Finally, belatedly, we are on the home stretch of the A-League Men’s regular season with just a handful of catch up fixtures remaining before the finals get underway.
There is plenty of action still to unfold over the next week with the Premiership, makeup and order of the top six as well as the Australia Cup Playoff positions.
It all gets underway on Tuesday night in Redcliffe with the Roar taking on a Mariners side that just needs one more win to lock up finals football for a second straight season.
We’ve got our A-League tips below so check out where we have found the value in our markets.
For a long time, this was one of those fixtures that was a pretty straightforward choice with the Roar going almost eight years without a loss to the Mariners.
That all changed in their last meeting however with Central Coast finally breaking through with a 2-1 victory in Gosford.
Now they will chase a second straight win over a Roar side that will miss the finals for just the second time in a decade.
Perhaps the Roar will find a way to fire up at their home, needing to win to help avoid an away day in the Australia Cup Playoffs, but the Mariners just have more on the line and are in better form.
Looking at the respective resumes of the two clubs, it’s tough to see why it is so tight in the Match Result market.
This is a fixture that has been dominated by Western United of late, with the last four meetings going the way of the Victorian side.
The Jets are just playing for pride at this point in terms of finals but can escape the bottom four with a win, however hard that is to see unfolding.
On the weekend, Western United had some cold water poured on their Premiership aspirations after a shocking loss to the Mariners which took their fate out of their own hands.
With more on the line, I’ll back the visitors to find a way to get a much needed win and put a bit of pressure on Melbourne City in the race for the plate.
Perth is more than ready to close the book on what has been a miserable season for them in just about every imaginable way.
On the other side, Melbourne City will return to domestic duties after a gut wrenching elimination from the Asian Champions League and turn their attention to claiming another double.
With results breaking their way on the weekend, City now finds itself able to claim a second successive Premiers Plate if they can just take care of business.
While a draining continental campaign will have taken plenty out of their squad, they have the depth and youth to rotate through and give minutes to players with fresher legs.
Considering the Glory are likely already on holidays, City should find a way to win this one even if they are a bit lethargic from the outset.
Something is amiss with this market, as there is no clear and obvious reason as to why the Nix are such heavy outsiders against the Wanderers.
Mark Rudan’s men might have lost just once in their last five but they don’t really have anything tangible on the line for this match.
Wellington can lock up finals football with a win and Ufuk Talay will have his side fit and firing.
$3.70 seems like a very generous price, even for the travelling Nix so I’ll happily take that before it is bet down.
With a finals berth locked up, the Mariners can now turn their attention to an F3 Derby at home to try and leapfrog Adelaide into the top four.
Nick Montgomery’s men are the most in form team in the competition, winning their last four and they have lost just once since the start of March.
Even with nothing tangible on the line, Newcastle would love to find a way to spoil the Mariners momentum heading into the finals and they pushed them all the way a fortnight ago in their last meeting.
In spite of that, I keep coming back to the fact the Mariners are the better side and they’re just that much better than the Jets at the moment.
Newcastle will push them again but it’ll be another Mariners victory.
Back from Asian Champions League duties and with finals beyond them, all Sydney has to motivate them for this Big Blue is a chance to officially spoil the Victory’s Premiership hopes… actually that should be more than enough for this group.
Should Tony Popovic’s men win this match, they will jump up to the top of the A-League ladder and be in position to complete a worst to first turnaround should Melbourne City and Western United drop points.
However if the Big Blue’s history is anything to go by, simply turning up will not be anywhere near enough to get the necessary three points.
Especially with Sydney set to farewell a few of their aging veterans who would love nothing more than to finish their home games with a big win.
The head to head market looks like a stay away but I am confident in the chances of goals in this one so I’ll back the overs.
There is no need to sugar coat this one, it’s a dead rubber between Macarthur and Western Sydney.
With coach Ante Milicic retiring at the end of this fixture, perhaps the Bulls would like to send their inaugural coach out on a winning note.
The Western Sydney squad meanwhile will have one last audition for next season.
Considering these clubs have nothing to play for in terms of finals positioning, let’s back a little chaos.
If Western United is going to claim its first ever Premiers Plate, they’ll have to do it the hard way.
After a shock midweek draw in Newcastle that left them in third place, they will need to better the result of the Victory and City and do so against an in form Adelaide side.
The Reds have won their last four games and depending on the Mariners result the day before, they may need something from this fixture themselves to book a home final at Coopers Stadium.
It’s tough to ignore the Reds winning streak, especially the fact they have kept three straight clean sheets and they also have the best player in the league Craig Goodwin at their disposal too.
The penultimate game of the A-League Men’s campaign will decide which Melbourne club will hoist the Premiers’ Plate for season 2021/2022.
City needs all three points against Wellington after their shock defeat in Perth last Thursday but will still start at a very short price here.
When these clubs met just over a month ago, it was close in the first half before five City goals after the break gave them a massive 6-0 win.
On the back of a compacted Asian Champions League campaign plus a flight from Perth, it might not be the high flying City performance we know they are capable of but they should be able to handle a Nix side with nothing to gain or lose from this outcome.
It would not be a surprise to see a few key contributors from Wellington rested with an eye on this weekend’s Elimination Final against Western United.
This slightly elongated A-League regular season will draw to a conclusion with a catch-up clash between Brisbane Roar and Sydney FC.
Conditions won’t be all that conducive to an open, attacking match with weather likely to play a major role in determining the style of play.
While neither side can play finals football, Brisbane will have another match to think about after this one with a looming Australia Cup qualifier against Western Sydney on the weekend.
Warren Moon will want to keep his side sharp ahead of that match but with the weather forecast suggesting a pitch that will be in the vicinity of a heavy ten, clear cut chances might be at a premium.