TattsBet Brekky Show soccer expert James Clark takes a look at Round 25 of the A-League.
TattsBet A-League Round 25 Preview
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Heart
Suncorp Stadium, Friday 28 March, 7:00pm (AEST)
With the Premier’s Plate in their grasp, the Roar will be looking to continue a good form run into the finals series. Melbourne Heart was responsible for the Roar’s last defeat with a narrow 1-0 win at AAMI Park back in Round 20. Brisbane will be out to make a mends for that loss and maintain their current unbeaten run of four games.
Besart Berisha looks likely to return to the starting side after serving a one-match ban and will be hoping to chase down Newcastle’s Adam Taggart, who currently leads the Golden Boot stats with 13 goals this season. Roar now have the Grand Final squarely in their sights after lifting the Premier’s Plate and deserve their short price favouritism for this clash.
My tip: Brisbane Roar
Bluetongue Stadium, Saturday 29 March, 4:30pm (AEST)
The Mariners appear to be back to their winning ways after back-to-back wins. It has been a horrid season with injuries to key personnel, player transfers and the untimely exit of Graham Arnold to the J-League. Despite constant disruptions they have displayed that they still have the experience and class to forge out wins in tough circumstances.
This week sees last season’s Grand Finalists go toe to toe again with the Wanderers holding a slight advantage with a win and a draw from the past two meetings. Historically there’s never too much between the sides and this weekend will be no exception as the current market suggests. I think the draw could be a safer option and could add value to a multi.
My tip: Draw
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Etihad Stadium, Saturday March 29, 6:45pm (AEST)
Melbourne Victory will be full of confidence despite the narrow last minute loss to Brisbane and will be recharged at not having to juggle Asian Champions League commitments this week. Sydney FC will need to bounce back from a heavy away loss to Adelaide and channel the same attacking strategy they dished out to the Victory on Australia Day when they put the cleaners through their defence with five unanswered goals at Etihad.
Alessandro Del Perio and Ranko Despotovic were instrumental that night, but the attacking landscape has changed somewhat since then and a reversal of that score line is a distinct possibility. If the Victory can limit their love of seeing the sideline official waving his offside flag, then Kosta Barbarouses or James Troisi are ones to consider in the first scorer market.
My tip: Melbourne Victory
Wellington Phoenix V Adelaide United
Westpac Stadium, Sunday March 30, 12:00pm (AEST)
Wellington Phoenix has been the real disappointment this season for mine. The team is packed with ability and attacking flair but consistency has sadly been their downfall. It appeared they were set to make the transition into the top six, and mathematically that is still a possibility. The season has been hampered by all too frequent squad disruptions on the back of the many international commitments in a busy World Cup year.
Most agree that when the Phoenix are at their best they deliver an exciting brand of football with the likes of Carlos Hernandez and Kenny Cunningham in their arsenal. Sadly this season the live rounds have been replaced with blanks. I’m sticking with Adelaide in this one, but when the Phoenix are involved the game can sometimes lend itself to a game of Russian roulette.
My tip: Adelaide United
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets
nib Stadium, Sunday Match 30, 6:00pm (AEST)
The demise of Perth Glory continues this season and with a wooden spoon firmly in the struggling club’s grasp, a morale boosting win at home is just the tonic required for the long suffering fans. Without a win in 10 games and key international marquee William Gallas likely to again be sidelined, it will be a tough ask for the purple and whites.
Glory is up against a Jets outfit that have won more games away this season than on their horribly “patchy” Hunter Stadium. The Jets have far more to play for as they look to consolidate their spot in the top six at the expense of their big city cousins Sydney FC.
My tip: Newcastle Jets