The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 9


Round 8 A-League Men’s action proved near impossible to tip correctly and it was slim pickings for both the fans and the panel.

Back on the horse we are for Round 9, the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night taking up most of the headlines – with or without the City tifo, apparently forbidden for fear of upsetting Victory fans.

An early start to the round sees the Roar host Central Coast this evening, with Adelaide in desperate need of a win against the Jets in South Australia on Friday night. Wellington will look to stay top against the Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, Sydney FC have a must-win fixture against last start winners Western United at Allianz Stadium.

Kosta Barbarouses celebrates a Wellington goal with Tim Payne. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The final game in a four-match Saturday A-League extravaganza sees the Glory host the Bulls, with both teams needing a stabilisation in their campaigns and three points in the bank.

Be sure to join the Roar for live calls of the Thursday night clash between the Roar and Mariners, Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby and the Friday night fixture between the Reds and the Jets in Adelaide.

Good luck with your tips and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to play your part in the ladder leading Roar of the crowd. Here is the way the floundering panel sees all the action unfolding over the next three days.

Texi Smith

Central Coast, Adelaide, Wellington, Sydney, Victory, Perth

Well, well, well, what a week that was. Just when the scores looked as though they were going to form, up comes another set of results that defy logic. We go again, let’s try tipping this Christmas pudding of a round…

Brisbane Roar were the unlucky ones to hand Western United their first win since the opening day, and coach Ross Aloisi will be stinging. They have a great opportunity to put things right against form team Central Coast Mariners, whose battling qualities almost snatched three points at Melbourne City last weekend as they continue to turn around a horror start to the season.

Brisbane are blighted by injuries to key players, and without Florin Berenguer and Henry Hore again tonight, it will be the Mariners who stun the Roar on home soil, the unfancied magician Christian Theoharous coming off the bench to score a brilliant individual goal and then set up a second for Alou Kuol.

Newcastle’s Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (L) celebrates a goal with Lucas Mauragis. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Adelaide United’s defeat at Commbank Stadium last week was tough to take after they had squandered a raft of chances and then peppered the Wanderers goal with a man advantage. The Jets returned to their enigmatic ways in a bizarre draw with Perth Glory, and that could spell the beginning of a bleak Christmas for Newcastle as they come crashing down to earth at Coopers Stadium tonight.

A rejigged home team will cruise to a three-goal half-time lead, Hiroshi Ibusuki looking like the aerial threat we all knew he could be and when Nestory Irankunda appears in the second half, it’s goodnight Jets as he terrorises their defence, the score blowing out to a five-goal romp.

Wellington Phoenix return home in front of their adoring fans, who are keen to see a repeat of the devastating football that sliced Macarthur apart on Monday evening. The Wanderers stuttered to a win despite playing with ten men last week, and their luck will finally run out here on a picture-perfect day at Sky Stadium.

Ben Old will pick up where he left off, running at players at will, and Mohamed Al-Taay will have the home team ahead at half-time. Kosta Barbarouses’ pace and vision will have the visitors on their knees and Wellington will record a very tidy win against their much-fancied opponents to stay top of the A-League ladder.

Sydney FC are finding the post-Corica era very similar to the actual Corica era at present, and they lack the cutting edge to make any impression on the top sides despite much enterprise and endeavour.

Against Western United, off the bottom of the table, they will descend into an almighty dogfight, a bottom-of-the-table scrap that sees effort rewarded over skill and imagination. A truly abject performance from both teams somehow turns into a classic, as the goals rain in. Patrick Wood will finally get on the scoresheet and Anthony Caceres will score a late winner as Western United push up to save a point in a see-sawing second half.

Quite rightly the game of the round, cemented into the prime-time spot on Saturday night, the Melbourne derby has all the ingredients of a cross-town battle.

A full house at AAMI Park is set to witness the latest rebirth of Daniel Arzani 6.0 as he dazzles, his confidence and prowess in front of goal growing with every game. Behind to a Hamza Sakhi thunderbolt, Victory will be level at the break from a thrilling run by Arzani.

Melbourne Victory’s Daniel Arzani celebrates after scoring. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Jason Geria then bundles in a goal to set up a brilliant second half, and Chris Ikonomidis taps in at the far post for the third goal after Bruno Fornaroli takes three players with him on a dynamic decoy dummy run. Vintage stuff from Victory.

Macarthur FC were found out big style at home to the Phoenix on Monday night, taking the poor form from the lucky win at Sydney FC to a new level, and the frustration on the faces of their players was telling.

They travel to Perth Glory for the last A-League game before Christmas and the league’s basement club will be fired up after squandering the three points at Newcastle last week.

Giordano Colli and Mustafa Amini will be key for the home team, and what they lack in pure skill, they will certainly make up for with their determination to please a big crowd at HBF Park. A single goal is all it takes, man mountain Darryl Lachman steaming on to a cross from Salim Khelifi to thump a header past Filip Kurto.

