A-League Round 24 Preview

TattsBet Brekky Show soccer expert James Clark
TattsBet Brekky Show soccer expert James Clark takes a look at Round 23 of the A-League.
TattsBet A-League Round 24 Preview

Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Coopers Stadium Friday 6:30pm AEST


Round 24 kicks off with fifth-placed Sydney FC taking on sixth-placed Adelaide United. Both teams will be hoping their poor attacking performances on the weekend can be put behind them with only four rounds remaining until the final series. News from Sydney FC is that 2014 will be Alessandro Del Perio’s last season in the Harbour City and fans will be desperate he leaves on high note.

For Adelaide, a loss could force them exit the top six after a promising run of form. I’m sticking with “The Reds” with their last defeat at Coopers coming way back in Round 9 against Premier’s Plate certainties Brisbane Roar. Adelaide striker, Jeronimo Neumann, will be a popular choice in first goal scorer markets after netting 13 goals in 24 games at home.

My tip: Adelaide United
Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
Hunter Stadium 4:30pm AEST

The Jets return to Hunter Stadium after a disappointing loss to F3 Derby rivals the Central Coast Mariners but take plenty of confidence from their performance. Wellington could be considered very unlucky against Melbourne Heart on the back of some contentious decisions from referee Ben Williams and will be looking to make a mends.

The two teams met at Hunter Stadium in early February and it was the Phoenix who snatched the three points in a match littered with plenty of attacking opportunities for both sides. With so much to play for I’m tipping this to be a tightly fought clash that could well be decided well into added time.

My tip: Draw

Brisbane Roar V Melbourne Victory
Suncorp Stadium Saturday 6:45pm AEST

Brisbane Roar is without star striker Besart Berisha through suspension following his crazy red card antics in last Friday nights Sydney FC stalemate. Saturday’s potential “Match of the Round” at Suncorp Stadium will test the Melbourne Victory squad and heighten conflicting priorities with their Asian Champions League (ACL) tie against J-League side Yokohama Marinos.

On the injury front, Ivan Franjic is in doubt and defender James Donachie still remains a couple of weeks away from returning to the first team. On a positive note Jade North and striker Jean Carlos Solórzano are reasonable chances to play against a Victory team looking for their third A-League win in as many weeks. Roar will also be without the services of young defender Corey Brown for an extended period after recovering from emergency surgery and complications to remove an appendix.

Despite the interrupted preparation I’m thinking the Roar’s Luke Brattan, Thomas Broich and the upfront attacking speed and flair of Henrique will prove too hard to handle for a tiring Victory outfit.

 

My tip: Brisbane Roar

Melbourne Heart V Central Coast Mariners
AAMI Park Sunday 3:00pm AEST


Melbourne Heart’s draw against the Phoenix on the weekend all but ended their slim hopes of playing finals football. Heart will ultimately need to win all remaining matches and hope on other results going their way if they’re to sneak into the top six. The Mariners look to have steadied the ship after some rather inconsistent form, but with two wins away from Bluetongue all season, a dominant performance is needed if they plan on back playing in back to back Grand Finals this season.

Mariners are hamstrung by a heavy travel itinerary that has them travelling to China for another AFC group match against Beijing Guoan.

I’m tipping Heart to secure three points at home on the back of strong performances from David Williams and Harry Kewell. Time is quickly running out for Harry to convince Ange Postecolglou he still has what it takes to play at the highest level for the Socceroos in Brazil later this year.

My tip: Melbourne Heart

Western Sydney Wanderers v Perth Glory
Pirtek Stadium Sunday 4:00pm AEST

The Wanderers relinquished second spot on the ladder last weekend with an uneventful nil all draw with Adelaide United on a sodden Pirtek Stadium pitch. Tony Popovic should welcome a Perth Glory team riddled with squad changes and injuries. Glory are staring down the barrel of their first wooden spoon in the A League and avoidance will be the only motivation remaining in an otherwise disappointing year. Shane Smeltz, William Gallas and Brazilian import Sidnei all look to be in doubt for the Glory that have lost both games to date against the Wanderers.

WSW have signed defender Daniel Mullen to replace injured Golgol Mebrahtu and possess some great young talent to assist in squad rotation over the tough ACL schedule. It will be hard to go past the Wanderers in this one and on paper deserve their favouritism in the market.

My tip: Western Sydney Wanderers

James Clark

TattsBet Brekky Show
@clarkies2340


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