Welcome to Round 5, where the games are unpredictable and the points don’t matter. Things are looking tight all over the league despite teams now having 3-4 games under their belt. It doesn’t matter what a team’s form is or how many goals they’ve scored at this point, unless you’re the Wanderers meaning you’ve scored none in four. All ideas of stats are forgotten the moment a game kicks off in this league and honestly it’s where the wild things are. This round looks no different.
Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
At times this season both these teams have made me want to hit my head against a brick wall. Not in the sense they’ve been awful, but that they both have the potential for so much more in terms of attacking quality. Jury is still out, but my money’s on the side where neither side have truly hit those top gears to truly terrify opponents, which both have within their armoury. A struggle for both sides has been how to get their centre forwards scoring, as they’re playing some flaming quality football without the final product. It’s a bit like getting tomato sauce out of the bottle sometimes where a couple extra pats are needed for a sudden flurry of sauce. Whichever side finds a bit of something extra, will probably find a glut of goals from those key forwards. If nothing is found, the two sides go into this on fairly even pegging on form, not too much to split them and both appear to be overly fond of a 1-0 scoreline. Brisbane losing two games on a trot though seems an unlikely thing.
Prediction: Newcastle Jets 0 – 1 Brisbane Roar
Melbourne City v Adelaide United
A tale of two different seasons. With City’s recruitment, despite the missing Fishlock, they remained favourites to kick off the season well. Meanwhile Adelaide flew under the radar, picked up some handy players and retained some key locals. Whilst Adelaide have found the swing of things, City have struggled for consistency and are under threat from the counter attack. Since the bye, Adelaide have attacked games with a solid, smart game plan, with its implementation key to their early season success. It would only take Adelaide sticking to their game plan to find some success against the Melbourne side, meaning when in possession playing smart clever passes and moving up the field with urgency to find the goals on the counter, while remaining compact and disciplined without the ball. To combat this, City will need to figure out how to handle counter attacks, which they appeared to be more lost in their ability to deal with the quick break than I am searching for an outfit to wear when required to “dress-up”. City’s advantage here is they are much like an older sibling who always has some advantage over their younger ones. No matter how much stronger the younger gets, the older one will still claim bragging rights and know what it takes to win, much like City know what it takes to get a result from these games.
Prediction: Melbourne City 0 – 1 Adelaide United (Because I’m backing the younger sibling this once, don’t tell my younger brothers)
Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Now we turn to the unbeaten up against the well and truly beaten of the competition. If the teams were eggs, I’d be backing the Wanderers because they would be well and truly scrambled by now and perhaps even turned into a cake. However this is football, not food. Meaning, you’d be a mad to not back Victory. They’re a side currently in a very shiny patch of form, where everything is falling mint for their forwards in finding the back of the net and in the back, they’re looking pretty tight too. For the Wanderers the mint room has gone AWOL and the side would probably still struggle to find a goal if the posts were switched out with the spacious AFL version. Having said that, anything goes. The Wanderers have just been missing out on that luck in key moments, which is a massive blow to their confidence. To be considered here also is how Victory will play without the underdog tag. Their two big wins over Sydney and City all came from the underdog tag, meanwhile going in favourite might shift things slightly. For the Wanderers, what better way to fling off that goal scoring monkey by getting goals and points against the league leaders? Still, this game has to be Victory’s to lose, they’ve just got the form and talent to not screw this up.
Prediction: Melbourne Victory 3 – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Canberra United v Sydney FC
Seriously for the start of the season, this is the first fixture I circle on the list. There have been some absolute classics, that have left me both over the moon and down in the dumps. Neither side can come into this one claiming the upper hand on results, both teams getting results far off the mark from where they would’ve been wishing to be preseason. However, looking at the two sides based on form on the pitch there can be contrasts and possibly a favourite drawn. Sydney look to be the most coherent with the ball and going forward. They’ve held possession well in considerable patches during the matches they’ve lost, have had plenty of direction in going forward, but have just come up short in outscoring their opponent. Where Sydney have lost the game, has been their lack of continuity and overall strength during the game in defence. With Kennedy missing but now back and a bit of shuffling, if they can figure out how to batten the hatches, their form could well change. For Canberra it has been a hard couple games slog away from home against deep lying defences. This is where Canberra come in with an advantage with this game. If they can work the counters against Sydney and their usual high line, then the green team may well find their goalscoring boots once again. With the current “football philosophy” of the Canberra club, it’s difficult to see them not concede goals if they don’t find that defensive structure off the ball. But does that matter if you can outscore your opponent?
Prediction: Canberra United 3 – 4 Sydney FC