Analyst: Alex Christodoulou
Nov 08, 2018 01:59 PM
Jets desperate to get their season off the tarmac
The A-League season is in full swing now, with the pecking order staring to sort itself out.
Two teams that both suffered heavy defeats last week will do battle on Friday night, as Melbourne City aim to bounce back at home against the Nix.
Then on Saturday, the Jets will be looking to lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder against the visiting Sky Blues.
But the highlight of the round comes on Sunday, when the 2nd-placed Glory journey across the Nullarbor to take on the 3rd-placed Reds.
Melbourne City v Wellington Phoenix
A-League Odds: City $1.57 / Draw $4.33 / Phoenix $5.50
Round 4 of the A-League commences with Melbourne City looking to bounce back at home against the side from across the ditch.
Wellington have long been teetering on the brink of survival in the A-League, with consistent poor results not doing much to help their cause.
However, if any team can rise from the ashes, it's the Phoenix.
They started their season on a positive note, getting all three points against the Jets.
Since then, it has been a draw and loss for Mark Rudan's men, with last week's heavy defeat at home against the Wanderers not boding well for this clash.
Phoenix fans are a positive mob, and they will know that they can't expect instant results under Rudan.
With some quality players at his disposal, most notably Roy Krishna and young talent Sarpreet Singh, there is every chance the Nix may sneak into a top six spot this season.
However, the money says that they will be outclassed against a stung Melbourne City outfit, who are themselves coming off a 3-0 defeat at home.
This was a terrible result in their first home game of the season, demonstrating that City still have far to come if they want to be title challengers.
Despite being owned by the cashed-up City group, the club didn't go crazy in the transfer window, instead opting for local talent.
But with Bruno Fornaroli leading the line, and Ritchie de Laet bombing on from right back, there is still enough international firepower to win the competition.
Despite losing 3-0, that scoreline was perhaps unfair to the Citizens, who dominated the possession stat 60-40%, and had more shots at goal.
Against a Wellington side who are historically poor on the road, this form should stack up and mean a strong win for the Melbournians.
Key A-League Stat
- Wellington haven't recorded a win in their last 8 away matches: Melbourne City to win or draw @ $1.12
A-League Tip: Melbourne City to win by 2+ goals @ $2.50
Reasoning: With too much class on the park, and a desire to give their home fans something to cheer about, Melbourne City should win comfortably.
Bruno Fornaroli Source: AAP
Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC
A-League Odds: Jets $3.50 / Draw $3.50 / Sydney FC $2.10
After going on an incredible run all the way to last season's grand final, the Jets have come crashing back to Earth.
From their opening three games of this campaign, the boys from Newcastle have only recorded one point, and sit in last place on the ladder.
Their task won't get any easier here, coming up against the ladder-leading Sky Blues.
Newcastle's struggles can be partly attributed to the loss of talented attacker Riley McGree, as well as the continued suspension of striker Roy O'Donovan.
Having said that, the Jets played arguably their best game of the season in last week's grand final rematch.
Even though the Victory got the better of them again, the Jets had double the shots at goal, suggesting that they aren't struggling to find opportunities in attack.
Ronald Vargas was pulling all the strings, recording a whopping 9 shot assists.
He will be the key man once again against a Sydney side who haven't conceded in their previous two league games.
The centre back pairing of new recruit Jop van der Linden and former Socceroo Alex Wilkinson is looking very sturdy.
But it is another of the Sky Blues' new boys, English striker Adam le Fondre who is really impressing at his new club.
Le Fondre is the early leader in the Golden Boot, having already netted four times this campaign.
He will be hungry to not only extend his lead as the top goalscorer, but ensure that his side remain at the top of the table.
Key A-League stat
- The last away defeat suffered by Sydney FC in the league came against the Jets in early March: Newcastle to win @ 3.50
A-League Tip: Match to end in a draw @ $3.50
Reasoning: Despite a historical dominance in this fixture, the Jets have got points out of their previous two encounters against the Sky Blues.
After last week's impressive performance against the Victory, you feel that Newcastle will get at least a draw here.
Adelaide United v Perth Glory
A-League Odds: United $2.10 / Draw $3.50 / Glory $3.30
Two teams that have had very strong starts to the season come toe-to-toe on Sunday, as the 3rd-placed United host the 2nd-placed Glory.
Hindmarsh Stadium will be buzzing in the first home game after Adelaide's FFA Cup title win.
Favourite son Craig Goodwin is on fire, having scored four goals in his last two games.
He also recorded an assist in last week's 3-0 victory over the Mariners, demonstrating that since returning from Europe, he has quickly reestablished himself as the key man in attack.
The top priority of Tony Popovic will be stopping Goodwin in his tracks.
A defensive specialist, Popovic will be relishing the chance of implementing a strategy to curb Goodwin's influence.
If he can sort out his defence, the visitors will be in a very strong position to take all three points.
This is because Perth's attack, and Andy Keogh in particular, are in top form.
Keogh has scored in all three games this season- a hot streak that he will want to continue for as long as possible.
With Diego Castro and Matthew Spiranovic still to come into the Glory side after missing the opening games through injury, Perth are looking capable of going all the way.
But they can't get ahead of themselves. A victory against a confident Adelaide outfit won't be easy.
Key A-League Stat
- The Reds are undefeated in their last 10 games at home: Adelaide to win or draw @ $1.30
A-League Tip: Match to end in a draw @ $3.50
Reasoning: Both these sides are in great form and look very evenly matched. A draw seems the logical outcome.