After a condensed weekend of action in the previous round, the Easter Bunny is hopping in to MW15, with a whopping nine A-League games in his bag?… pouch?… or wherever he keeps them.
Western United v Melbourne City – 7:30am BT Sport 3
We kick off the bumper week of action with a Victorian derby, Western United looking to pick up their first ever win against a flying Melbourne City.
The two Melbourne sides have faced off five times in the Green and Black’s short history, the most recent being January’s 2 – 1 win for City.
Paddy Kisnorbo’s time are in imperious form right now, enjoying a record run of six consecutive wins that has lifted them to third, just two points off top.
Buoyed by their 4 – 1 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers, a win against the inconsistent United side would see them leapfrog Adelaide and Central Coast to sit top of the ladder. Speaking of which…
Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United – 9:30am BT Sport 3
Adelaide have had an equally impressive turnaround, and will head to Gosford in search of their seventh win on the bounce. Inspired by the performances of Stefan Mauk and Craig Goodwin, plus the emergence of Kusini Yengi, the Reds have enjoyed a phenomenal spell that has seen them rocket up the rankings.
The Mariners on the other hand have endured a bumpy run of games, and are winless in three. They remain top of the ladder, but their lead is hanging by a thread following a shock 1 – 1 draw with the Melbourne Victory last week.
Alen Stajcic will be hope that disappointing result will fire up his players, but if they put in another lacklustre performance against this Reds side, it could be a long day at the office for the Coasties.
Macarthur FC v Perth Glory – 8am BT Sport 2
The Bulls are looking to make history in Campbelltown, a win over Perth would see them win three games in a row for the first time. Macarthur have had a phenomenal first season in the league, catching the eye with their attractive, passing play and consistent performances. They head in to MW15 in fourth place, sitting above the likes of Premier plate holders Sydney and former AFC Champions League winning Western Sydney Wanderers.
Perth have been playing catch up all season, having started almost a month behind other sides due to their own continental commitments. The have been inconsistent so far, and will be looking to build on their hard fought win over Newcastle last week. They haven’t made life easy for themselves at times, epitomised by playing the vast majority of their game against the Jets with ten men after Jonathan Aspropotamitis earned two early yellows and an early shower.
The Glory haven’t travelled well to New South Wales in recent times, they’ll be looking for their first win in six trips to the state. Perth remain a great side with a dangerous attack, and will hope to add to the four points they’ve accumulated from the last two games. A win here will see them move in to the top six, with a few games in hand on their rivals.
Brisbane Roar v Western Sydney Wanderers
The Roar welcome a wounded Western Sydney side that were torn apart in a 4 – 1 loss to Melbourne City last week to the Moreton Daily Stadium on Saturday.
Brisbane are winless in seven, having failed to take three points from a game in almost two months. Despite their poor run of form, Brisbane remain within just three points of a top six spot, and have a game in hand on many of their rivals due to last weeks postponement.
The Wanderers have slid down to fifth in the table, and will be looking to get back on track quickly to make up ground on their title rivals who dropped points earlier in the week. The Red and Black travel reasonably well, last weeks defeat in Melbourne being their first loss away from home, so they’ll be hoping to return to form in their first meeting with Brisbane this season.
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
With the reverse fixture being rained off a couple of weeks back, fans will finally be treated to their first ‘Big Blue’ of the A-League season on Easter Sunday.
Traditionally this “derby” has seen two of the league’s leading lights slug it out in a hotly contested battle for supremacy, but neither side have hit the heights of seasons past.
Sydney have had a poor start to their title defence and are clinging on to a top six place by three points, while the bottom placed Victory have been absolutely abject.
Grant Brebner earned himself a brief reprieve after his side grabbed a 1 – 1 draw in Gosford against the league leaders in MW14, and he’ll be hoping that the shock result can be a much needed catalyst to kick start an upturn in performances.
Sydney ran out 4 – 1 winners the last time these two faced of over a year ago, misfiring Kosta Barbarouses, Milos Ninkovic and Antony Caceres all getting on the score sheet, though the Sky Blues have struggled to score anywhere near as freely this season. They’ve only picked up a point from their last two games, but will perhaps look to their W-League side for inspiration, after they lifted their first Premier Plate in a decade by putting the Victory to the sword in a 2 – 1 ‘Big Blue’ victory.
Newcastle Jets v Western United – 8am
Western United will be confident heading in to their second game of the week, having shocked the league by picking up their first ever win over Melbourne City on Thursday. Alessandro Diamanti came off the bench to re-ignite the Green and Black attack against City, and they have been over reliant on the 37 year old Italian, who is clearly still struggling with the back and rib issues that have hampered him for weeks. It will be interesting to see how Mark Rudan deals with his star man as they face their second game in four days, especially with Lachy Wales performing admirably in the derby.
United travel up the coast to take on a struggling Newcastle Jets side that have lost five games on the bounce. The Jets are currently wallowing down in 11th, just a few points above the Victory and have struggled for goals. Roy O’Donovan finally broke his drought with a spectacular effort against Perth last week, and you feel they will need something equally spectacular to beat Ryan Scott, who has been in fine form since replacing Filip Kurto in the United goal.
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City – 10am
Paddy Kisnorbo will be expecting his City side to bounce back from their derby defeat as they head up to Wollongong to take on the ‘Nix.
There’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal, or so the saying goes, and you feel that the Melbourne side will be looking to unleash their frustration on Wellington in their home away from home on Easter Monday.
Wellington will face a tough test to keep City at bay, and will do so without arguably their best defender, as Steven Taylor is expected to be out for a further two weeks with the injury he sustained in his second game back. Reno Piscopo makes a welcome return to the squad as the ‘Nix look to get back to winning ways following last weeks 1 – 0 loss to Macarthur.
City will be annoyed to have thrown away a chance to go first earlier this week, but a win in Wollongong will send them up to second and go some way to easing their wounded pride.