Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A-League Round 7 Preview



Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Friday, November 21
6.40 PM (AEST)
The Roar finally broke their season duck as the coaching blowtorch on Mike Mulvey was eased down a degree or two (for a week at least). The reigning Premiers have a demanding schedule ahead until Christmas, beginning with the undefeated Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium. Kevin Muscat will have last year’s semi-final disappointment at Suncorp still fresh in his memory and will be looking for redemption. It was Besart Berisha who spoiled the party that night for the Victory, but against his former club he will be aiming to replicate what he did so often to opposition clubs in his more familiar orange shirt. Don’t be surprised if he is the first on the score sheet.
Pick: Melbourne Victory (Draw No Bet), Besart Berisha always a good choice in the "1st Goal Scorer" market
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
nib Stadium, Perth
Friday, November 21
8.45 PM (AEST)
The ‘Glory Days’ have returned to the west and so have the crowds. A tough win over an inexperienced and committed Wanderers highlighted Glory’s ability to bounce back from a huge travel schedule that could now be a thing of the past. The two teams met in Round 1 for the opening “Distance Derby” and it was Perth prevailing courtesy of a late Jamie McLaren winner. Wellington has exceeded expectations by playing an attractive brand this season with three wins from six starts. They were very unlucky not to share the points with Adelaide at Coopers last weekend after a late winner to Sergio Cirio.
Pick: Draw
Western Sydney Wanderers v Newcastle Jets
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Sat, November 22
4.00 PM (AEST)
The realities of the Wanderers' Asian Champions League win are starting to hit home as the club looks to replenish its points' drought on the A-League ladder. After a mid-week rescheduled Round 3 draw at home to the Mariners, the Wanderers take on a Jets team struggling to find form, and holding the mantle of the worst defensive record in the League. I think the Wanderers will be ruthless against a Jets team lacking in attacking potency, despite having the Argentine duo of Jerónimo Neumann and Marcos Flores on their roster.
Pick: WSW (H2H)
Melbourne City v Sydney FC
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sat, November 22
6.30 PM (AEST)
Melbourne City fans left AAMI Park last Sunday disappointed in sharing the points with the Mariners who played right to the final whistle. City looked the better for most of what was a skilful and entertaining arm-wrestle between the sides. City take on a Sky Blues team that have been a fortress at the back so far this season recording fourth clean sheets in as many weeks. Aaron Mooy’s return from Socceroos duties will be a big boost to City, but Sydney’s superior defensive record should be enough to see them get the three points.
Pick: Sydney FC (H2H), but good value in (Draw No Bet) given their unbeaten record this season

Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Sunday, November 23
4 PM (AEST)
Mid-week, the Mariners again battled out a hard fought draw against the Wanderers, who have finally registered their first point of the season. An attacking Adelaide will be a much tougher proposition adding to the fatigue of playing in another mid week fixture. The Reds have an appalling record in Gosford over the past ten seasons, losing 10 times in 13 attempts and only sharing the points on one occasion. This is a much more confident Adelaide team on the road under Gombau, but never underestimate the gritty determination of the Mariners to upset the rhythm of any side in the competition. The record in the shadows of the palm trees at Gosford does worry me, so I’ll look to hedge my bet if the Mariners can rally for their third draw in a week
Pick: Adelaide United (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.

James ‘Hamez’ Clark

Monday, 17 November 2014

A-League Round 3 -Rescheduled match

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners

Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Wednesday, November 19
6.30 PM (AEST)

Surprisingly the Wanderers are one of just two clubs (Newcastle Jets) yet to record a win this season. The Mariners will take plenty away from a last gasp 2-2 draw with Melbourne City after being on the wrong side of the score sheet in their past four fixtures. Their record at Pirtek Stadium is less than impressive with only one win from four trips to Wanderland. Tony Popovic has shown plenty of faith in the youthful arm of his squad, but I’m guessing this will be a close to a full strength line-up as the Asian Champions aim to get their A-League season back on track. This is the Wanderers’ first home game this season so there should be plenty of ‘Red and Black’ on hand to help sway the result in favour of the home side.
Pick: Western Sydney Wanderers (H2H) or a 'Goal Margin' of WSW by 1 goal for more value

