We’re BACK, it’s derby week and there’s little chance of this dropping on Thursday, but given Matildas matches and no Hersday W-League action, I hope you all forgive me.
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Intrigue. This one is full of intrigue. Will Sydney bounce back from their thrashing at the hands of their cross-town rivals? Will the Wanderers find the blistering early season form? But perhaps the biggest question that will dictate the outcome is who will win the midfield? Last time out, Polias was restricted in the way a no-sugar diet restricts chocolate consumption, to leave everyone feeling miserable. While the quality of O’Sullivan was a game changer, who is unavailable this time out.
Can Mastrantonio and likely Cooper (with Harrison seemingly replacing injured captain Halloway as fullback) control the midfield without their Irish buddy? Or will Polias be given the freedom to dictate play, with the support of either Sydney youngsters in Sayer or Ray who are both returning from injury.
Purely based on Sydney looking to have the depth to deal with the losses of key players, compared to the Wanderers, Sydney could well return to being Sky Blue.
Prediction: Sydney FC 3 – 1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
This is quite possibly the match where the reigning premiers hand over their title to the soon to be, freshly minted premiers. City looks unstoppable and while mathematically it might not yet be sealed, they essentially have silverware in the bag with the same certainty pasta nights happen at least once a week in my household.
Short turnovers could be a killer for City. However look at their depth, even without the firepower of Matildas stars they still have the quality to challenge any team. Backing up after international matches, with a crunch match against the Wanderers next Thursday, might force some changes to their winning formula. But the confidence and experience in the squad should keep the ship steady.
For Victory, it’s a case of will they be bold enough to stick with three in defence and stacking the midfield against City. If they do, expect the middle of the park to be more packed than a kid adding toppings to a homemade pizza. It could bring some chaos, and if they can disrupt the rhythm and play of City in this area, Victory could well turn the tables with a surprise result.
Prediction: Melbourne Victory 1 – 4 Melbourne City
Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar
It’s been a long time between drinks for Brisbane. Will this time off provide solutions for the gap Raso has left in the squad? Will Perth be able to build off the momentum from their ridiculous match against the Jets?
All eyes will be on the youth in this contest. For Brisbane it’ll be whether the likes of Palmer, Toby or Margarf can step up. Particularly when considering Kellond-Knight is backing up from a match against China, while Gorry has also been in camp and had considerable minutes over the past week. All season Perth have heavily relied on youth, with McKenna a staple, solid performer and Lowry shining last time out. This match would make excellent scouting for anyone interested in players who could step up into the Matildas squad over the next five years.
Home advantage in Perth is significant. However, having something to play for is probably more so. The match provides a potential six pointer for Brisbane, with Victory facing a difficult task against City to keep the pace. Defences may well win out ultimately in this match up, but nil all draws in the W-League is a rarity. Gee I hope I’m wrong though and the kids from either team can all score a bucket load of goals.
Prediction: Perth Glory 0 – 1 Brisbane Roar
Canberra United v Adelaide United
Both sides have shown tremendous potential at points this season, but like a fledgling stir fry with a couple wrong ingredients it’s all fallen apart at the seams and a matter of what could have been. A sticking point for both clubs has been lapses in concentration in defence. This achilles heel has been a killer all season long.
It’ll be all about the emotions for Canberra. It’ll be the final home match for Heather Garriock. Expect the McKellar crowd to really get behind the team, and for Adelaide to be welcomed with a hostile crowd. Purely for the sentimental touch, and the atmosphere, this is the match the Canberra youngsters and faithful really step up and do Garriock proud. However, disappointingly, they will play out the rest of the season without Camila, who returns overseas due to injury.
Adelaide has been this season’s wildcard. Pulling out wonderful games one week, then miserable the next. If they’re able to play the three back that saw such success against the Wanderers, while capitalising in midfield, they could earn vital points. However, another case of playing for something. On paper, neither team are playing for much, but the pure emotion of Garriock’s last match could take Canberra over the line.
Prediction: Canberra United 1 – 0 Adelaide United