WS Wanderers – Sydney FC
Western Sydney Wanderers won’t be relishing a visit from their city rivals, with the side struggling to gain any consistency this season and they once again enter a derby match as underdogs. They have exchanged wins and losses for the past few weeks and have slipped out of the top 6 as a result, putting their chances of playing Finals Series football at risk. The centre of midfield will be much weaker with Dimas being handed a one game back for accumulating 8 yellow cards. He’ll be a huge loss and the midfield will suffer, but it gives Popovic the opportunity to bring Santalab back into the starting line-up and drop Nichols into a more familiar, deeper role through the middle.
Sydney are looking to go 20 games unbeaten by avoiding defeat against their biggest rivals and will be full of confidence after another win last weekend, this time a 3-1 victory over Wellington. They are just 8 games away from making A-League history and going the full season unbeaten and motivation will be extremely high amongst the players. There are no major injury worries either and this will help Graham Arnold search for another three points by giving him consistency within his starting line-up and allowing him to field his strongest eleven once again, with the attacking trio of Ninkovic, Brosque and Holosko all being in fine form in recent weeks.
Sydney FC will still be full of confidence after they extended their unbeaten run this season even further, going 19 games without defeat with a 3-1 win against Wellington Phoenix and with the side yet to taste defeat this season they’ll have plenty of momentum to carry into the derby. No suspensions or injuries will boost morale further and with so many attacking options all being in good form there will be plenty of reason for the squad to believe they can go thru the whole season unbeaten.
I recommend a bet on Sydney -0.25 Asian Handicap at the odds of 1.76 at SBOBET.
Wellington Phoenix – Melbourne City
Wellington Phoenix have hit a poor run of form recently which has seen them drop to 8th and struggle to maintain their position within the playoff places. They’ve looked a little low on confidence in recent weeks and head coaches Greenacre and Buckingham will be working hard to restore morale within the group, but they face a hard task with a fresh Melbourne City side visiting. They will be able to welcome Smeltz back into the squad but the striker may find it hard to get back into the starting line-up with Krishna moving into the striking role and performing well. Bonevacia is likely to come back into the midfield though and his presence will be a boost for the team, with the central areas missing his passing and energy in the past couple of weeks.
Melbourne City managed to get a draw last time out against Brisbane Roar despite having 8 first team players missing through suspension or injury. The result showcased the squad depth at the club and would’ve build a little confidence after they lost their previous two games and put a top three finish at risk. Six of those missing players return from suspension and the biggest of those will be Fornaroli, who will go straight back into the starting eleven up front. The likes of Cahill and Brandan will also be welcomed back with both have the ability to win games and with those players having a week’s rest behind them they could be fresh and even more dangerous this weekend.
Melbourne City haven’t won in three games and will be looking for all three points here to get them back to winning ways, but a long journey across the Tasman won’t be the ideal preparation. They’ve slipped 20 points behind leaders Sydney now and the title is out of their reach. The return of so many key players will give them a huge boost heading into the game but the defence still looks weaker without Jakobsen, with the back four vulnerable to being caught out of position, something which should lead to some caution within the side.
I recommend a bet on City +0.00 Asian Handicap at the odds of 1.70 at Pinnacle.
Perth Glory – Brisbane Roar
Perth Glory head into the game off the back of a fantastic 5-0 win over Adelaide United which would’ve increased confidence within the squad and solidified their place in the top 5. They’ll be looking to use that momentum to get a result from this game, with a win potentially lifting them above their opponents into 3rd place, giving them a big psychological edge heading into the final games. They will be a little stronger in defence with the return of both Lowry and Warren from injury. Neither are likely to return to the starting eleven this weekend, though they will bolster numbers and options for Kenny Lowe. Smiljanic has been released from his contract this week and has been allowed to pursue opportunities in Asia.
Brisbane Roar will field a much changed side against Perth Glory following the weakened team of last weekend caused by a fixture pile up. Despite this Roar were able to pick up a point at Melbourne City, a result which meant they were able to extend their unbeaten run to four games, remaining 7 points behind Melbourne Victory. Brown and Bowles have both picked up injuries which have ruled them out for a number of weeks, with Bowles season likely to be over. They join Hingert on the sidelines and whilst the defence still has quality within it, it will be much weaker in the full back positions and North and DeVere could have a lot of work to do to cover for their full backs.
Brisbane Roar will be feeling good coming into the game after a 2-2 draw with Melbourne City with a weakened squad. That results ensured they have gone four games without loss and meant they kept pace with Melbourne Victory above them, with a second place finish now the goal. Perth Glory will be full of confidence coming into the game after a huge 5-0 win over Adelaide United last weekend put them within one win of third place, something they could achieve with a win over current third place side Brisbane Roar here.
I recommend a bet on Over 3.00 goals at the odds of 1.95 at Pinnacle.