Saturday, 20 December 2014

A-League Round 11 Preview

Newcastle United Jets v Adelaide United
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Friday, December 19
6.40 PM (AEST)

The newly crowned FFA Cup Champions didn’t have too much time to celebrate before hitting the road to take on a Jets team still struggling for their maiden win of the season. Newcastle have had the full week to prepare following a disappointing loss to a Perth Glory club in the midst of a salary cap scandal that could threaten to derail their most successful start to an A-League season. I feel Adelaide could suffer a Cup hangover and wouldn’t at all be surprised if a spirited Jets outfit chalk ups three points or at least a draw. #NEWvADL
Pick: Newcastle Jets (Draw No Bet)

Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory
AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday, December 20
6.30 PM (AEST)

Melbourne City are a team that have promised plenty but are yet to deliver the consistent form that had them in the mix for the top four at last season. The first Melbourne Derby in October saw the Victory dominate on the back of a Berisha hat-trick and an Archie Thompson brace. It would be easy to say this game will gift the Victory maximum points, but a Derby always has a habit of wiping the slate clean in terms of current form lines. I have a feeling this one could end with both teams sharing the points. #MelbDerby
Pick: Draw
Perth Glory v Central Coast Mariners
nib Stadium, Perth
Saturday, December 20
8.30 PM (AEST)

Perth return home following the bitter disappointment of Tuesday night’s FFA Cup final loss still fresh in their minds. The big question is can they turn their disappointment around and focus on maintaining their top position on the League ladder. There is little to get excited over with the Mariners and despite losing only five games from fourteen at nib stadium their form and price indicates the Glory should and will get the job done easily on Saturday night. #PERvCCM
Pick: Perth Glory H2H
Sydney FC v Wellington Phoenix
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sunday, December 21

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold will still be a little disappointed with the 3-3 draw on the road against the undefeated Victory. Both teams had chances in an intense and physical contest in front of a healthy Etihad crowd. The Phoenix struggled to convert plenty of chances against the Mariners in Auckland and will need to be on their game against the Sky Blues, who boast the best defence in the competition. With a record of only three wins, no draws and nine losses at Allianz it's hard to tip Wellington, even though they're already half way to equalling their total away wins from last season (4). #SYDvWEL
Pick: Sydney FC H2H

I’ll be on The TattsBet Brekky show @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire @Aleague season with my previews and reviews of every game.

James ‘Hamez’ Clark

Monday, 15 December 2014

FFA Cup Final (Adelaide United v Perth Glory)

Adelaide United v Perth Glory
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Tuesday December 16 
6:30pm (AEST) 2014

631 clubs from across the A-League and 22 qualified Federation members began the journey in April into the inaugural FFA Cup competition but only two remain.  Fans have embraced the romantic nature of the mid-week Cup concept ensuring the competition has a very bright future.

Adelaide United’s path to the final has been challenging since the A-League clubs entered the competition in the Round of 32.  Victories over Wellington Phoenix, Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and Central Mariners has them as clear favourites as they host the final at Coopers Stadium. Perth Glory are flying high atop the A-League ladder and put aside the huge travel burden to qualify for the final after disposing of the Newcastle Jets, St Albans Saints SC, Melbourne Victory and the very popular Bentleigh Greens in suburban Melbourne in November.

Despite the advantage of a home ground sell-out, I give Perth Glory a realistic chance of taking the Cup back across the Nullarbor at good odds. Match winners Andy Keogh and set piece specialist Nebojsa Marinkovic will be hoping they can help find the net first over the “Red” hot Adelaide striker Sergio Cirio. Cup football often throws up classic finishes so the ‘Method Of Victory’ (Extra time and Penalty Shoot-out) is always good value as the game moves beyond the 90min mark.
My Tip: Perth Glory H2H

I’ll be on The TattsBet Brekky show @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire @Aleague season with my previews and reviews of every game.

James ‘Hamez’ Clark

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A-League Round 10 Preview

Adelaide United v Brisbane Roar
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Friday, December 12
6.45 PM (AEST)

This is the Roar’s third game on the road in 10 days and they will be looking to bounce back following a disappointing effort against the struggling Melbourne City. This will be Matt Smith's last appearance in orange before he leaves the club for Thailand in what is the first player movement since the recent Mike Mulvey sacking debacle. The playing group will want to send the skipper out a winner, but the assignment could be a tall order against an Adelaide fresh from beating a Wanderers team which is now in Morocco for the World Club Cup match against Mexican powerhouse Cruz Azul. Roar will need to be on song for every single minute against the Reds, who so far are undefeated at the cosy and crowded Coopers Stadium. #ADLvBRI
Pick: Adelaide United (H2H)

Perth Glory v Newcastle United Jets
nib Stadium, Perth
Friday, December 12
8.45 PM (AEST)

Perth Glory are going from strength to strength this season and return home after derailing Sydney FC’s unbeaten record. A Friday night game should suit the boys from the west as they prepare for next Wednesday night’s inaugural FFA Cup Final against Adelaide. Very difficult to see the winless Jets troubling the league leaders in this one, and if Irish import Andy Keogh has his way, then the Jets could be preparing for a long lonely red-eye flight home back to Hunter Stadium. #PERvNEW
Pick: Perth Glory (H2H). Andy Keogh (Glory) to score the first goal is good value ($5.00)

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners
Eden Park, Auckland
Saturday, December 13
2.00 PM (AEST)