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


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A-League Round 6 Preview



Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Friday, November 14
6.40 PM (AEST)
A winless Brisbane Roar is on the road this week for Friday night’s clash in Newcastle and desperate to register its first points of the season. The Jets will be full of confidence following a 2-2 draw against Premiership favourites Melbourne Victory, as well as defeating the Roar in their two meetings at Suncorp Stadium last season. The Roar’s depth will again be tested with club veteran Matt McKay unavailable after a call up to the Socceroos squad taking on Japan on 18 November in Osaka. It is worrying times for Brisbane and their embattled coach Mike Mulvey.
Pick: Roar (Draw No Bet)

Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Friday, November 15
4.00 PM (AEST)
Adelaide continues to play an attractive confident brand of football under Josep Gombau. The skill level has ramped up a notch with Marcelo Carussca, Sergio Cirio and former Jets winger Craig Goodwin creating plenty of headaches for opposition teams down the left hand side. The crowds are flocking to Cooper’s Stadium with their side yet to record a loss this season. With three games in nine days, the Reds could battle fatigue and may miss the service upfront of star striker Bruce Djite as he battles a quad injury. Adelaide is in a fabulous headspace at present after qualifying for the FFA Cup Final and Phoenix need to bring their ‘A game’ if they are to take the three points back home across the ditch.
Pick: Adelaide United (Goal Margin 2+ Goals) for a little more value

Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sat, November 15
6.30 PM (AEST)
This shapes as the match of the round with the Sky Blues and Victory yet to register a loss this season. Graham Arnold has managed to get Sydney doing something they’ve struggled to do in the past few seasons…play as a team, and it is working well. Goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic is in wonderful touch with the gloves recording three cleansheets and only conceding three goals all season. He will need to be at his best this Saturday as Besart Berisha heads a daunting attack for the Victory. In 14 matches at Allianz, there have been seven draws, and I’m guessing this could be close as the clock ticks towards the 90-minute mark.
Pick: Draw
Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers
nib Stadium, Perth
Sat, November 15
8.30 PM (AEST)
Perth Glory return home after an arduous road trip which netted their first away win at Gosford. The table topping Glory are brimming with attacking options, and a massive week was capped off with a memorable win over Bentleigh Greens as they booked a place in the inaugural FFA Cup Grand Final in Adelaide on December 16. Nebojsa Marinkovic has been devastating from the set pieces scoring three goals in two matches and is great value in the ‘1st Goal Scorer’ and ‘To Score a Goal’ markets. The Wanderers will be hoping for a change of fortune to rekindle their winning ways in the local competition. This will be close, but I think the ‘Frequent Flying’ Wanderers can sneak home and collect the three points to get their season going.
Pick: Western Sydney Wanderers (Draw No Bet)
           
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Sunday, November 16
4 PM (AEST)
Irish born midfielder Liam Miller hasn’t allowed the grass to grow under his feet and joined Melbourne City this week after leaving Premiers Brisbane Roar by “mutual consent”. With Aaron Mooy (Socceroos) and Stefan Mauk (Olyroos) away on international duties, Miller will be hoping to fill the void and team up with countryman Damien Duff to take on a Mariner’s outfit that has so far struggled to set the world on fire. The Mariners are coming off the back of a disappointing though predicted FFA Cup semi final loss to Adelaide, but coach Phil Moss should be pleased with a more spirited performance.
Pick: Melbourne City 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

