better in this one. The Reds are struggling with a host of injuries and won’t get a lot of chances to do good thing against the Jets. He’s gotta be more aware and he simply cant stuff up in this one. It might prove too costly if he does.
Head to Head: Newcastle
Over/Under 2.5: Over
Both Teams Score: Yes