The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 15
Things are as tight as they have ever been at the top of the Roar tipping ladder. The fans hold sway marginally, yet things are also shifting quickly on a week to week basis.
Round 15 sees the Phoenix involved twice, opening against Roar on Friday night before grappling with the Mariners next Tuesday. In between, Central Coast have further travel when they head to Adelaide on Saturday night.
Perth continue to fight hard but face a charging City, Western United are at home to Sydney in a match the Sky Blues will expect to win and the Jets host the Victory in the Saturday twilight.
The match of the round appears to be the clash between the Bulls and Wanderers on Sunday, a local derby that both will feel capable of winning and advancing further up the A-League ladder.
Good luck with your tips for the round and be sure to enter them in the sheet below to have a say as the all-important roar of the crowd. Here are the panel’s thoughts on all the action and the teams they think will be picking up the points this weekend.
Brisbane, City, Sydney, Victory, Mariners, Western Sydney, Wellington
Sydney in Hobart, the Westie ‘derby’ and Waitangi Day in Wellington. Another cracker of a round to keep the tipsters honest. Get three right this week and you’re doing well!
A tough tipping week gets underway at Suncorp Stadium on Friday evening and Wellington Phoenix are the visitors. Hosts Brisbane Roar can’t do anything right at the moment, the memories of that Unite Round victory fading fast, but buoyed by the arrival of superstar Marco Rojas, they will turn it on for their long-suffering fans.
Unbelievably, the league leaders will be a single goal behind at the break, Carlo Armiento with a classy opener. The second half is teed up for a trademark Phoenix smash and grab, but Ben Old and Kosta Barbarouses can only find the woodwork and a dramatic breakaway second for the Roar seals it late on.
Form team Perth Glory are back at HBF Park following two great performances on the road. Captain Mustafa Amini was in top form to spoil the birthday celebrations for Arthur the Bull on Sunday, and with livewire Stefan Colakovski a serial pest up front, anything can happen.
Melbourne City were thankful for their super keeper Jamie Young for cementing the win last week against Adelaide, although they did have other chances. City will produce a low cross turned home by Tolgay Arslan for the only goal of the game in front of incessant home support. City making claims for a top-six spot.
The X-Factor of playing a game in Hobart is only going to work in Western United’s favour when Sydney FC come to town. A low-key game comes to life early though, as the two teams amazingly trade four goals in the first half to set up a classic second half of Sky Blue attacking play.
Fabio Gomes will notch a double when he completes the perfect hat-trick at the start of the second half, but the best is yet to come; Joe Lolley with a goal of the season contender from distance and Robbie Mak reminding everyone of his undoubted skill with a dribble and finish. Sydney FC starting to get a head of steam.
Clashing with the second half of the Western United game in Hobart is the Newcastle Jets’ home fixture with Melbourne Victory, and for those glued to the Tassie spectacular, you will miss out on a pulsating first half of A-League football. Zinedine Machach and Chris Ikonomidis will have the visitors in command approaching half-time only for Daniel “Grealish” Stynes to halve that lead just before the break.
The frustration of not being able to push home the man advantage last week will give the visitors the impetus in a thrilling second half, the Jets piling forward only for Victory to catch them on the break again as the mercurial Daniel Arzani sweeps home a third.
Adelaide United host Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night, and under the lights at Coopers Stadium we will enjoy another classic A-League encounter. Nestory Irankunda should be a Central Coast Mariners player – he just suits the way they play – but today he will be a constant thorn in the Mariners defence, who are occupied with the aerial threat of Hiroshi Ibusuki.
For all the impressive approach play, Adelaide just can’t get through the brick wall of Dan Hall and Brian Kaltack, and the pivotal moment of the game sees Josh Nisbet pounce on a loose ball in midfield to thread a glorious ball through for Angel Torres.
Like Western United playing Melbourne City, the Macarthur v Western Sydney Wanderers derby is as underwhelming as they come. The Bulls were poor last weekend against Perth and the Wanderers were also a little fortunate to come away with three points, so both teams have something to prove.
The visitors will take the lead against the run of play with a mazy Nicolas Milanovic run and shot that deflects into the net and the big bank of Wanderers fans, fleeced out of their hard-earned dollars and cooking in the late afternoon sun, will be cheering again just after the break when Dylan Pierias finds another gear to power past two defenders and slide a delightful shot into the net for 2-0.
Forgotten fan favourite Lachlan Rose will reduce the deficit, firing home on the rebound to set up a grandstand finish, but Daniel Margush will be the hero with a string of saves as the Wanderers hold on for the three points.
An early kick off in Wellington on Tuesday means no-one will be watching the final game of the round in Australia, while the whole population of Wellington enjoys another public holiday, and a massive crowd cheers on the local heroes at the Cake Tin.
There is no way that the Central Coast Mariners can win this one, you just don’t spoil a New Zealand public holiday, and with the crowd in boisterous form, their beloved Phoenix will be carried to victory against their obliging opponents.