Stuart Thomas

Central Coast, Adelaide, Wellington, Sydney, Victory, Perth

I overthought last week’s tips and paid the price. No so this time. Short and sweet from me.

Central Coast are finding form and Brisbane are a little Jekyll and Hyde right now. I’d prefer Brisbane to win in front of the home fans and keep the resurgence going, however, I’m seeing a dominant Mariners second half.

Adelaide simply must beat the Jets at home and should do so, whilst the Phoenix’s home advantage will see them crack the Wanderer fortress more than once and take all three points to remain at the top of the A-League ladder.

Sydney FC and Western United have been mostly poor this season and battle it out on Saturday in the twilight. Surely the Sky Blues rustle up the win at home? A Melbourne Derby with real flavour and one that Victory enter as favourites is always a good one. Victory to win, they are serious contenders.

Perth are desperate and Macarthur are coming off the back of a bad loss to Wellington last week. This looks a winnable game for the home side and a danger one for the visitors. I’ll stick my neck out here and call a much needed Glory win.

Sydney FC’s Anthony Caceres. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Andrew Prentice

Central Coast, Newcastle, Draw, Sydney, Victory, Perth

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – or at least last season – for the Mariners. A rough start for the champions included getting beaten by Thursday’s opponents in Gosford in Round 4.

That was the last time they lost in either the league or the AFC Cup. The Roar extended a familial sprig of Christmas holly to the struggling Western United last week in a surprise result.

This should be an entertaining and attacking game which deserves a bigger holiday crowd than it will probably get. Central Coast will look to their own Angel to keep his recent scoring record alight and ensure the reigning champions enjoy the festive season.

Five weeks ago, Adelaide were riding high atop the table, playing some scintillating and exciting football with their young stars attracting the spotlight. Since then it has all fallen apart rather spectacularly, and no-one seems sure why.

They were unable to break down the Wanderers last week and the former free scorers have now gone two games without a goal. The Jets won’t be a gift-wrapped way out of their form slump either. With Apostolos Stamatelopoulos in fine goal scoring (Saint) nick, the Reds troubles may deepen before Christmas.

Wellington were wonderful on Monday night against the previously unbeaten Macarthur. They now face one of the best teams in the league back over the Tasman in a first versus third showdown.

Top spot beckons for Western Sydney if they can win. Both teams are resolute defensively and when they played in Round 1, that was borne out in a 0-0 draw. Remarkably, that is the only scoreless draw in the league this season.

David Williams of Perth Glory and Tate Russell of the Wanderers compete for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

It’s hard to split the two sides at the moment; both bounced back from first-up losses last week, and both are missing key attacking weapons in Zawada and Borello. It might be that they share the cheap gift when they pull the Christmas cracker on Saturday afternoon.

While Western finally found a way to score and win against Brisbane, Sydney have found creative ways to lose of late. Their record at Allianz Stadium since its re-opening has been pretty ordinary (unlike the tiramisu they serve at the stadium which is world class – seriously!)

The two sides have mustered only 13 goals between them in 16 games, and Sydney’s paltry eight goals have come in two separate games, meaning they’ve been kept scoreless six times.

Fabio Gomes needs to be filling his stocking with goals to justify the pre-season hype, while for Western, they can’t rely on defenders scoring late winners to get their season moving in the right direction, as good as Josh Risdon is. Someday soon, Sydney will find there’s no place like home, while Western would give anything to have one.

The original Melbourne Derby is the highlight of the round, given some added spice with City beginning to find form after a coach-sackingly poor start. If you don’t think Bruno Fornaroli will be up for this game, then human emotion is not your thing.

Derided and hounded out of City a few seasons back, he is handing out goals like Santa with Victory. His opposite number Jamie McLaren has been the measuring stick for scoring over previous A League seasons, but the goals are not dripping off his foot like manuka honey in the way they once did.

Macarthur FC’s Matthew Millar celebrates a goal.
(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

He does love a derby though, scoring five in one not so long ago. This will be a cracker and depending on the result in Wellington, Victory could be top of the heap at the end of it all.

Perth and Macarthur finalise the pre-Christmas cheer on Saturday night. While it might be odd leaning towards the Glory given they are last and are facing the team who were first until last week, hear me out.

Macarthur are starting to show the effects of a punishing travel toll, combining their AFC Cup and league commitments, and a five hour flight west probably isn’t something they need right now.

They looked listless on Monday against Wellington and lost their unbeaten start without raising much resistance. The Glory have got into the gift-giving early, allowing a 97th minute equaliser to rob them of all three points in Newcastle.

It’s a surprise they have only won once, so it is ignoring history and form by tipping them this week, but the competition is always throwing up an upset, and I think that will happen on the West Coast this week.

Here’s the latest scores and as always, use the form below to get involved as part of The Crowd and take on The Roar’s expert tipsters.



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