Monday, 22 September 2014

Remaining Quarterfinal Spots Up For Grabs

Last week an impressive 14 goals were scored across four games, which will still have many of the goalkeepers waking up in a cold sweat.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the clubs most likely to join the Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Adelaide City and Bentleigh Greens in the pot for the all-important quarterfinal draw.

St Albans Saints (Vic)  v Perth Glory (WA)

Kenny Lowe’s Perth Glory side have experienced a massive changing of the guard over the off-season, and so far the form has been mixed in pre-season results. The big question is how long before new combinations take to gel and will the heavy burden of away days again impact on a squad filled with promise? In the meantime a victory over the Saints will be the sole focus of the group charged with building a new culture of success following on from the disappointment of no finals football last season.

Tip: Perth Glory H2H (Pick the score; 2-1 for value)

 Sydney United (NSW)  v Sydney FC (NSW) 

This will be the battle of 'Harbour City' and has the makings of a great Sydney stoush. There is plenty of expectation on Sydney FC, with experienced manager Graham Arnold installed at the helm. Arnold will square off against an impressive Mark Rudan coached Sydney United side, and plenty of passionate fans will ensure a great atmosphere for the FoxSports LIVE telecast game. As Sydney FC’s short price indicates, they should win and win well, but Arnold knows that simply turning up won’t guarantee their survival in this competition.

Tip: Sydney FC H2H

Adelaide United (SA)  v Brisbane Roar (Qld) 

This is probably the most anticipated clash of the Round with current A-League Premiers and Champions Brisbane Roar looking to add another trophy to their impressive record. Both sides will be keen to flex their muscle ahead of their Round 1 A-League fixture at Suncorp Stadium on October 12. Pocket rocket Henrique has been in startling pre-season form and is a handy option if you’re looking to invest in the first goal scorer market.

Tip: Brisbane Roar H2H

Palm Beach Sharks (Qld)  v South Springvale (Vic)

The recently crowned NPL (Qld) Premiers, Palm Beach Sharks, have been the consistent performers all season and should have too much “Prince Charming” class for the “Cinderella” third tier amateur Victorian outfit of South Springvale. The impossible is always possible in ‘Cup’ football, but based on current form, the Sharks might smell the blood in the water and call ‘last drinks’ on the only true Pub team left in the FFA Cup competition.

Tip: Palm Beach Sharks (Margin 2+ goals)

James Clark

TattsBet Brekky Show

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Six A-League Clubs Remain in FFA Cup

Of the 631 clubs competing in the inaugural FFA Cup, six of the 10 A-League teams remain in contention. The FFA Cup concept is largely based on the English FA Cup and gives an opportunity to smaller grass roots minnow clubs in Australian football to be pitted against their professional and more fancied A-League outfits.

The potential for the aptly named “banana-skin” upset in the often talent mismatched encounters are what adds to the romance, as well as to the value for the punter in us all.

Here’s a brief look at the four games on the radar this week, with two A-League clubs (Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners) both looking to avoid that ‘slippery’ path and progress to the quarterfinal stage in October/November.

Sydney Olympic (NSW) ($2.35) v Bentleigh Greens (Vic) ($2.50)

This should be an entertaining and mouth-watering clash between two teams given their rich Greek history and a distinct smell of BBQ Souvlaki in the springtime air. I’m thinking Olympic could sneak home in this one, but given what’s at stake, don’t be surprised if they require extra-time to get the job done. The home ground advantage has been lessened with the fixture moved from the Belmore Sports Ground to Lambert Park in Leichardt.

Tip: Sydney Olympic (Goal Margin by 1 goal)

Tuggeranong United (ACT) ($29.00) v Melbourne Victory (Vic) ($1.02)

Melbourne Victory will be raging favourites as they make the long trip north to take on Tuggeranong United in the nation’s capital. Socceroo Carl Valeri makes a long awaited return to his junior club for the ‘David & Goliath’ battle that will ultimately see his classy professional Victory outfit progress past the passion-filled ‘Tuggies’ team littered with plumbers, accountants and hard working students.

Tip: Melbourne Victory Margin 2+ goals

Adelaide City (SA) ($2.15) v Brisbane Strikers (Qld) ($2.75)

This is the game that could throw up a surprise draw after 90mins. The Brisbane Strikers were National Premier League (Qld) Semi finalists after finishing the season in fourth place. They will look to their in-form striker Matthew Thurtell, who has scored 18 goals this season. In contrast, Adelaide City finished sixth in the SA league dominated by MetroStars, but will still be brimming with confidence after knocking off the highly fancied Asian Cup semi-finalists, the Western Sydney Wanderers, back in August.

Tip: Draw after 90 mins

Olympic FC (Qld) ($8.50) v Central Coast Mariners (NSW) ($1.27)

Olympic FC will be hoping they can turn around their Grand Final loss disappointment to Palm Beach on Friday night as they host Phil Moss’ Central Coast Mariners at QSAC in Brisbane. The Mariners are fresh from a 1-1 draw at Ballymore against A League Champions and Premiers Brisbane Roar. I think fitness will decide this one, and despite my heart going with Olympic, the head suggests the Mariners will come home strong and sail into the quarter finals on the back of superior fitness.

Tip: Mariners 2-0

James Clark

TattsBet Brekky Show