No longer can we say “early season jitters”. Round 7 marks the time we get to begin sentences with “midseason form”, and I’m flaming excited for this. Teams can, and have, placed blame of slip ups and poor form on the beginning of the season. But now, gone is that excuse. It’s crunch time. Either your team has gelled and you’re happy or it’s time to be scratching at the bottom of the barrel hoping for a change of fortune. The early season jitters have gifted us with a table that is excruciatingly tight, where each game has bearing on the others. It’s beautiful chaos.
Anyway, this weekend we’ve got three games, with three teams taking the well deserved rest a bye brings. Guess which lucky bugger is going to watch two of the three games live? ME! Super stoked, it’s going to be brilliant and I can’t wait to tell you some stories come Match Day Monday. But for now, here’s everything you need to know heading into this round.
Sydney FC v Adelaide United – Thursday 7.30pm A week ago I would be writing something totally different than today. A week ago Adelaide’s defence hadn’t been breached from open play, whilst Sydney were on struggle street. Since, Adelaide remain undefeated, but Kerr smashed through their defence like a Labrador smashes through an unattended plate of food. For Sydney, they’ve figured out a how to click upfront, and in return scored 4 goals in thirty minutes against a very good defence. Adelaide’s approach to this match won’t be to upset the status quo, as I’m expecting a repeat performance of how they’ve set up all season. They’ll be compact, hard working without the ball, whilst relying on Heyman and Latsko to be doing a lot upfront on the counter. Question is can they remain strong enough with this structure to win a game against a Sydney forward line who will be flying with confidence from last weekend? My hunch is no. Sydney have had their struggles, but with the boost of confidence a 5-1 victory gives and more cohesion going forward, they may well have Adelaide’s number. Key to Sydney’s attack here will be their use of the flanks and getting crosses in. Adelaide are brilliant at defending direct play, but dealing with a deep cross, coming in hot gives Sydney the edge for me here. Let’s not think of the mass of Sydney’s crosses that have been wasteful this season.
Prediction: Sydney FC 4 – 2 Adelaide United
Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets – Saturday 10pmNo one has stopped the Hill/Kerr combo yet, and honestly it’ll probably take the Jets finding a space martian who can form a brick wall in front of goal to stop them. So if the Jets can’t keep Perth from scoring, the Jets are going to have to go into this one with plenty of shooting practice under their sleeves, because they’re going to need to outscore them. Perth’s front line is fire right now, and whilst their defence isn’t exactly one to write home about, they’ve been able to score enough to bandaid any problems at the back. Meanwhile for the Jets it’s been a bit topsy turvy so far. They’ve yet to really reach the dizzying heights they would’ve been hoping for preseason, especially with some chops and changes to important areas on the field they’ve undergone during this first half of the season. For the Jets it will be important for them to get Wright back into the side from injury and figure out what works in the back four and to set that in stone. If the Jets can put out their best 11 out they’re in with a chance. But for Perth, they’ve got to go into this in the driver’s seat. Sure, they will be kicking themselves they didn’t get a win last round when it was up for grabs, but they’re at home here and are a side looking to grow from week to week. Last time they were at home, Perth totally demolished City by using the counter. Adelaide limited Perth’s chances to counter attack, the Jets may not be as effective as Adelaide on this count. As long as Perth get a whiff of a counter attack, they’ll have this comfortably.
Prediction: Perth Glory 3 – 1 Newcastle Jets
Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory – Sunday 4pmNever back against a good side who are licking their wounds from a hefty defeat. Then again, never back against a good side who are in a rich patch of form either. These are the reasons this game has been a struggle for me all week to suss out the winner. This will be your midfield battle of the round honestly. The likes of Gorry and Yuki meeting Weatherholt, Nairn and Maher is bound to produce a delightful spectacle, and one I’m full of anticipation to watch. Pulling the teams apart to defence, midfield and attack can give a hint to who might hold the edge here. Both sides have good, solid defences. Roar conceded 5 last innings, it’s very unlikely they will do so again anytime soon, meanwhile Victory haven’t conceded a glut of goals this season and look comfortable playing out from the back. The midfields look evenly matched and a blockbuster. However it’s in attack where, for me, the Roar come undone. Victory have Dowie and Gielnik, both in firing form this season. Meanwhile Roar haven’t favoured putting an out and out centre forward in that number 9 role, however last round they did have Toby there, and they looked a hell of a lot better for it. Whilst Toby is no Dowie, she could hold the key to unleashing the potential Roar have in going forward. Still on paper, Victory have it. But it’s a home game, and paper is rubbish sometimes, so I’m going to stick to a fairly even game, probably low scoring and potentially a draw yeah.
Prediction: Brisbane Roar 1 – 1 Melbourne Victory.