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A-League Round 5 Preview


Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Friday, November 7
4.30 PM (AEST)
The Phoenix take on recent Asian Champions League winners WSW and will back themselves against a side mentality fatigued after a momentous week in its short history. The come down will be immense, but the task ahead just as important, as the Wanderers search for their first points of the season. The travel, together with dulling down the euphoria of the ACL success, will be a tough assignment for Tony Popovic to manage. But as they have shown all campaign their ability to rise for any challenge is synonymous with the WSW. Despite being on top of Asia, the events of the past week should catch up with them, and I feel the Phoenix can steal the three points. Nathan Burns as first scorer or to score a goal is good value.
Pick: Wellington Phoenix H2H
 Adelaide United v Sydney FC
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Friday, November 7
6.45 PM (AEST)
This is undoubtedly the match of the round between two of the top three sides. Sydney is only one goal ahead of Adelaide in goal differential, with both teams conceding the fewest goals of any side in the league (3). Sydney’s long term defensive question marks of the past look to have been answered, but the attack and speed down the flanks of a classy Adelaide will be the ultimate litmus test for Graham Arnold’s travelling Sky Blues team. This will be close early on, but as the match wears on, Sydney’s intensity for the 90mins may wane as was shown late in the Mariners game.
Pick: Adelaide United H2H
 Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Sat, November 8
4 PM (AEST)
The Jets' form woes continue after playing the first four rounds away from Hunter Stadium in a tough start to the season. They have shown glimpses of positive attacking play, but fail to convert the chances onto the score sheet. They will be up against a Melbourne Victory at the peak of their game, despite injuries and suspensions decimating the squad prior to Tuesday’s night’s impressive win over the Phoenix. Difficult to go past the Victory on current form.
Pick: Melbourne Victory H2H
  Brisbane Roar v Melbourne City
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Sat, November 8
6.30 PM (AEST)
This game should be dubbed the #DesperationDerby as both coaches are under immense pressure to deliver their respective clubs a win for the season. With Liam Miller moving on from the Roar, the Premiers have had a week off to re-focus and fine-tune their attack and defensive pattern. Matt Mackay is a welcome return from suspension and he will be looking to gain the upper hand in the battle for mid-field possession. City have bid a hasty farewell to Spanish superstar David Villa, and his absence could be just what the coach is looking for to gain some control over a squad that has worked hard all off season.
Pick: Brisbane Roar (Draw No Bet)
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Sunday, November 9
4 PM (AEST)
Perth Glory are sitting comfortably in fourth place on the A-League ladder, but Manager Kenny Lowe may have some selection headaches ahead of Tuesday nights FFA Cup semi-final clash with Victorian giant-killers Bentleigh Greens. The Mariners have been far from impressive in their opening three games, but with a home ground advantage to help boost confidence, I think they can get the job done against a Glory team that could just get ahead of themselves.
Pick: Central Coast Mariners 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, 30 October 2014

A-League Round 4 Preview

Melbourne City v Adelaide United
AAMI Stadium, Melbourne
Friday, October 31
6.40 PM (AEST)
With the sun quickly setting on David Villa’s brief A-League sojourn ‘Down Under’, City fans will be extra keen to see the Spanish star deliver his adopted club their first win of the season. The task is ahead of City as the Reds have exploded out of the blocks from the very first whistle. They play an entertaining and attacking brand of football and have now firmed into favourites ($2.40) to win the inaugural FFA Cup title. This should be a highly charged match to kick off the weekend’s fixtures, but I just can’t go past Josep Gombau’s men from getting the three points.
Pick: Adelaide United (Draw No Bet)

