We are approaching the business end of the A-League regular season and the results of several matches in Week 19 could prove vital.
League bookends Sydney FC and the Wellington Phoenix will square off on Friday night and the match of the round will take place on Saturday, when the Jets host Melbourne Victory in Newcastle.
Week 19 of the A-League will get underway in Sydney on Friday night when the league leaders host the bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix.
Sydney returned to winning form in the best way possible last Friday; delivering old foes the Victory a comfortable 3-1 defeat in Melbourne. Having dropped points to Adelaide and the Central Coast in their two matches prior, Sydney are back on track and maintain a nine-point lead over the Jets in overall standings.
Wellington produced several competitive performances in the early stages of January, but they suffered their first loss in four matches against Adelaide last week. They are anchored to the bottom of the table and simply face too big of a task in Sydney this week.
The Sky Blues will make it two in a row here and they could easily put on a big score against a truly lacklustre Wellington outfit.
Saturday afternoon’s match between the Jets and Victory in Newcastle looms as the standout fixture in Week 19 of the A-League.
The Jets remain second overall, four points clear of the third-placed Melbourne City, but they are winless in their two most-recent fixtures and require a few more to confirm a home final. They mustered a typically strong performance to draw with City last weekend and will be confident of taking all three points from the less-consistent Melbourne outfit.
The Victory went up in the 58th minute in last weekend’s match with Sydney, but immediately conceded and eventually finished on the wrong end of a 3-1 score line. To add insult to injury, Jason Geria was shown a second yellow from bringing down Bobo in the box and they will need to fill the spot vacated by the effective defender.
The Jets’ attack has been terrific since Patito Rodriguez was added to the roster and they can take advantage of an understrength Victory defence on Saturday.
Adelaide United will host the Perth Glory on Saturday night, in what is generally an exciting fixture from a spectator’s perspective.
Adelaide was our best bet in Week 18 and they justified confidence with a win over the Phoenix in Wellington, albeit low-scoring. The Reds are well and truly in the hunt for a finals berth and on the right day, are capable of competing with the likes of Sydney FC.
Perth secured a vital win over the Wanderers in Week 18, but they still have plenty of work ahead of them if they are any chance of sneaking into the finals. The Glory have been pretty terrible of late and lost five-consecutive matches leading into last weekend’s return to the winner’s stall.
Adelaide should simply be too good for the Glory at home and they are in line for another smart win.
Sunday’s match between the Mariners and Wanderers is an intriguing one, but extremely difficult to analyse from a betting perspective.
Neither team has been able to secure much of a competitive or consistent run of form this season and they were both handed disappointing defeats on Matchday 18.
For the Mariners, it was a home loss to the lowly Brisbane Roar, which was heightened by a 94th minute red card to Wout Brama. They are a team capable of a quality performance on their day and that was seen in a Week 17 draw with Sydney FC, but they are clearly also capable of a shocker and can lack creative spark.
The Wanderers’ leaky defence was on full show last weekend as they failed to account for a spirited Perth Glory attack. They are another team to have suffered a red card in Week 18 and that will affect how they approach this match.
There’s value around both teams in head-to-head betting here, but I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.
Brisbane Roar will incredibly look to make it three wins in a row when they host Melbourne City on Sunday evening.
The Roar are a team that don’t really deserve to be in the hunt for a finals berth, but they have capitalised on an open and inconsistent competition recently and remain sixth overall. Melbourne City are a far better team that either the Glory or Mariners however and they will need to improve drastically to keep their run alive.
City have returned to good and consistent form recently and consolidated third position via a determined 2-2 draw with Newcastle last weekend. They remain undefeated for five weeks and can take another step towards a home final with a win over the Roar.