The Roar’s A-League Men tips and predictions: Round 16
Another questionable round of tipping affected by four draws in Round 15 saw the captain of the Roar tipping panel manage two correct selections.
Texi, Andrew and the voice of the people all struggled as the A-League reminded us all once again why we embrace this unpredictable competition so enthusiastically – round 16 looks no cinch either.
After taking a flogging at the hands of Central Coast last Saturday, Adelaide need points against the dangerous Perth Glory. Wellington can extend their lead at the top of the ladder with a win against bottom club Western United on Saturday and top four places will be on the line when Victory hosts Macarthur in the twilight.
Sydney FC travels to Gosford the same day in what looks a compelling contest, whilst Brisbane will be keen to further rock Melbourne City’s boat with a shock win. The round ends with Western Sydney hosting Newcastle in the early evening on Sunday, with the home side all the talk after Marko Rudan’s outbursts last week.
Good luck with your tips for the six matches and be sure to enter them in the sheet below as part of the struggling voice of the masses. Here are the tips and thoughts of the panel on the upcoming action.
Adelaide, Wellington, Victory, City, Central Coast, Western Sydney
All of a sudden Perth Glory are on the up and Adelaide are on the way down. Glory thoroughly deserved their victory over Melbourne City last weekend while Adelaide were dismantled in front of their horrified fans at Coopers Stadium. Back at the same venue, the Reds will be fired up and ready to right the wrongs, and they will deliver a reality check to the Western Australians.
Nestory Irankunda will score a double in the first 20 minutes and there is no way back for Glory. Hiroshi Ibusuki nods home a third and the game is all but over as a contest. Two late goals from Zac Clough and Stefan Mauk put the icing on the cake and Adelaide can look back on the last two weeks as a bizarre aberration in a topsy-turvy season.
Back on home turf for the second time in a week, league leaders Wellington Phoenix have their eye on a big win against bottom team Western United. The visitors are in danger of being cut adrift at the foot of the A-League ladder and John Aloisi will lead his troops into the lions’ den as the Phoenix go on the offensive from the first whistle.
Tom Heward-Belle will be busy and Western United will get help from VAR; spotting two mystery offsides to deny them twice in an increasingly bad-tempered first half. A pumped-up Phoenix will finally get their goal just in time for their fans to whip off their shirts, Oskar Zawada cushioning a high ball into the path of Kosta Barbarouses who drills home for 1-0.
Western United throw caution to the wind in search of an equaliser and Alex Paulsen makes a string of saves to secure the three points in a tough game.
Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten record goes on the line with entertainers Macarthur FC in town on the back of an unlikely win against the Wanderers on Sunday. Victory were fortunate not to succumb to the pressure against the Jets last week, but there will be no mistakes here as the Bulls are put in their place.
Daniel Arzani hits top form, dazzling with his wing play, and Zinedine Machach finds way too much room, scoring twice before the break as the home side slice apart their nearest challengers. The grumpy Valere Germain moans throughout the whole game as he watches Victory add to their lead, a 3-0 final score not reflective of the total dominance.
The late show last time out from Brisbane Roar saw them pinch a point from Wellington Phoenix, and that momentum will continue into a difficult home game against reigning premiers Melbourne City. Marco Rojas and Carlo Armiento are restored to the starting line-up by Ruben Zadkovich and sparkle in a high-tempo first half.
Jamie Young, fresh from conceding four goals in Perth last week, is finally beaten just before the break, Jay O’Shea with a cracker from distance. From then on though, City exploit the shambolic Brisbane defence, Tolgay Arslan’s replacement Jimmy Jeggo stepping in to turn the game on its head.
Mathew Leckie with a poacher’s goal on the hour and Jamie Maclaren tapping home as City pass their way through the Roar defence. A thrilling end has Young making saves like a 20-year-old, and Henry Hore is left holding his head in his hands as he fires wide from in front with the final kick off the game.
The beach party is in full swing for the Sydney FC fans at Central Coast Stadium, but their team’s worrying collapse last week in Hobart was indicative of one lacking that winning mentality. Facing a Mariners team in free flow after thrashing Adelaide last week, any hopes of a rebound from Ufuk Talay’s men are dashed in an opening ten minutes from hell.
Ryan Edmondson gets off the mark, sliding in at the far post to open the scoring, Christian Theoharous adds a second almost immediately and the stadium is bouncing when Alou Kuol fires home a third. Sydney FC rally to dominate the rest of the first half, and Joe Lolley scores a left-foot curler to bring them back into it with 15 minutes remaining.
A dramatic late comeback is quashed with a fourth Mariners’ goal only a minute later, an Angel Torres double bloating the score while the away fans continue to party on their favourite away day, unmoved by the heavy defeat.
Marko Rudan needs to let the football do the talking. His manic obsession with being the working-class underdog doesn’t cut it, and Western Sydney Wanderers’ stylish players are much better than their form suggests. Their controversial coach was rightly aggrieved by a ridiculous decision to award a goal at the death to Macarthur without at least having a look at VAR, and his loose words will have him on his best behaviour as Newcastle Jets come to town looking to take advantage of the home team’s unease.
