This a typically a confusing time of year in terms of the time that matches are scheduled, but it looks like we’re through the worst of it now and there’s a lot to like about the A-League’s Week 13 offering.
There’s something in all five fixtures, but the match of the round looks like being Friday night’s second versus third; Melbourne City vs Western United.
There’s nothing better than bulk sport on New Year’s Day and the A-League will dish up an interesting fixture between the Wanderers and Brisbane Roar.
The flew the blocks and then came crashing back down to Earth in devastating fashion but finally, the Wanderers have fought back into the winner’s stall and take some momentum into this match. Given that was a road win over a fair Adelaide United side, there were a lot of positives about the performance and the tenth-placed Roar should represent another great opportunity for them to win.
There hasn’t been a lot to like about anything that the Roar have done this season and they could only manage a draw against the last-placed Jets in Week 12. This is a tougher task for them, and I think they’ll struggle.
Potentially the match of the round will materialise in Melbourne on Friday night when City host league newcomers Western United.
City’s worrying form slump continued via a loss to league leaders Sydney FC in Week 12. That doesn’t sound bad at first, but the opposition suffered a red carding and still managed to get over the line. Ultimately, that was City third loss in four matches and they really do need to win, if they’re not to slide down the ladder.
Western United remain third in overall standings but are winless themselves in their last two which included a loss to the Wellington Phoenix at home last week. They were starved out of the contest but should be allowed more opportunities in this.
Regardless of their recent form, I think that City remain the class side and I’m happy to back them to atone.
Betting suggests that the most one-sided match of the week will take place across the ditch on Saturday afternoon when the Phoenix and Mariners square off.
The Phoenix have found a nice patch of form and enter this off a smart road win over the third-placed Western United. They’re undefeated through their last seven matches and are offered their best opportunity to date against the lowly Mariners.
Central Coast have been outclassed more often than not again but did beat Adelaide United in Week 11. To be fair, I’ve published this preview the day prior to Central Coast playing their Week 12 match (Monday), but it would take a herculean effort to change my opinion of them.
The league-leaders are back in action on Saturday night and are justifiable favourites to record another win, this time at the expense of Adelaide United.
It did not goes as planned for the Sky Blues in Week 12, who will be without Rhyan Grant for this one after the talented mid received a 25th minute red card against Melbourne City. Regardless, they still won that match and have plenty of depth to cover for one week.
Adelaide have slipped into a worrying form slump. They looked a genuine top four side early in the season but have suffered disappointing defeats at their last two appearances, and three in their last four. This is clearly their biggest test so far, and it’s tough imagining them taking Sydney to the full 90.
The round wraps up on Sunday evening and an opportunity to win awaits both the disappointing Melbourne Victory and the last-placed Newcastle Jets.
Melbourne have been an enormous flop in season 2019/20 but to their credit, they do enter this off the back of a win over crosstown rivals City and more recently, a week off.
This just is not the same club that made the decider two seasons ago. They struggled last season and have not fired a shot this time around. Three losses in succession were capped with a nothingy draw against the Brisbane Roar in Week 12, and this is a harder task.