Sunday, 9 November 2014

A-League Round 5 Preview

Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Friday, November 7
4.30 PM (AEST)
The Phoenix take on recent Asian Champions League winners WSW and will back themselves against a side mentality fatigued after a momentous week in its short history. The come down will be immense, but the task ahead just as important, as the Wanderers search for their first points of the season. The travel, together with dulling down the euphoria of the ACL success, will be a tough assignment for Tony Popovic to manage. But as they have shown all campaign their ability to rise for any challenge is synonymous with the WSW. Despite being on top of Asia, the events of the past week should catch up with them, and I feel the Phoenix can steal the three points. Nathan Burns as first scorer or to score a goal is good value.
Pick: Wellington Phoenix H2H
 Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Friday, November 7
6.45 PM (AEST)
This is undoubtedly the match of the round between two of the top three sides. Sydney is only one goal ahead of Adelaide in goal differential, with both teams conceding the fewest goals of any side in the league (3). Sydney’s long term defensive question marks of the past look to have been answered, but the attack and speed down the flanks of a classy Adelaide will be the ultimate litmus test for Graham Arnold’s travelling Sky Blues team. This will be close early on, but as the match wears on, Sydney’s intensity for the 90mins may wane as was shown late in the Mariners game.
Pick: Adelaide United H2H
 Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Sat, November 8
The Jets' form woes continue after playing the first four rounds away from Hunter Stadium in a tough start to the season. They have shown glimpses of positive attacking play, but fail to convert the chances onto the score sheet. They will be up against a Melbourne Victory at the peak of their game, despite injuries and suspensions decimating the squad prior to Tuesday’s night’s impressive win over the Phoenix. Difficult to go past the Victory on current form.
Pick: Melbourne Victory H2H
  Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Sat, November 8
6.30 PM (AEST)
This game should be dubbed the #DesperationDerby as both coaches are under immense pressure to deliver their respective clubs a win for the season. With Liam Miller moving on from the Roar, the Premiers have had a week off to re-focus and fine-tune their attack and defensive pattern. Matt Mackay is a welcome return from suspension and he will be looking to gain the upper hand in the battle for mid-field possession. City have bid a hasty farewell to Spanish superstar David Villa, and his absence could be just what the coach is looking for to gain some control over a squad that has worked hard all off season.
Pick: Brisbane Roar (Draw No Bet)
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Sunday, November 9
Perth Glory are sitting comfortably in fourth place on the A-League ladder, but Manager Kenny Lowe may have some selection headaches ahead of Tuesday nights FFA Cup semi-final clash with Victorian giant-killers Bentleigh Greens. The Mariners have been far from impressive in their opening three games, but with a home ground advantage to help boost confidence, I think they can get the job done against a Glory team that could just get ahead of themselves.
Pick: Central Coast Mariners H2H

I’ll be on The TattsBet Brekky show @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire @Aleague season with my previews and reviews of every game.

James ‘Hamez’ Clark

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