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets 
nib Stadium, Perth
Saturday, November 1
6.30 PM (AEST)
This is a tough match to predict given that both teams are coming off disappointing away losses last round. The Glory appeared flat at Coopers Stadium and will relish the return home to nib Stadium. I was expecting a better showing from the Jets against Wellington last Sunday, and feel the long travel burden will prove too much to turn around their poor form against a strong attacking Glory outfit. Progressing to the FFA Cup semi-finals in a thrilling extra time win over the Victory mid-week will now put plenty of ‘Fremantle Doctor’ wind into the Glory’s sails. The Glory’s Andy Keogh recorded a hat trick against the Roar two weeks ago and backed it up with a mid-week brace in the FFA Cup. He will again be hard to go past in the first goal scorer market.
Pick: Perth Glory (H2H)   
Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Sunday, November 2
4 PM (AEST)
This game sees the master versus the apprentice as the two former colleagues in Graham Arnold and Phil Moss line up on opposite ends of the technical area. Arnold’s tactics against the Roar were to the letter and this game will be no different. Sydney’s defensive structures of the past are on the improve, which gives a rise in confidence to the attack up front with Alex Brosque in startling form. With all the money coming for Sydney FC, the goal margin (SYD by 2+ Goals) market might deliver a little more value. Brosque is a nice option (To Score a goal) given his current form.
Pick: Sydney FC (Goal Margin 2+ Goals)
Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Monday, November 3
6.30 PM  (AEST)
The Victory, together with Adelaide Utd and Sydney FC, are the only teams still undefeated in the A-League at the end of three rounds. After travelling across to Perth for their mid-week FFA quarter final defeat, Victory take on a Phoenix side on Melbourne Cup Eve still smarting from an impressive 4-1 defeat over a sluggish Jets outfit. The Phoenix sit in unfamiliar territory on the ladder (4th) and will be eyeing off an injury ravaged Victory side with Berisha, Delpierre, Thompson all in doubt for Monday night’s match. To add to Kevin Muscat's woes, Adrian Liejer and Daniel Georgievski are suspended. The Phoenix have proven on their day they can knock off more fancied teams, and will still have last season’s shock 5-0 triumph to give them hope of an upset.
Pick: Wellington Phoenix (Draw No Bet) is excellent value in a multi given the potential number of quality outs for the Victory.
 Al Hilal v Western Sydney Wanderers
King Fahd Stadium, Riyadh
Sunday, November 2
3.30 AM (AEST)
It doesn’t get much bigger than this for the Western Sydney Wanderers. After a massive first leg result, they now hold the advantage, but more importantly, no away goals were conceded by their ever-reliable veteran keeper Ante Covic. The second leg will be a different proposition with the crowd, heat and distinct lack of travelling support on hand, shifting favoritism back toward their Saudi opponents. The Wanderers have proven all throughout the campaign they can shut out teams, and despite the huge task ahead, I think the 'Sydney westies' can sneak home against the giant Al Hilal “Blue Wave “on the back of the away goal rule.
 Pick: Wanderers (Double Chance) Western Sydney/Draw

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, 23 October 2014

A-League Round 3 Preview

Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Friday, October 24
7 PM (AEST)

The Roar find themselves in uncharted waters as they share bottom spot of the A-League ladder with Grand Final opponents Western Sydney Wanderers. The task is huge for the Sky Blues as they plan for their third game in less than a week. I felt the Roar was solid in patches, but some key defensive lapses cost them on the back of a stand-out striking performance by Irish import Andy Keogh for the Glory. Sydney’s extra-time quarter final FFA Cup loss against Adelaide United will be a bitter pill to swallow, but I feel Brisbane are very good value to notch up their first win of the season
Pick: Brisbane Roar (H2H)

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday, October 25
6.30 PM (AEST)

Last week saw a record attendance for the #SydneyDerby but the hype now moves to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium for Melbourne’s version. David Villa will add an extra special feel to the encounter, as emotions are always high to claim bragging rights. Big name player often step up to the plate in big games and I see no reason why it won’t happen in this one. Carl Valeri has been an important ingredient in linking the attacking talent at the Victory and I just feel Kosta Barbarouses is very close to getting on the stats sheet.
Pick: Melbourne Victory (H2H). A Red card being handed out is always a big possibility and good value in derby games!

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle United Jets
Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Sunday, October 26
2 PM (AEST)

The Phoenix returns back across the ditch to the ‘Cake-tin’ after a rare away win in Gosford. Ernie Merrick will be looking to go back-to-back against a team (Jets) with whom they enjoy their best win record against (59%). Newcastle were impressive, and probably should have claimed the three points, against Melbourne City after some wayward chances in front of goal. With the attacking weapons of Jeronimo Neumann, Marcos Flores and Joel Griffiths up front, I’m thinking they could pull off an upset on Sunday.
Pick: Newcastle (H2H) on the back of an unexpected and impressive performance last weekend.

Adelaide United v Perth Glory
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Sunday, October 26
4 PM (AEST)

I for one am looking forward to this match up. Andy Keogh (Glory) collected a hat trick against the Roar last Sunday and is a clear leader in the ‘Golden Boot’. Adelaide could show signs of fatigue after travelling to Allianz Stadium mid-week for their FFA Cup quarterfinal against Sydney FC. With plenty of youth players filling the void, and hosting back at Coopers Stadium, this could be the tonic to notch their second win of the season. Confidence is sky high in the Glory camp and their top spot on the ladder should see a steady return of support in the west.
Pick: Perth Glory (Draw No Bet) is awfully good value for an undefeated team atop the ladder!