Wellington Phoenix are a side relishing their football, particularly away from the comforts of the ‘Cake Tin’ in Wellington. Coach Ernie Merrick has instilled loads of self-belief in his playing group and it shows as they punch well above their weight on the A-League ladder (5th). Often labelled as pre-season wooden spoon favourites, the Nix are now a feared commodity at home and away, with players such as Nathan Burns, Roy Krishna and Roly Bonevacia all making an impact. The Mariners have already lost to Phoenix in Gosford this season in Round 2 and should find the task of stealing the three points at Eden Park in Auckland a very tough road assignment. #WELvCCM
Pick: Wellington Phoenix (H2H)

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC A-League
AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday, December 13
6.30 PM (AEST)

This match-up promises to be another arm wrestle that sadly delivered a 0-0 draw last time they met in Round 6. The Victory are the only undefeated team remaining in the A-League and Kevin Muscat will be hoping that continues. Graham Arnold is the ultimate in preparing a team for big occasions and will be engaging his softly spoken, smiling assassin approach to pre-game media opportunities in a bid to derail the confidence of the Victory. This should be a classic clash and expect plenty of feeling between two very competitive outfits.
Pick: Melbourne Victory (Draw No Bet). Red Card ($3.80) or a Penalty ($3.15)
is always worth a look in these games with plenty of feeling.

I’ll be on @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire A-league season with my previews and reviews of every game.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A-League Round 9 Preview

Sydney FC v Perth Glory
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Thursday, December 04
6.30 PM (AEST)

League leaders Perth Glory continue their road trip after sharing the points at Suncorp Stadium with Brisbane Roar. They have their work cut out against a Sydney side boasting the best defensive record, only leaking five goals in eight games so far this season. Perth are brimming with self belief under the relaxed Kenny Lowe management style and another Glory win mean the teams outside the top four would have little hope in the Premiership race. With only one loss away from nib, the Glory are again at super H2H odds and I give them a realistic chance to steal the three points from the rock solid Sky Blues at Allianz.
Pick: Perth Glory (H2H) or Perth Glory Draw No Bet is also good value

Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne Victory
North Sydney Oval, Sydney
Friday, December 05
6.40 PM (AEST)

The Mariner’s problems aren’t just limited to the pitch this season, with some major board member issues shifting the focus off the team in the news this week. The club has moved the game from their picturesque Gosford surrounds to North Sydney Oval in a bid to target some new city members. I’m rather skeptical the experiment will pay dividends against a red-hot undefeated Victory outfit. Central Coast has the worst attacking record in the league and host a Victory side boasting the best attack with an incredible 18 goals from 8 outings. The previous two meetings have seen Kevin Muscat’s men prevail 3-1 and I can’t see that trend turning around anytime soon.
Pick: Melbourne Victory H2H or Melbourne Victory Correct Score 3-1 

Newcastle United Jets v Sydney FC
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Saturday, December 06
4.00 PM (AEST)

The Wellington Phoenix are soaring this season and would still be buzzing following their 5-1 demolition of Melbourne City at the Cake Tin last Sunday. The last two A-League games between these sides have seen 10 goals hit the net in very one-sided affairs. Despite the Jets playing on their home patch, I think winning form is good form and it will be difficult to go past the Phoenix to get the three points. However, it could be a tight affair as the market suggests.
Pick: Wellington Phoenix (Draw No Bet)

Adelaide United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Saturday, December 06
6.30 PM (AEST)

Adelaide are the entertainers this season and meet a Wanderers outfit quit remarkably searching for their first win of the season. The last time the Wanderers defeated United in the League was back in November 2013, and given their impeding travel commitments to Morocco for the FIFA Club World Cup, this could be tough ask to get up for. A healthy Adelaide crowd will be on hand to watch their team bounce back from their first loss of the season last week against the high-flying Melbourne Victory. I think the record at home, coupled with the Wanderer’s woes, will deliver the three points to the Reds.
Pick: Adelaide United H2H
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sunday, December 07

Melbourne City will attempt to bounce back from a demoralising 5-1 loss to a spirited Wellington side. The big concern for coach John van’t Schip is the lack of ‘Heart’ (pardon the pun!) shown by his side after conceding the first goal. The Brisbane Roar are building in confidence with the ball, despite losing their classy German creative mid-fielder Thomas Broich. Mid-week, the champs kept the struggling Wanderers scoreless to their first win at Wanderland. Roar’s record at AAMI Park is mixed, with only two wins from nine trips to the venue. However, a galvanising performance on Wednesday night has them back in the six, and I reckon they can sneak another important away win against a hemorrhaging City outfit.
Pick: Brisbane Roar (Draw No Bet)

I’ll be on The TattsBet Brekky show @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire @Aleague season with my previews and reviews of every game for @tatts_sports. link: 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Desperate Grand Final Re-match (Round 4)

Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar 
Pirtek Stadium
Wednesday, December 03
6.30 PM (AEST)
Not many pundits before the season would have predicted the two grand finalists would be wallowing in 8th and 10th position respectively. The Roar’s problems have been well documented following the early season sacking of their award winning coach Mike Mulvey, but only now is the heat being turned up on ACL winning coach Tony Popovic, still searching for his club’s first win after seven games. There’s never too much separating the two sides as evidenced by the nail-biting added time win in the Grand Final. Since last season's decider, the next outings ended in 1-1 draws, and given both teams low goal-scoring stats of late, I’m predicting the trend to continue on Wednesday night at Pirtek Stadium.
 Pick: Draw or some extra value "Correct Score' of 1-1 is tempting

I’ll be on The TattsBet Brekky show @tattsbetbrekky every Friday and Monday morning around 7:45am AEST over the course of the entire @Aleague season with my previews and reviews of every game.