Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory | Saturday 8th August 2020, 08:00 | BT Sport
The Australian A-League is very much back up and running following the obvious lengthy delay, with every side in the league having played roughly three or four times since football resumed.
It is a jam-packed schedule to fit many matches in, so both Perth Glory and Melbourne Victory could be excused for being a little fatigued at this moment. They’ve only had a few days since their last match and both are in action again on the 12th.
The difference between these two however is that Perth Glory has something to play for as they’re very much in contention for the play-offs, and they could mathematically seal their spot in the end of season event with a positive outcome here. They’ve won two and lost two since coming back, and beating Western Sydney Wanderers last time realistically ensured a play-off spot as they’re one of the chasing pack.
Victory quite simple are ‘gone’. They have nothing left to play for and they are in horrific form. They’ve lost all three games since returning to action and whilst they are all by a one-goal margin, the reality is that the club in general is just lacking overall. They lost some key players during the lockdown period and haven’t been replaced. The lack of strength in depth in their squad is obvious by their subs bench in recent times.
Grant Brebner is in interim charge, so they’re lacking direction too without a permanent boss. In truth, they’ve not replaced the long-serving Kevin Muscat, who departed last year.
What had been a worry for the Glory is missing their star man Diego Castro, who decided against returning to action because of Covid-19 concerns. His absence does weaken the attack as although the Spanish veteran has just four league goals all season, he does offer real creativity and a spark in attack. They are however starting to get used to being without him, and their performance last time out reflected that.
Boss Tony Popovic will now want his visitors to build up some momentum ahead of a likely play-off campaign.
It is worth noting that only certain venues are being utilised in the A-League because of the pandemic, so this clash will be played at Jubilee Oval in Sydney, so there is no real home advantage for Perth Glory.
Nevertheless, I like the look of the Glory here, purely from a motivational factor alone. The Victory just want this season to end and there doesn’t appear to be much appetite to keep going for much longer. Perth have an agenda and having scored three in back-to-back matches it shows they can cope without Castro.
The recommended play is Perth Glory Win and Under 4.5 Goals at 1/1 (Betway). Only eight of 48 matches combined of these two outfits in this league campaign has witnessed five or more goals, and sometimes the Glory can be a little slow-starting in their games so I don’t envisage a high-scoring affair.
The Victory are usually good for a goal, and they’re rarely battered despite their poor form. Both clubs are in the bottom four in relation to shots on goal in the league, but Perth are much, much more clinical, which should decide this match.
Kawasaki v Oita | Saturday 8th August 2020, 11:00
Football in this part of the world has been back up and running for a decent period now as we’re already on the ninth matchday of the J1 League campaign.
Kawasaki Frontale are the early leaders at the top of the pile, which comes as no real surprise considering they’ve won the title twice in the last three seasons. They’ve five points clear and will expect to maintain that at the very least when they welcome Oita Trinita, who are in their second consecutive campaign at this level after a five season absence.
The writing does kind of already look to be on the wall in terms of the league title as Kawasaki are looking rather ominous. They sit top of the table, remain undefeated, are the top scorers and have conceded only six goals. It therefore comes as no shock to see them at a cramped odds-on shot to get another win under their belts on Saturday morning.
By all accounts, the final result shouldn’t be in doubt here as Oita are on a four match losing streak in J1 League action. They conceded 13 goals in the process within that run, and that included losing 4-1 at home to Kashima and 4-2 away at Shimizu, who are also both in the bottom half of the table. They’ve also never won away in Kawasaki, so there isn’t a great deal in their favour on paper.
Oita has the second-worst defensive record in the division, but they’re a little toothless in attack, as well. They’ve achieved the second-fewest amount of shots on goal in the league, but have the third-highest number of crosses and that suggests how set pieces are likely to be a big part of their offensive arsenal on this occasion.
Despite their dominance, Kawasaki only have two clean sheets to their name in all competitions since resuming action. They play a very neat and tidy passing game, but they can be slow-starters, and they are so offensively-minded that occasionally they’ll get caught out on the break. There is every chance Oita could score here, but I can’t confidently back BTTS knowing there is such a clear gulf in quality between the two.
One thing I have noticed whenever I have seen Kawasaki over the last few seasons is that they do end matches especially well. They’re the highest second-half scorers in the division with 12, but they’ll have to be wary of Oita too as they’re the joint-highest J1 League scorers after the 75th-minute.
In four of Kawasaki’s last five matches in all competitions they’ve scored two or more in the second half. Oita have shipped 2+ in their last three league encounters. Therefore, 8/5 (Betway) on Kawasaki Over 1.5 Second Half Goals is a cracking price all things considered. They may have to be patient breaking down a stubborn opponent, but once they do the floodgates could and should open.