Wellington, Perth, Western United, Newcastle, Adelaide, Macarthur, Wellington
I recently swore that the trusting of Brisbane Roar was something not to be considered for the remainder of the season and I’ll stick to it, despite the Friday night clash in Brisbane being a danger game for the visitors. Perth at home to City is a curious one and I think Alen Stajcic’s men can do it in a boilover… if they start well.
Western United will beat Sydney FC in Hobart, simply because they have not been as bad as the table suggests. Another shock result and the Sky Blue fans furious. I honestly also feel the Jets can beat Victory and dish out their first loss of the season. But… nah Stuart, go with your gut and c’mon the Jets.
Adelaide versus Central Coast on Saturday night is a potential belter and the Reds will have a bumper crowd to get them across the line, whilst the Bulls and Wanderers will dance in Campbelltown, the home side snatching the win with a lone goal.
Wellington will beat Central Coast on Tuesday, with the visitors a little gassed after all the travel and in desperate need of an ice bath or two.
Wellington, Perth, Sydney, Draw, Central Coast, Western Sydney, Draw
Brisbane managed to hold 59 per cent of the possession against the Mariners last week without looking remotely like making that investment pay. They’ll be facing an even stingier defence on Friday night in the form of the now-legitimately table-topping Wellington.
However, the Roar have completed a major coup in the signing of Kiwi international Marco Rojas. Whether the “Kiwi Messi” will be able to hit the ground running against his former club remains to be seen. The Phoenix welcomed back Oskar Zawada last week who marked the occasion with the winning goal against the Jets. The NZ side look formidable in attack with his return and the danger of Messrs Kraev and Barbarouses. They should be too hot for the Roar to handle.
The Glory are amazing. They have no right to be competitive with the off-field turmoil enveloping the club, but Alen Stajcic seems capable of many miracles. Snatching a draw last week away to the Bulls and without top scorer Adam Taggart was as unexpected as it was meritorious.
They face a Melbourne City side who did beat the Reds but allowed their opponents 25 shots on goal. Perth tend to take chances offered to them and if Taggart is fit to play, he will feast on any City largesse.
North Hobart United host Sydney FC this weekend after going down to the Sky Blues fierce rivals last week. Football’s Travelling Wilburys lost to the only shot the Wanderers had on target, which gives you an idea how their season is going. Sydney have lost only once since Round 8 and having extended Melbourne Victory’s run of draws last week, will look to go one better against United.
Joe Lolley is rarely kept quiet two weeks in a row which will be a worry for John Aloisi’s back 4, who did almost enough to shut out Western Sydney last week – but ‘almost’ only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Is a team who have only won two of their last six out of form if they’re unbeaten all season? Probably not, but the curious case of Melbourne Victory has me confounded. They should be too strong for Newcastle this weekend, but cannot seem to finish teams off. Eight draws out of fourteen games may come back to haunt them at season’s end. The Jets are their own enigma.
Having got back into the game against the Phoenix, they managed to succumb in the 87th minute. In fact, both teams have a habit of conceding late goals though at least in Victory’s case, it hasn’t led to a loss. The draw sequence to continue this week – and with Victory, that’s not a bold prediction.
Adelaide beat the Mariners 3-0 in round one but haven’t times changed since then? Central Coast are unbeaten in 10 league games as well as their AFC Cup run, while the Reds have only won 3 times in the same period. Still, this will be a mouth-watering clash of two teams who developed a reputation for great and full-blooded contests towards the end of last season.
Watch out for the next instalment of Irankunda vs Farrell, which will be theatre all of its own. The Mariners still haven’t looked quite as dangerous in the front third without Marco Tulio but the locals are starting to refer to Angel Torres as ‘the Colombian Cumdog’ as he continues to score with regularity. This will be a cracker, but the Mariners are the form team.
Macarthur have looked the goods this season, but always struggle against their Western Sydney neighbours. The Wanderers are efficiency personified. Meanest defence in the league, not particularly free-scoring but more often than not they do enough.
They will be alert to the dangers of the revitalised Ulises Davila, who will certainly draw the attention of Josh Brillante and Oscar Priestman in the Wanderers central midfield. The Wanderers to continue their run of form against the Bulls.
Tuesday’s bonus game in Wellington has the makings of a classic, with the caveat both teams have a big travel schedule and the Mariners are backing up from a Saturday night game, giving the Phoenix an extra day’s rest. With the Mariners in such good shape, a visit to the table-toppers would not hold many fears, apart from the obvious leg weariness and travel fatigue.
The Mariners AFC Cup schedule means this is the first time the two sides have met this A League season, and there is little to split them. An entertaining score draw is in the offing.
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.
Round 15TexiStuartAndrewThe CrowdBRI vs WELBRIWELWEL?PER vs MCYMCYPERPER?WUN vs SYDSYDWUNSYD?NEW vs MVCMVCNEWDRAW?ADL vs CCMCCMADLCCM?MAC vs WSWWSWMACWSW?WEL vs CCMWELWELDRAW?Last week3233Total38383940