Last week’s A-League Round 21 produced numerous highlights including Andrew Nabbout’s last gasp winner for Victory against old rivals Adelaide United, a Max Burgess hat trick for Western United to open his A-League goal scoring account in memorable style, and upset wins by Western Sydney Wanderers and the Newcastle Jets against the top two teams Sydney FC and Perth Glory.
The Jets have the bye this weekend, in a round which promises plenty of exciting clashes for fans hoping to see their team challenge for finals football in a couple of months time.
Sixth placed Brisbane Roar’s Friday evening fixture with eighth placed Western Sydney Wanderers begins the Rd 22 matches.
Adelaide United v Western United | 5.00 pm, Sat 7 March | Coopers Stadium
Western United halted a mini slump and a recent goal drought last week with a 6-2 win over the Mariners. They have a much tougher assignment this week against an Adelaide United fighting to keep their place in the top six. There’s much at stake here as a win to the visitors could send them into the top six and a loss to the Reds could see them drop out of the top six. They last met on Australia day when a spectacular Nathan Konstandopoulos strike decided a seven goal thriller in the Reds’ favour. The Reds will be without Konstandopoulos but they will be strengthened by the return from injury of Ben Halloran, Ryan Strain and Stefan Mauk.
Prediction: Adelaide United win
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC | 7.30 pm, Sat 7 March | Marvel Stadium
It’s fair to say that Victory needs the points more than Sydney FC at this stage but they can expect few favours from their fierce rivals. When they last met, the league leaders Sydney FC dominated in a 3-0 win with playmaker Alex Baumjohann tormenting the Victory defence before getting red carded. He’s in the line up alongside Milos Ninkovic and Kosta Barbarouses playing against his old club. With their quality in attack, they’ll be expected to create chances. Victory will need to make the most of any chances they can create in order to have any chance of upsetting the league leaders and giving coach Carlos Salvachua his second A-League win. He’ll be hoping his team can make the most of Sydney having to recover from a tough midweek ACL match against South Koreans Jeonbuk which finished all square.
Central Coast Mariners v Wellington Phoenix | 4.00 pm, Sun 8 March | Central Coast Stadium
A win to Phoenix against the Mariners could see it move closer to a top two finish. Although on paper this looks like the most one sided fixture of the round, the last meeting of the two saw the Phoenix just pip the Mariners 2-1 in a closely fought battle, thanks to goals to Hooper and David Ball. The Mariners’ chances of avoiding an eighth defeat in a row may look slim, but their squad has been boosted by the return from injury of attack minded players Tommy Oar and Daniel DeSilva.
Prediction: Phoenix win
Perth Glory v Melbourne City | 6.00 pm, Sun 8 March | HBF Park
Arguably the match of the round with second spot at stake. When they last met, they were in similar positions with second spot City taking on third spot Glory. That match ended in a scoreless draw and also ended Glory’s seven match winning streak. City last week, won ‘ugly’ by 1-0, to stop a resurgent Roar team, whilst Glory were shock losers to the lowly Newcastle Jets. Glory coach Popovic recalls defensive players Greg Wuthrich and Osama Malik to the match day squad to give him more defensive options.