Perth Glory v Melbourne Victory | Saturday 1st February 2020, 08:45 | BT Sport
The Australian A-League continues this weekend and Perth Glory against Melbourne Victory is always the type of fixture that catches the eye. These are two of the more successful clubs in the existence of the league, and both will have harboured strong ambitions in pre-season of mounting a challenge this time around.
It was feared that Perth Glory would be unable to do that after a sluggish start to the season, which saw them fail to win six of their opening seven matches, however they have not looked back since. In the seven corresponding fixtures after this, they’ve gone unbeaten and won six of those. The only minor blemish was a draw away to Melbourne City last time out, but City are second in the table.
‘The Glory’, who are managed by former Crystal Palace defender Tony Popovic, are definitely one of the form teams in the division, with runaway league leaders Sydney topping that respective table as well.
Perth also managed to win their previous three at home, outscoring their opponents 11-2 in the process. They also hold the best defensive record in the league, and they have a way of playing on the counter attack which makes them a big threat.
Victory were managed by club legend and former Millwall hard-nut Kevin Muscat for over six years, having served as a player for many years prior to that. Marco Kurz was his replacement, but he would last around six months and departed a few weeks ago, a decision which surprised many and was deemed something of a mystery.
This off-field unrest won’t help matters, although the Melbourne outfit actually won their last two in AFC Champions League action versus Bali United and Kashima Antlers.
The worry is that juggling this along with the league has proved something of a challenge for Australian clubs over the years and Victory are suffering those kind of issues now. After beating Bali 5-0, they then lost their next game 3-0. They travelled to Japan in midweek and now have to come back and travel to Perth for a tough game.
Everything about this says absolute fade Melbourne Victory on this occasion, because they will be very, very tired. They were 8/1 to win in Kashima, so that highlights the physical effort they’ve put in, even more so when without the ball for long periods.
We just have to find a way of getting Glory on our side and a home win and Over 1.5 Goals is a nice way of doing so. It is priced at 1/1 (Coral), and 11 of their 14 league games this season has contained at least two goals within them.
The form guide also gives them a major edge, plus a motivational factor as Victory have generally had the better in the head-to-head in recent times, but after their efforts and excursions of midweek we just cannot back them.
ADO Den Haag v Vitesse | Saturday 1st February 2020, 17:30
ADO Den Haag have Alan Pardew and Chris Powell on the coaching staff these days so there has been obvious additional interest in the club from a greater audience outside of the Netherlands. Eredivisie is a league I’ve taken an interest in for some time, but I’ve taken extra interest in ADO to see if ‘Pards’ can work his magic. One win and one defeat is his record so far, and they remain second from bottom.
The former Newcastle boss has added a few new faces to the club considering he took over during the winter break and the transfer window is currently open.
ADO faced bottom side Waalwijk first time up and got a much-needed 2-0 up, in what wasn’t necessarily a convincing display. They were happy to sit back at home and concede upwards of 60% possession, and scored via a counter and a very late free-kick. Then Utrecht smashed them 4-0 in one of the most one-sided matches in recent memory.
The concern therefore for Pardew is how to set his team up moving forward to make them a further threat in attack and stronger defensively. Vitesse are certainly one of the better sides in this division, albeit not to the level of an Ajax, so Pardew and Powell will have to work hard on the training ground to put together a tactical masterclass.
Vitesse are a team that generally always flirts in and around the Europa League qualification spots and they are currently in sixth. They’ve responded well since the winter break having beat Sittard away 3-1 and also progressed in the cup when winning away at Heracles in comfortable fashion.
A home draw to lowly Emmen last time out is probably why the visitors won’t threaten the top two positions, as they do tend to throw in results of that nature from time-to-time.
The good thing for Vitesse however is that they’ve won their last two away in the league, scoring three goals on each occasion. That was also against much stronger opposition compared to ADO, who really are still adjusted to life under new management. Vitesse haven’t had their own new man for that long either, with Edward Sturing only being in the job permanently for a few weeks. He has made an impression, and a good one.
My worry for ADO is going to be scoring goals and that is one of the reasons why they’ve found life tough this season. The issue seems to be if Tomas Necid doesn’t score then nobody will. He is their top scorer with six, but he started the last game on the bench, which suggests Pardew is not all that convinced with him.
Expect the home team to play another defensive game here, but they are quite limited in possession themselves and Vitesse has handled these type of tests well in recent times.
Vitesse has played the current bottom-six teams eight times already this season and won seven of those. ADO did actually win away in Vitesse earlier in the season after blitzing into a 2-0 lead inside six-minutes. That was all the way back in October though and both teams have changed manager since then.
The players may remember that so Vitesse could take some anger out on ADO, and a price of 107/100 (Marathon) on an away win is far too good to refuse.