Newcastle v Melbourne Victory
Friday October 23, 7:40pm
Newcastle held out a less than clinical Sydney for 87 minutes last week before Alex Brosque made them pay for some poor set piece defensive work. Newcastle had what looked to be a fair goal disallowed but in truth it was a match they were very lucky not to have lost by 2-3 goals.
In their two matches this season the Jets have averaged around 39% possession and managed just the 5 shots on goal (zero against Sydney). Against a Victory defence that has had a very solid start to the season I suspect they will likely only have 2-3 clear scoring chances (excluding set pieces) which makes them highly unlikely to trouble the scoreboard.
The Victory have played two very competitive matches against Adelaide and Melbourne City in the opening two rounds and have been the better team on both occasions. They had to rely on a 90th minute winner to secure all 3 points last week after City did a fantastic job to get back to 2-2.
They have attacking threats all over the park and are in a sequence of 13 undefeated away matches (their one ‘away’ loss last season was v City in a neutral venue). In that sequence they have failed to score only twice, kept 6 clean sheets and scored 3 goals 5 times.
Newcastle are battling a few injuries including losing keeper Mark Birighitti to a shocking facial injury last week. They look ripe for the picking although they do welcome back captain Nigel Boogaard and have a fantastic home record against the Victory having not lost to them at home since the 09/10 season.
Even though they are away from home,Victory can be backed down to as low as 1.60 for 2.5 units (3 units being a max bet).
Wellington v Brisbane
Saturday, 24 October 5:15pm
Wellington were impressive overturning a 1-0 deficit to beat Perth on the road last week leaving it very late (’89) to find the winner continuing their good record of scoring in second halves of matches, now 16 of their last 24 away goals.
Brisbane have ridden their luck a little but have won their opening 2 matches of the season. Truth be told after the tumultuous off season they are performing above expectations. This can largely bet put down to the Spanish import Corona as the holding midfielder.
Brisbane have managed to score 5 goals from 22 attempts at goal but only conceded 2 from their opponents 28 shots and so whilst they have been very clinical they have arguably over performed to date.
Wellington have struggled in their last 6 home matches winning just the once however 3 of their 5 losses were against last years Grand Finalists Sydney and Victory and they had an impressive home record last season prior to that run. 9 of their last 11 regular season matches at the ‘Cake Tin’ have seen 3+ goals scored.