Melbourne City v Western Sydney Wanderers – Friday, 8am BT Sport 2
Western Sydney Wanderers head to AAMI Park with a one-point lead over fourth placed Melbourne City. A Mitch Duke inspired Wanderers have won three on the bounce, while City are the most in-from side in the division having gone unbeaten in five.
Both teams are attacking minded, dangerous out wide and prolific in front of goal, scoring a combined 43 goals between them, so this is sure to present a fantastic start to MW14!
Wanderers play with three at the back, and rely on their wing backs getting up the pitch to get crosses in for their attackers, but this has seen them been caught out by balls over the top and fast paced wingers at times this season. This is something City excel at, their talented midfield delivering balls out wide to two of the most lethal wingers in the A-League, Craig Noone and Andrew Nabbout, to provide chances for Jamie Maclaren.
Ziggy Gordon has been in superb form so far, and Carl Robinson will need the Scotsman to be at his very best if they are to keep the league’s top goalscorer Maclaren quiet on Friday, because he’s proved this season, if you give him a chance, he’ll take it.
Kisnorbo and co will be buoyed by their 2 – 0 victory over the league leading Mariners, and will be confident of continuing their march towards the top of the ladder, having already defeated the Wanderers easily this season.
Brisbane Roar v Western United – POSTPONED
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory – Saturday, 8am BT Sport 1
The Mariners were brought back down to Earth last week, outclassed by a flying Melbourne City side on the way to a 2 – 0 defeat. While the loss didn’t affect their position on the top the ladder, they will be keen to get back to winning ways to keep ahead of the in-form City, Adelaide and Western Sydney who are quickly making up ground on the Coasties.
While you should never underestimate an opponent, the league leaders will undoubtedly be confident heading in to this one given the Victory’s form. The Blue and Navy have shipped an average of 4.25 goals a game across their last four outings, and you know both Matty Simon and Alou Kuol will be licking their lips in anticipation of coming up against the leakiest defence in the league.
The Victory are sinking like a stone, and have shown no signs that they are able to turn things around. Pressure is mounting on Grant Brebner, with rumours the club are in talks with former Western Sydney Wanderers and Perth manager Tony Popovic, who is available following his sacking from Greek second division Xanthi in February.
When Fox pundit and Premier League legend Mark Bosnich asked Brebner outright if he would resign after the Wellington loss the inexperienced Scot stated;
“It’s not the type of person I am, I totally understand the position we’re in and I understand the expectation of this football club to win games and trophies.
“But I do believe we can get ourselves out of this. I do believe the players that will come back into this team will make us better.
“The here and now is tough, but if you’re asking me that direct question (resigning), the answer is no.”
If the rumours are to be believed, you feel another abysmal performance in Gosford on Saturday may prove to be the final straw for the Vuck hierarchy…
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets – Saturday, 10am BT Sport 1
The Jets travel across to Western Australia this weekend to take on an inconsistent Perth Glory.
Both teams are looking to put an end to a dismal run of form, Newcastle have just one win in six, and are really struggling for goals. They’ve only managed to score more than one goal in a game once this season, though may fancy their chances against a Perth side that are yet to keep a clean sheet.
The Glory are now without a win in their previous five games. There were signs of encouragement after a shaky start against Sydney last week, and Perth were unlucky not to come away with the three points after a strong second half performance. Given the strength of their squad, they will be disappointed to find themselves way down in tenth, regardless of their games in hand. There are goals in this Glory side, they have scored more than six of the teams above them on the ladder, and they’ll be hopeful of putting a few past the side that shipped four to Adelaide last week.
The table is tight, and win for Perth would see them jump three places to replace Brisbane in seventh, and provide them with a much needed confidence boost ahead of their tough upcoming run of three games on the road.
Wellington Phoenix v Macarthur – Sunday, 6am BT Sport 3
Just a few short weeks ago, Macarthur were defying all expectations and sitting second on the ladder. An inconsistent run in their last few games has seen the Bulls drop to fifth, which is still an impressive achievement considering this is their debut season in the A-League. Wellington’s solid run in recent weeks has seen them surge off the bottom of the ladder and the ‘Nix now find themselves within just five points of the visitors heading in to Sunday’s fixture.
Macarthur play some beautiful football, but you feel that there patient, passing game may struggle to break down a Wellington side that likes to sit back and absorb the pressure. Ante Milicic has already made it abundantly clear that he won’t stray from his chosen style, and this may just play in to Wellington’s hands.
Reno Piscopo has been in excellent form for the Phoenix, but was replaced at half time with a calf strain in Wednesday’s win over Melbourne Victory. It remains to be seen if he will be fit for this clash, because his speed and skill have played a huge role in Ufuk Taualy’s counter-attacking game plan that has brought them so much success in recent weeks.
Adelaide United v Sydney – Sunday, 8am BT Sport 3
The final game of MW14 sees Sydney make the almost 1,400km trip across to Adelaide to face a red hot Reds side, who are enjoying a five-game winning streak.
Sydney are creating plenty of chances, they had 11 in the first half alone against Perth, but their end product is lacking. Bobô is not the player he once was, but has found the back of the net in three of his last four outings, but Steve Corica needs his side to become more clinical in front of goal.
Adelaide, on the other hand, are having no such problems. Craig Goodwin and Stefan Mauk are lethal at the moment, scoring seven goals between them in their last four matches, while youngster has found the back of the net in consecutive games since his swaggering performance against the Melbourne Victory two weeks ago.
Carl Veart’s side are playing some great football, and present a tough test for the travelling Sky Blues. With their confidence at an all time high, and Sydney’s Andrew Redmayne looking less than secure between the sticks, I’m expecting the Mauk and co to continue their goal scoring form in front of the Red Army this weekend.