A-LEAGUE nut Will Dyer (@W2Dyer) has taken his expert eye to the weekend’s play-off action from Down Under.
Adelaide United v Melbourne City | Friday 10.35 | BT Sport Europe
Adelaide were crowned Premier Plate winners two weeks ago but, similar to MLS, they must now enter a knockout competition in order to win the A-League.
The Reds were rewarded with a bye to the semi-finals for finishing first and they also get to host the one-off game.
The regular season winning game for the Reds was in fact against their opposition here, Melbourne City, and I’m inclined to believe that City won’t have learnt their lesson.
Melbourne City got past Perth Glory with relative ease in the quarter-final thanks to another double from the A-League’s runaway top scorer this season; Bruno Fornaroli, which included a daring bicycle-kick.
The visitors may have scored almost 20 goals more than any other team in 2015/16 but they are facing the league’s best defence by some margin and they’ve recorded just one win in their last seven away games. However, that win was against Adelaide United and they even kept a clean sheet.
City have actually won both of their two visits to South Australia this season but the first win came way back in November when Adelaide hadn’t got going at all.
Since then though, United have improved on their shot conversion statistics and bucked the trend for the A-League’s renowned leaky defences; in fact they’ve kept clean sheets in six of their last eight.
I’ve raved about the Latin midfield trio of Marcelo Carrusca, Sergo Cirio and Isaias more times than I care to mention and I’m confident their midfield play combined with the athleticism of Bruce D’jite will find them a way past Thomas Sorenson.
Adelaide to win ‘to nil’ is what first appeals to me. It’s certainly not a banker though; City have scored in 13 consecutive A-League away games and 10 of their last 11 road defeats saw both teams score.
However, I’m really impressed by the Reds backline and five of the last six A-League play-off semi-finals resulted in a home win with a clean sheet.
City are without 10-goal Frenchman Harry Novillo who is suspended for this match and I think he’ll be sorely missed and they are also not as well rested as the hosts.
Knockout football is a funny thing and I’m anticipating a pretty straight forward win at Cooper’s Stadium with the win ‘to nil’ 14/5 with BetVictor.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar | Sunday 08.00 | BT Sport 1
These two sides finished level on 48 points in the regular season, both with a W14-D6-L7 record but a whopping 35 of Brisbane’s points came at home; they are much less competitive outside of Queensland.
Western Sydney’s defence is a fair bit stronger than Brisbane’s too. Jade North is on the decline after a long career in the game that started at Brisbane Strikers way back in 1998. Prior to their clean sheet against Melbourne Victory the Roar had conceded 17 goals in their last five away outings.
These teams have plenty of history in deciders.
Roar beat Wanderers 2-1 in the Grand Final in 2013/14. The Brisbane side have won more finals game than any other A-League team, 11, including seven of their last nine but John Aloisi’s team travel to Wanderland with the hosts in good nick with a W8-D2-L2 record in their last 12 since losing to the Roar on opening day.
The last four league meetings between these teams have generated a whopping 17 goals at an average of 4.25 goals-per-game. Both teams are at full strength with no injuries to report and both have prolific strike-forces to call upon.
Jamie Maclaren has 18 goals in his breakout season whilst Mark Bridge, Brendon Santalab and Mitch Nichols have all bagged nine or more for WSW in 2015/16.
I’m expecting this to be a goal-fest but I’m pretty confident that most of those goals will go to the Wanderers so I’m pushing the boat out with a stab at the 18/5 available for Western Sydney to win and Over 3.5 goals in the game with Betway.
Adelaide United v Melbourne City – Adelaide to win ‘to nil’ (14/5 BetVictor)
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar – Western Sydney to win and Over 3.5 goals (18/5 Betway)
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