The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 14


It was a tough week of tipping in Round 13, with no better than three correct selections achieved by the panel. There’s a whole lot of head scratching going on when it comes to the ever unpredictable A-League Men’s competition.

A Big Blue headlines the upcoming weekend of play, with Melbourne City and Adelaide engaged in a similarly juicy encounter on Friday night.

The Wanderers will need to climb back on the winning horse against easybeats Western United, the Jets could make a real statement with a home win against the ladder leading Wellington and Central Coast will be looking to continue their march to the top of the A-League ladder with another win, this time against the Roar, while Macarthur and Perth have plenty to play for in the final match of the round.

Be sure to enter your tips for the six fixtures in the sheet below to have a say in the knowledgeable voice of the people. Here is the way the panel sees all the action unfolding in Round 14.

Brisbane Roar’s James O’Shea lobs over a corner. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Texi Smith

City, Victory, United, Wellington, Central Coast, Macarthur

The weekend that ends the summer holidays begins on Thursday night as Melbourne City entertain Adelaide United at AAMI Park, the visitors having benefited from a week off to recharge after dismantling Sydney FC in Unite Round. The hosts were undone by the Mariners last weekend despite dominating, and dipped further down the congested mid-table as a result.

They won’t have it all their own way tonight as Adelaide take the game to City, Hiroshi Ibusuki looking to add to his impressive hat-trick last time out. After negotiating a torrid first half, the reigning premiers will spring into action in the second, Andrew Nabbout scoring on the run on the hour, before Callum Talbot swerves in a long-range shot to settle the game with ten minutes remaining.

Friday night we’re back at AAMI Park for the big one, the Big Blue. There’s something special about this fixture. With Victory often successful in Sydney, the return game in Melbourne is typically a different prospect, and recently the Sky Blues have enjoyed some decent results despite being in the doldrums.

Sydney smashed Newcastle Jets last week and will be confident, Victory were robbed in Wellington, a dodgy penalty saw them settle for a point after dominating their Kiwi neighbours. If Zinedine Machach is given licence to roam, we could see a repeat of last month’s 3-0 scoreline. When Luke Brattan gets his marching orders in first half stoppage time for an over-zealous tackle, Sydney revert to all-out defence. The only problem is that they’re not very good at that and Machach and Daniel Arzani will run riot in a second half rout, Victory 4-0 winners.

Andrew Nabbout of Melbourne City.(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

For all of those Western Sydney Wanderers fans who were expecting a game in Melbourne when they booked their flights, the APL sends its heart-felt apologies for moving the fixture to Hobart. What a lovely place to spend a weekend though, and an early evening game at North Hobart Oval will cap off a lovely Saturday at Salamanca markets for the RBB.

That’s where the fun will end though for Western Sydney, and their pathetic performance against Perth Glory will seep into this one. Western United have had a week off to recover from their exertions against Macarthur FC and Daniel Penha will be itching to get on the scoresheet again.

A game bossed by the visitors will finally yield a goal, but totally against the run of play as Ramy Najjarine picks up a ball in his own half and ends his mazy run by sidefooting past Daniel Margush for a memorable wonder goal. The misfiring Wanderers then cough up a second when a wild backpass ends up at the feet of Michael Ruhs, who calmly slots in to make it two. A really odd game this one, and three precious points for the beleaguered John Aloisi in a slow starting season.

The Jets versus Phoenix on Saturday evening is a sure-fire classic. This is A-League at its best. New Zealand’s finest have been happy to let their opponents outplay them, but their surprise counter-attacks have given them points where they barely deserved it.

Watching Ben Old and Kosta Barbarouses spring forward like scampering mice is a feature of the season so far and they’ll be at it again tonight, allowing the Jets to believe they’re in control only to have their noses snotted by a late sucker punch.

With the score line sitting at 1-0 to the Jets for most of the game thanks to an early Apostolos Stamatelopoulos strike, a swift break sees Mohamed Al-Taay equalise and the in-form Old slide home a last minute winner to leave the home fans distraught and send the Wellingong faithful back down the M1 with top spot still in their grasp.

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

Brisbane Roar’s topsy-turvy season continues at Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night as they look to get back to winning ways. With the Mariners riding in their vibe manager’s groove; the home team will be untouchable and they will add to their rising stocks by sweeping Brisbane Roar aside.

Macarthur FC finally turned a draw into a win in Brisbane last week, efficiently dispatching their generous hosts despite not looking convincing. Meanwhile, Perth Glory took advantage of a listless Western Sydney to secure a brilliant result at Commbank Stadium – finally their fans will see the quality they have in goal, Oli Sail making a string of saves before being beaten with an unlucky ricochet off the post.

Their third trip to Sydney in two weeks will be as exciting as the last two, Adam Taggart on fire in a scintillating first half as the 2-0 score line reflects the distance between the two teams. Cue Ulises Davila to spoil the party, Kearyn Bacchus bringing the scores level before Kealey Adamson bundles home an unlikely winner.

