Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday February 6, 7:30pm
Last week Melbourne Victory lost 3-2 to Perth Glory despite coming from 2-down to draw level late on. Certainly Perth are proving a bogey team with Victory gaining just the 1 point from a possible 9 against the boys from the West.
Western Sydney Wanderers played out a goal-fest with Melbourne City finishing the odd goal to the good in a match with seven goals in total and in the process consolidating their position on top of the table.
Victory have won six of seven at home this season with the only points dropped in a Draw against the aforementioned Perth. Breaking their home from down over the last few seasons suggests that the Victory are a fearsome proposition at Etihad Stadium. Since the start of the 2010/11 season they’ve been 18(w)-10(d)-3(l) and even more impressively have won nine of their last 10. Their last match at Etihad was a drab 1-0 win over Sydney however it is worth noting Sydney played very negative football and the pitch was awful. With the BBL cricket over the pitch should be returned to decent condition for this match.
The Wanderers have had an up and down time of it over the last month with a win and loss against City, a Derby loss to Sydney and a scratchy win over the Mariners. Still they have managed to solidify their place at the top of the table. Away from home the Wanderers have lost just the two matches this season to City and Sydney however wins against Central Coast twice, the Jets and a Mooy-less City as well as having to come from behind for their two draws at Perth and Adelaide and I am still to be convinced of their away from. They have managed two clean sheets from eight away matches and conceded at least once in their last four as well as their last four overall.
It should be a cracking game but I’m going to side with Melbourne Victory in this one.
Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
Sunday February 7, 3pm
Wellington’s season went from bad to worse last week, conceding three goals for the third match in a row and five of the last six. More concerning is their inability to score when it matters. They have still managed to score in each of the last three defeats but each of those has been late consolations when already down 3-0.
Perth Glory are going from strength to strength and must now be more than a fluky chance to make the Top Six albeit they will have to continue their form of four wins from their last nine. They have found goals easier to come by of late scoring 11 of their season total of 27 in the last three matches.
Games in Wellington have tended to be over 2.5 goals with 11 of the last 15 saluting. On face value they have a good record in Wellington winning eight of their last 15 but they have still lost five with just the two draws. However we only have to go back to the 2013/14 season where they were 2-3-5 at home and given their recent form they are perhaps this is a more likely outcome come seasons end.
Whilst not in Wellington a case in point of how the Phoenix are travelling is that the Mariners managed their first away win in 22 matches last week.
Perth on the other hand are 1-1-6 on the road this season which doesn’t read well however they were 6-6-1 last season when travelling more like the team they seem to have become in recent weeks. Their frontline of Andy Keogh, Chris Harold and Diego Castro all of a sudden look very formidable. In fact Castro is right up there with the most influential, and best, players in the league at the moment.