Round 12, round 12, round 12. Everyone repeat after me, “by round 12 we should have an inkling of who will make the top four”. Alas, we have arrived to the middle of January without the foggiest clue, with no team in the top four locking in a spot and with chaos and mayhem the only true consistent winner this season. As with the last eleven rounds, round 12 is a doosey waiting to happen. And I’m so excited.
Canberra United v Melbourne Victory
Any way this game goes, we are in for a treat. Victory will be looking to dominate in the midfield, in an inverse game of piggy in the middle, the quality of Nairn, Weatherholt and either Mastrantonio or Maher is just simply magic and will likely outplay their opponents lacking their trusty commander Jane in the middle. Meanwhile Canberra will be pinging to avoid that area, likely to transition quickly off the flanks with the likes of Roestbakken to supply whoever plays at number 9 for Canberra, that likely being Sykes with her first match of the season given the international absences. The potential for this game to be a frustrating night for centre forwards is comparative to the cooking of popcorn in a microwave and trying not to burn it. If Dowie can’t find the space around the top of the line with Canberra’s three backs, and is then isolated from Gielnik, it’ll be a long day in the office for the Englishwoman. Meanwhile, Canberra have been a side lamenting their lack of an out and out centre forward, add on the missing Mulaudzi and they may again struggle to score. This game is one I really hope the centre backs rule the roost. There’s quality in Corsie and Alleway, so grab the popcorn (that is probably a bit burnt) and enjoy a masterclass in keeping forwards at bay.
Prediction: Canberra United 0 – 0 Melbourne Victory
Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Both teams will be bringing desperation into this game, but for two completely different reasons. For the Wanderers it’s to avoid embarrassment of being a side to have not won a game this season, for Adelaide it will be to get their maiden fourth place finish back on track. The two sides have contrasting philosophies of play. Adelaide have come out this season as a well structured unit, who are hard to break down and quick on the counter with the lethal Latsko scoring for fun. For the Wanderers it’s all been a bit of a mess, this deep into the season they still don’t fully look a side comfortable with the formation set on the sheet of paper. They are looking better back at 4-4-2 with Halloway and Yeoman-Dale providing pace down the flanks, still it’s not fully clicked the way it perhaps ought to. The Wanderers already fighting an uphill battle of purely mentally being winless, add on playing in Adelaide and it’s going to be a tough task. If the Wanderers want to be in this, they will need to capitalise on Adelaide being slow starters for a lot of this season. However, if Adelaide remain steady, not succumbing to the early chaos the Wanderers often bring to a match, this should be a routine win for the home side.
Prediction: Adelaide 3-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Most games I look at without thinking about what my heart wants. This game isn’t particularly one of them. It’s a six pointer game for both of these sides. And I want Sydney to have it. Whilst it’s my heart that is picking the winner, I shall now back it up with what my head is saying. Neither side have their ideal midfield. Sydney to international duty with Colaprico being out, and Roar to Gorry being injured. Don’t get me wrong, both sides still have solid midfields, but this isn’t going to be the captivating part of this battle. The captivating part of this match will be Sydney’s attack against Brisbane’s defence. Despite results, Sydney have had one very clear motive for every game they’ve entered… ATTACK. Meanwhile the battle weary Roar have just shown they can keep an attacking side at bay with their win against City last round. Yes I see Sydney may lack in a creator to feed their forwards, however after seeing Foord’s no nonsense solo goal and Huerta doing something quite similar prior, I just can’t see Sydney not scoring. Meanwhile up the other end, Roar have struggled with goalscorers. Kennedy will be expected to deal with Toby neatly and so long as Polias is on her game and can keep Nagasato away from shooting range, Roar don’t have too many other options going forward. All in all, it’s gonna be Foord grabbing the game by the scruff of the net and demanding her side wins. I can’t wait.
Prediction: Brisbane Roar 0 – 2 Sydney FC
Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets
There’s got to be an upset on the cards here. The Jets will be flying high after their win against Perth, and so they should. Meanwhile it’s still frustration station for City, who can dominate matches better than dominos pizza at a teenagers party, but still struggling to find the back of the net. I’ve got theories on how City can capitalise more upfront, however it looks unlikely they will rewrite the script, instead hoping to make a super, super late signing to bring in the goals. For Newcastle, they looked super solid with a back three. It changed how they looked in defence and freed up their fullback to utilize the flanks, thus giving support to their forwards. If they can come out with something looking like a 3-4-3, then they will really be able to create problems for City. City will be wanting to use their players in the centre, however the Jets will be able to lock City out with their back three and middle two midfielders. It won’t all be smooth sailing for the Jets in the slightest, don’t be fooled, they’re still very much the underdog. It’s just that their new formation is a game changer for the side, and with a bit of confidence from last rounds win, and City still licking wounds of a two game losing streak, the Jets could very well pull the wool over everyone’s eyes again and get a win. Remember, I said it first yeah.
Prediction: Melbourne City 1 – 2 Newcastle Jets