The final ten minutes are nothing short of breathtaking. The A-League is well and truly alive. In fact, it’s flourishing. Don’t believe what you read – on-field we have a cracking product.

Stuart Thomas

Adelaide, Victory, Western Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Macarthur

A-League tipping feels a little like Hard Quiz at the moment. I’ll take Adelaide against Melbourne City tonight, for no other reason than I think the Reds are improving and the home team has some key outs.

Sydney FC celebrate a goal against Brisbane Roar. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

The Friday night Big Blue will be a belter and the Victorians should be celebrating when the Sky Blues are brought crashing back down to earth. The Wanderers will beat Western United in the Saturday twilight, just as the Hottest 100 reaches its climax and the Jets will be stunning the Phoenix around the same time.

Forget it Roar, you’ve lost me. I will not be tipping the Queenslanders again this season, except when they tackle Western United and even that is a questionable choice. Central Coast to hammer Brisbane in the second half at Gosford.

The final match of the round is a tricky one and the Bulls at home might just have the class to beat an improving Perth side with plenty to think about on and off the field.

Andrew Prentice

Adelaide, Victory, Western Sydney, Wellington, Central Coast, Macarthur

Will Thursday come too soon for Aurelio Vidmar’s weary Melbourne City? The vagaries of the draw pitch them into a contest with a well-rested Adelaide, who found their scoring boots in their last start against Sydney FC.

City contended with the heat and an in-form Mariners in the rumble on the Coast, and came away with nothing. With highly prized players struggling for form, they may be ripe for the picking. Adelaide will hope Hiroshi Ibusuki picks up where he left off in Unite Round. There should be goals in this one and I fancy Adelaide to score most of them.

Wellington’s David Ball and Macarthur’s Ali Auglah compete for the ball. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The next instalment of the Big Blue sees table-topping Victory (I know the APL rules have the Phoenix on top, but come on) in a curious vein of form. They have dropped points late in their last two games and really should have put Wellington to bed last week with the man advantage for almost half the game.

Sydney torched the Jets last week and finally kept a clean sheet. Joe Lolley looks the most dangerous attacker in the league at the moment and Tony Popovic will be working out the best way to keep him quiet. If they achieve that, the Victory should live up to their name, though their attack looks less threatening without Bruno Fornaroli leading it.

Good to see that the Travelling Wilburys found somewhere to play this week. They face their former coach in Marko Rudan and a Wanderers team who were shocked by Perth Glory in Round 13. Somewhat surprisingly, the Wanderers are the second-lowest scorers in the league, but given Western are the lowest (10 goals worse off than WSW), we probably shouldn’t expect a goalfest at North Hobart.

Marcus Antonsson has not scored since New Year’s Day but maybe long weekends agree with him – he needs to hit the back of the net soon for the Wanderers to maintain a challenge at the top. This round is a perfect opportunity for him.

Miguel Di Pizio of the Central Coast Mariners. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

The Phoenix were brave in rescuing a point at home when down to 10 players against the Victory. They face a Jets side who pulled double duty last week. It’s an unusual 6.00pm kickoff on a crowded Saturday schedule, with the APL dodging a weather bullet given the 40 degree predictions for the day before in Newcastle.

If the Jets were a racehorse they’d have been swabbed by stewards. Unjustly beaten by Brisbane in Unite Round, dismantled by Sydney FC a week ago, then comfortable victors over the same Roar side they lost to only 9 days before. They do have striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos in great form and he may be the key to upsetting a solid Phoenix defensive block. I think Wellington will have too much consistency for the erratic but entertaining home side.

Almost 8,000 fans turned up in blistering heat to see the Mariners go the biff with Melbourne City in a cracking game last week. There might be more takers on the Western Stand at Gosford on Saturday night (trust me, it’s no fun sitting there for 5pm games) and officials will be hoping for big holiday crowd before all the tourists leave the coast.

Brisbane will be without influential playmaker Jay O’Shea who was deservedly red-carded against the Jets on Tuesday. The Mariners have not looked quite as lethal up front without Marco Tulio. However, Christian Theoharous made the most of his starting opportunity with a maiden A League goal last week. His direct running will trouble the Roar, who have conceded a league-high 33 goals so far. The Mariners should take the points and continue their unbeaten run.

Sydney’s Joseph Lolley competes with Perth Glory’s Aleksandar Susnjar. (Photo by Steve Christo – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Macarthur are nestled comfortably in the top six, flying under the radar, having broken a three-game draw sequence with their win in Round 13. Ulises Davila is back to his sparkling best form and has scored four in the last two games.

Perth’s off-field dramas were put aside in their brave and deserved win against the Wanderers. Adam Taggart didn’t score last week but that’s a rare occurrence. That the Glory won without a Taggart goal contribution is rarer still. The Bulls attacking assets don’t stop at Davila though, and Perth will be hard-pressed keeping the likes of Germain, Rodrigues and Holman quiet.

At the back, Filip Kurto has made more saves than any goalkeeper in the league. Macarthur should have too much for the West Coast boys to handle at Campbelltown.

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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