Western Sydney Wanderers  v Al Hilal
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Saturday, October 25
6.30 PM (AEST)

The A-League takes a back seat this weekend for the Wanderers as they host the first leg of the Asian Champions League final at Parramatta. Tony Popovic is remaining positive despite a slow start to the local competition, but it is obvious one eye has been focussing on this challenge. The reward is massive for the winning club as it opens the door to a potential meeting with Real Madrid in the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco later this year. For now, it is all be about the win and not conceding the away goal to their Saudi opponents. The first leg is always a window to the soul of the manager’s strategy, and with the #MelbourneDerby telecast at the same time, it will be hard to choose which game to watch. That’s easy I’ll watch both!
Pick: Wanderers (Draw No Bet). If he starts, Tom Juric is a solid choice in the '1st Goal Scorer'!

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, 16 October 2014

A-League Round 2 Preview

Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory


Adelaide Oval

Friday, October 17

6.40 PM (AEST)

This promises to be a tough 'top of the table' clash between two fierce rivals. The match has been moved to the Adelaide Oval and may favour the visitors. Confidence is high in the Victory camp after the 4-1 domination of a heavily burdened Wanderers, but Adelaide is a different proposition after a successful winning road trip against Brisbane Roar. Bruce Djite was unlucky not to get a brace for the Reds and returned to sparkling form up front. Sergio Cirio is a handy choice in the ‘To Score a Goal’ market on TattsBet after some impressive pre-season form that netted two goals. Victory’s Kosta Barbarouses was hard to handle on the wing in the opening round and will be itching to get on the scoresheet.


Pick: Adelaide (Draw No Bet)

           

Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix


Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Saturday, October 18

4.00 PM (AEST)

The Mariners have had a busy week after Mitch Duke slotted home the added time winner to snatch three important points in the #F3Derby at Gosford. They return home still high from a mid-week FFA Cup five-goal rout of NPLQ Champions Palm Beach Sharks. It will be intriguing to monitor if Mariners boss Phil Moss will start with Matt Sim after his outstanding four goal heroics off the bench. The big question is what Phoenix away team will turn up given their appalling 61% away loss stat? Expect a close contest, but I think the home team with prevail.

Pick: Central Coast Mariners (H2H), or Half/Full Double: Draw/CCM good value!



Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers


Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Saturday, October 18

6.30 PM (AEST)

This is the big one! The #SydneyDerby looks a certain sell-out at Allianz Stadium and Graham Arnold’s ‘Sky Blue’ outfit is looking to take advantage of a Wanderers squad preparing for a very busy few weeks juggling A-League and Champions Leagues commitments. Sydney’s attack was patchy last week against Melbourne City and could consider themselves lucky to get away with a point from that game. They will need to be on song against the very experienced and match hardened Wanderers defensive unit. With a tight market the Draw looks attractive but I’m leaning towards the Sky Blues to build on last weeks opening stalemate.

Pick: Sydney FC (Draw No Bet)



Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets


AAMI Park, Melbourne

Sunday, October 19

2.00 PM (AEST)

David Villa’s arrival last week has all the City fans in a tailspin and should ensure plenty turn up to watch the Spanish star play his first home game at AAMI. He’s already lived up to his reputation with a classy strike to share the points with Sydney. I see no reason why he can’t replicate it or go better this weekend against a team equal favourite in the ‘Wooden Spoon’ market. Clearly I think City will deliver his club’s first A-League win as a new entity but by how much is the big query?

Pick: Melbourne City (H2H)



Perth Glory v Brisbane Roar


nib Stadium, Perth

Sunday, October 19

4.00 PM (AEST)

This is a tough road trip for the Roar coming off their loss to Adelaide at Suncorp. A fascinating contest awaits with the combinations between Youssouf Hersi, Adam Keogh and Mitch Nichols already displaying great promise for the Glory. After a long flight home from across the ditch, Glory play a Roar team with whom they’ve enjoyed a healthy rivalry since the 2012 Grand Final. The Roar’s timing was slightly off against the Reds, but if they find the net early, I’m confident they can get the three points.

Pick: Roar (H2H) & 'Will there be a penalty' YES is also worth a go in rivalry games!



I’ll be on the @tattsbetbrekky 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_sport



James ‘Hamez’ Clark