Gold Coast v. Sydney
Sydney have never won against the Gold Coast, and it will be a tough ask to beat a team that is hitting top-form, despite criticism from sections of the media for their defensive style of play. Sydney were awful against the Jets last week and were fortunate to get a goal and I can’t see them getting through the Gold Coast defence, especially with Mark Bridge and Nicky Carle still out. A nil-all draw looks on th cards.
Wellington v. central coast
Wellington won their first away game of the season last week, as well as losing their first home match for 24 games in the prior match. The scum are in good form, with Mustapha Amini playing regularly and in general bringing some nice creativity to the field. As much as I hate to admit it Graham Arnold is doing a stellar job and his team play some nice football. Nicky Ward returns to the Wellington squad and him in tandem with Simon Elliot is quite mouthwatering. I can see Wellington’s attempts to make the Cake Tin a fortress held off for another week.
central coast (1-2)
Jets v. Adelaide
The Jets are back a EnergyAustralia Stadium and the pitch is expected to be fine for the match. Jeffers has received his visa clearance and is expected to start the match on Saturday, which will be a major boost to a side who have scored a meagre 5 goals in 11 games. Two up front is what we want to see from Branko, Haliti most likely the second striker. I’m guessing the team would then follow as D’Apuzzo, Milicevic, Topor, Elrich, Abbas, Kantarovski, Wehrman, Zadkovich. I think Jesic should be dropped due to poor form, while I think Elrich and Abbas should be left out in favour of Regan/Fiorentini (with Kanta moving into the back four) and Patafta. We’ll see. Hopefully Fiorentini gets some game time too. Adelaide bounced back from their 4-0 thrashing against the high-flying Brisbane Roar with a 2-0 victory at home to struggling Perth. They weren’t overly convincing however, and I think the Jets should be confident of a win. Captain Travis Dodd could make a return to the starting 11 after two appearances off the bench. Branko needs to ring the changes though and from the last few appearances I believe Abbas is much more useful as an impact player when defences are tiring. Give Fiorentini, Rooney or Patafta a run and bring off the subs bench. The Jets need this.
Perth v. Melbourne Victory
Perth. Wow. They are in massive trouble. They didn’t perform terribly against Adelaide but then again they didn’t do enough for a win. Captain Jacob Burns returns from suspension, while Sterjovski comes back into the squad after injury problems. The Victory on the other hand were looking like getting back into form but their loss to the Gold Coast has set them back again. Archie Thompson could make his first start in over 8 months, depending on how he goes in training this week. With in-form striker Robbie Kruse out for possible 4 weeks it is a welcome return, especially as Ricardinho is also out with a knee injury. Even though I really want to Perth to get back to winning ways for their loyal fans, a draw will occur.
Melbourne Heart v. Brisbane
The last game of the week is Heart and Brisbane. The Roar seem absolutely unstoppable at the moment, finally starting to finish the chances they have been creating all season. The Heart are coming off a bye and a 3-2 win over North Queensland, and will be happy to see AAMI Stadium after three long road trips in succession. They are 6 games unbeaten since their 4-0 thrashing to the Roar in late-September. Both teams are close to full strength with Aloisi returning for the Heart and Franjic returning for the Roar. I can’t pick between them, but it should be a great game full of goals..hopefully
There are also two midweek Jets v. Brisbane on Wednesday and Melbourne Victory v. central coast on Thursday…