Dylan Pierias scores a brilliant opener only for Trent Buhagiar to equalise within two minutes. The sparse crowd at Commbank Stadium fails to spark the home team to the heights that they should be reaching and the game descends into a midfield scrap crying out for some Ninkovic magic.
Cue Zac Sapsford, coming off the bench for a late cameo to score the winner with a diving header in front of the RBB. All is well in Western Sydney as Jets play the fall guy perfectly to hand the three points to Rudan’s men.
Adelaide, Wellington, Victory, City, Central Coast, Western Sydney
Goodness me! May as well pull these tips out of a hat. Seriously tough work over the last month or so.
I suggested Adelaide would win last week because they simply had to. Well here we go again with the Glory in town to face them. Surely Adelaide’s fans lift them across the line in this one? Wellington will beat Western United in a canter, despite some heavy legs after a busy week of football and Victory will have a big crowd on hand when the slaughter Macarthur at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Melbourne City will have too much class for a misfiring Brisbane Roar and the blockbuster between Central Coast and Sydney FC looks like a pivotal moment in the season. Three points for the Mariners and final evidence that the Sky Blues are a little off the pace-setters.
Western Sydney’s clash with Newcastle in Parramatta is a dangerous one for Marko Rudan’s men and the week of pressure he brought to the club will be no help in what is a banana skin game for the home side. The Wanderers to get the points in what could be a high scoring affair.
Draw, Wellington, Victory, City, Central Coast, Western Sydney
Adelaide v Perth kicks off Round 16 – one team in ascension, one in descent. The Reds were awful against a rampant Mariners last Saturday and were lucky the champions racked the cue in the second half. Perth are accumulating a tidy little unbeaten run and were great in dispatching City last start, despite having more off-field dramas than Donald Trump has court cases.
These two teams, who are meeting for the first time this season, have a habit of producing thrillers and goals galore, so don’t be surprised if they split six or eight between them. Adelaide can’t play that badly twice in a row, can they?
The Phoenix were winless last weekend across two games but could make an argument for deserving to win both. That said, they still lead the competition and look like having too much firepower for the struggling Western. United did launch a spirited fightback from 0-2 down to draw 2-2 with Sydney FC in Hobart.
This time though, they face a sterner defence. Up front, the Phoenix (and my fantasy team) will have to find goals without Oskar Zawada, who’s groin injury has resurfaced and put him on the injured list for a month. They’ll find a different way this weekend.
Victory’s draw sequence now extends to four, so they’ll surely be rolling out the red carpet for the return of Bruno Fornaroli from Socceroos duty against Macarthur. The Bulls won an absolute thriller against Western Sydney last week – a result that caused Wanderers coach Marko Rudan a spectacular post-match-presser meltdown.
Valerie Germain netted an A-League hat-trick but was lucky to be on the park to complete it after his first half tap-dance on an opponent’s leg. If the Bulls can find a way through the usually formidable red and black defensive wall as they did last week, they’ll fancy their chances against the Victory. But with Bruno back, Poppa’s side may have the spark needed to finish off games again.
City will be missing suspended attacking weapon Tolgay Arslan for the clash with Brisbane after the midfielder dissented his way into disfavour after the full-time whistle against the Glory. The away team have plenty of attacking options to compensate, and gave the Roar an 8-1 hiding in Round 10.
Poor old Brisbane find themselves with a caretaker coach again after Ben Cahn took medical leave, and interim coach Ruben Zadkovich parked the bus and threw away the key against Wellington. It won’t work this week.
The Mariners enter a fixture-heavy period with their AFC Cup commitments but are in wonderful nick right now. They have tightened up defensively while looking capable of scoring at will. Central to their success is the irrepressible Josh Nisbet, who is at last being mentioned in Socceroos circles.
Sydney let a routine victory slip against last-placed Western United, and its lapses like these that have stunted a charge into the top six. Joe Lolley remains their best path to attacking returns, with Jacob Farrell tasked with another smother job. The Mariners look the goods in this one.
The Wanderers usually back up a goal-letting performance with a miserly defensive effort. This Sunday at Parramatta, the home side will look to put the concession of four goals last week behind them as they host the hard-to-predict Jets. Lachlan Brook is in sparkling form for the hosts, who will also have first-choice keeper Lawrence Thomas in goals from the start, after he came on to replace a concussed Daniel Margush at half time against Macarthur.
The Jets will look to Kosta Grozos to pull all the attacking strings from midfield. If Western Sydney keep him quiet, a victory is theirs for the taking.
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 16TexiStuartAndrewThe CrowdADL vs PERADLADLDRAW?WEL vs WUNWELWELWEL?MVC vs MACMVCMVCMVC?BRI vs MCYMCYMCYMCY?CCM vs SYDCCMCCMCCM?WSW vs NEWWSWWSWWSW?Last week1221Total39404141