THE A-LEAGUE ANALYST
ROUND 4 PREVIEW
Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC
Saturday October 31, 5:15pm
Central Coast Mariners gave a good account of themselves away to Melbourne City last week, however even though they looked a chance to score themselves they could conceivably have conceded more than the 3 they copped. Their cavalier approach has been entertaining with a league-high 51 attempts on goal (cumulative to round 3) however this has also seen them facing a league high 25 shots on goal some 7 higher than the next worst. It’s hard to understand why they don’t use Eddy Bosnar to bring some experience to a very young back line.
Sydney FC on the other hand have been travelling nicely albeit leaving it very late to win their last two games against Newcastle and Western Sydney 1-0. They are creating a fair amount of chances however they are still looking for someone to fill the rather large scoring boots of Mark Janko. Not surprisingly Sydney has found a very solid foundation based around Coach Graeme Arnold’s defence first philosophies. Incredibly they have only conceded 3 shots on goal in 3 matches and have managed 6 clean sheets on the road in their last 15 matches, winning their last 9 on the bounce.
While it may take them a while I expect Sydney to get over the top of the Mariners, the only caveat would be a re-jig to the Mariners defence but I’m happy to suggest a 2 unit play at $2+.
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
Saturday October 31, 7:30pm
Last week we were against Brisbane Roar however I am strongly with them this week. They put up a good performance against Wellington in a high class match dominating possession and doing well in most key metrics bar the final result. This does highlight their weak area at the moment with many first choice defenders out. However Shane Steffanuto does return and I would hope he is slotted straight back in to try and provide some greater stability. They have a league-high conversion rate of 47% goals from shots on target. This is likely unsustainable however it does speak to the quality in their front third.
Adelaide United’s losing performance to Perth was characterised by an abundance of possession with very little end result. They managed just the 1 shot on goal and have so far managed just 5 shots on goal in 3 matches and are yet to find the back of the net with their only 2 goals both coming from own goals. They do have Bruce Djite back and perhaps he has been the missing link though he has never been a particularly prolific scorer as fantastic a player as he is.
Melbourne Victory v Wellington
Monday November 2, 7:30pm
The Victory are yet to really fire up this season with just the 4 points from their first 3 matches. They also took the full 90 minutes to get over a stubborn Hume City in the FFA Cup midweek.
They have still been creating plenty of opportunities but possibly not quite of the standard of last season nor the conversion rates a return of just 3 goals from 44 attempts is not great but heaven help the team that gets on the end of them putting them away.
Wellington are a heavily underestimated team who play a very good style of football. Coach Ernie Merrick has transformed a once poor away team into a very strong away team. They have won 8 of their 14 away matches since the beginning of last season and Ernie Merricks reign. To put that into context they won just 19 of their 93 away matches in their history. It could be argued they may revert to their long term trend however I don’t suspect that will be the case.
These teams have shared an abundance of goals in their recent history. The last 9 matches between the two have produced 37 goals (avg 4.11 per match) with 6 recording 5 goals.
Back Wellington at 5+ for 1 unit
I think there is less value in laying Victory as I have the draw a lesser probability than the market (14% vs 22%) and so am happy not to have it on my side. For the slightly more conservative perhaps a play at Wellington Draw No Bet which can be achieved via the result market by backing the draw to save the stake placed on the Phoenix.