Another week another round. As we are inching even closer to the end of the season, the matches just keep getting more and more tantalizing as each point counts from here on out. Right now I’m preparing for a weekend of Cygnet Folk Festival-ness, where I will be working in the ticket office, explaining to people “no you can’t get a ticket for just one gig, it’s a festival” and “I need to wrist band you here and now, you can’t do it later”. It’s looking likely I can manage the Sydney Derby, the festival doesn’t start until Friday so can work the roster to have time off, the rest of the games will be watched through weary eyes at a later time whilst dodging twitter. Never fear, there are phones with live streams, so Match Day Monday will still be of a quality to read aloud to your cat as it naps on you.
Anyway, here’s to this round of fixtures, may they be filled with the unexpected and crazy. Also I’m pretty certain there is a point in this rounds predictions where it is clear all I’m thinking of is food. I would apologize, but I think it’s better than mint biscuits so… here’s to predictions and food.
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sydney derby. Need I say more? Both sides will be going into this one like a thug. Sydney FC will be wanting to steal their way to fourth place right under the noses of City and Roar, like a thief in the night. Meanwhile the Wanderers will be coming into this like a thug intent on stopping a good thing of any Sydney side making this season’s top four from happening. It’s going to be mayhem and chaos, heavy challenges and flares. Both sides have key losses. Colaprico, who has been pulling the strings in the midfield for the Sky Blues, is out on international duty, while the Wanderers have Cooper out injured for the rest of the season, who has been the heart of the Wanderers defence for much of this season. Derbys are funny matches, where everything can happen. This one will be a contrast to the first match of the season, so unlikely to be a walkover for Sydney as that was. The Wanderers are going to put up a hell of a fight, however Sydney may well tip the balance with this one as they’re the team left with something to play for. If Sydney win this, they will jump up the table at least to fifth and potentially to fourth. If that isn’t as much of an incentive as chocolate cake after a “healthy” dinner, I’m not sure what is.
Prediction: Sydney FC 3 – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
Grab a cup of tea and biscuits, because it’s middle of the table battle time at the business end of the season. City are the side who get down to business at this point of the season, and to lose points two games on a trot would be uncharacteristic of the side so close to the end of the season. Meanwhile Roar are coming in as last season’s Premiers who are on the cusp of the finals cut offs. Both will be roaring to bite. Key to this game will be how the teams set up with their forwards. No doubt both sides are built off their solidity in the back. Sure there have been shaky moments at times with City, while the Roar look to have McCormick missing due to the release of an Adelaide Crows pre-season video with their defensive star part of the action, both sides have defences requiring magic to get through. For both sides having a strong, consistent centre forward has been a different issue this season. City have Simon out, and require Spencer, often on the wing, or Butt to take up the scoring duties. While Roar have stuck with Toby recently, however she looked hobbling in their last turn out. Whichever side can get the best of their forwards is going to win this. Personally, I’m banking on Toby being back in form and notching a winner. Whilst that’s where the game will be won, the reason you need your tea and biscuits will be to watch the delightful midfield battles and combinations both these teams will be throwing you. It’s going to be better than an English afternoon, high tea.
Prediction: Melbourne City 0 – 1 Brisbane Roar
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
How many times can a side be hit but still in the competition? That’s the Jets right now. Meanwhile Glory are running around, boxing glove fist in the air, looking for their next contender. The Jets have had some troubles, injuries to key players being brutal to the side, in addition to losing some key matches where there was the potential to win all the takings. Glory are looking the goods at this point in the season, Kerr and Hill have no trouble finding the back of the net, meanwhile Naughton is forming a solid partnership with Carroll in the back with Campbell in goal pulling in some stellar performances of late. Meanwhile, Eckerstrom is the last American standing for the Jets, and boy she is standing, or diving, or jumping or just generally doing anything to stop the ball from going into the back of the net. The Jets have some big boots to fill in Stengel, but if Vines can be fit, she might be able to make the shoes her own with a bit more opportunity. The last time the two met, the Jets started with three transitioning into a five backline. This looked the goods to contain Kerr and Hill, and the opportunity for the Jets to do something similar again has to be as tantalizing as eating pizza for breakfast. I enjoy an underdog, and Rocky movies seem popular with the whole underdog thing going too, so why not back the Jets in this one? Perth aren’t half the beast away from home as they are in the West, so the underdogs have half a chance surely.
Prediction: Newcastle Jets 2 – 1 Perth Glory
Canberra United v Adelaide United
Craziness can happen at McKellar Park, with Canberra looking twice the side they are at home compared to away from their fortress. However Adelaide are flying higher than a pan flipping pancake. The two sides philosophies contrast more than an apple and a mudcake. Canberra look super fluid in their formation, often looking likely to fly a player to places unknown as there appears to be such freedom in their movements between the lines. On the other side is Adelaide, who have built their side around stability, knowing exactly where each player ought to be at all times and shutting teams down due to this organisation. When the two mixed the last time, it was Adelaide’s organisation and threat upfront which was the difference. With their extra time come back against the Jets in their last outing, it’s difficult to bet against this side. However, Canberra will be itching to still hold onto the little bit of hope of scraping into the top four. Canberra will be missing O’Sullivan working as a midfield general against the combatant midfield of Adelaide, however Jane is quality there for them and will shield the defence, whilst players such as Price, Hughes and Flannery have all stepped up recently. As much as Adelaide don’t look likely to lose another game this season, Canberra also don’t look likely to drop many more points at home. They’ve got a real edge there that is difficult to come up against. Especially with Sykes likely coming off the bench. I can’t pick, it’s like picking which chocolate is your favourite. I’m on the fence. But there will be a couple banging goals.
Prediction: Canberra United 2 – 2 Adelaide United