WITH several big names returning from international duty, the second round of the 2017/18 A-League campaign promises to be even better than the first.
A-League Round 2 multi special
- United to win – $2.88
- Wanderers to win – $1.38
- City to win – $2.88
- Jets to win – $2.20
- Sydney to win – $1.33
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Brisbane Roar vs. Adelaide United
Friday, October 13, 2017 – 7:50pm AEDT – Suncorp Stadium
Roar – $2.38
Draw – $3.50
United – $2.88
Some odd flashes of promise aside, Brisbane had no answers for Melbourne City on opening night. The lack of clean, penetrating balls into the box was of particular concern for a team that has lost so many of its brightest stars over the off-season.
Adelaide had the bulk of possession away at Wellington, but sloppy passing saw them settle for a 1-1 draw. Getting points on the board early has to be the key for a Reds outfit that did not manage a win until round nine last season.
Both these teams are expected to float around the cusp of the top six this term, so a result either way on Friday night could prove decisive come season’s end. The likely return of star forward Baba Diawara might just give Adelaide the edge.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 5:35pm AEDT – Spotless Stadium
Wanderers – $1.38
Draw – $5
Mariners – $7
How do you respond to your beloved coach quitting on the eve of the season? By taming one of the best attacks in the competition, of course. Wanderers scored all three goals in a 2-1 win over Perth Glory in round one, with Alvaro Cejudo and Jumpei Kusukami especially influential from midfield.
Central Coast had a forgettable season-starter up at Newcastle, shipping five goals to the 2016/17 wooden spooners. While that scoreline does not tell the whole story, it does explain why so many bookmakers have Paul Okon’s men on the bottom line of A-League outright betting.
Don’t waste too much time agonising over this one. Unless half the Western Sydney squad is mowed down by the flu between now and Saturday, Wanderers should have no problems.
Melbourne Victory vs. Melbourne City
Saturday, October 14, 2017 – 7:50pm AEDT – Etihad Stadium
Victory – $2.26
Draw – $3.60
City – $2.88
Another day, another massive clash at the Docklands. It was only the odd goal – an own goal, in fact – that separated an undermanned Victory from Sydney FC last week in a tense A-League Grand Final rematch. Mark Milligan and James Troisi both return to the fold after a tough night for the Socceroos against Syria on Tuesday.
Ross McCormack might be City’s shiny new signing, but it was Bruce Kamau who stole the show on opening night with both goals in a 2-0 win over the Roar. Early signs suggest they have the firepower to manage without the injured Bruno Fornaroli, especially with Tim Cahill back after a match-winning turn for Australia.
With the possible exception of the Big Blue, there is no tougher matchup to pick in the A-League. Momentum is a mystical force in football, so it would be no surprise if City and Cahill rode that wave to a big win over their arch-rivals.
Newcastle Jets vs. Perth Glory
Sunday, October 15, 2017 – 5pm AEDT – McDonald Jones Stadium
Jets – $2.20
Draw – $3.70
Glory – $2.94
Last year’s cellar dwellers could not have dreamed of a better way to start the 2017/18 campaign. Hat-trick hero and former Mariners striker Roy O’Donovan was on fire against his old club, immediately justifying the early money on him to win the A-League Golden Boot.
Much has been written about Perth’s attacking riches, but they were far from glorious in a tough test away at Western Sydney last Sunday. As was the case last term, Kenny Lowe’s men will have to tighten up considerably at the back if they wish to play any part in finals.
Were the Jets really that good against Central Coast? Maybe not, but they should have the upper hand over a Glory side that has barely touched the tarmac in WA before flying back out to the east coast.
Sydney FC vs. Wellington Phoenix
Sunday, October 15, 2017 – 7pm AEDT – Allianz Stadium
Sydney – $1.33
Draw – $4.90
Phoenix – $9
As if winning the double last term was not enough, Sydney FC gave everyone a gentle reminder of their alpha status with a season-opening win in the Big Blue. It was not pretty, however, with an own goal from Victory youngster Thomas Deng the only mark on the score sheet.
Wellington got off to a flyer on Sunday when Dario Vidosic struck inside five minutes. They were back down to earth by the 10-minute mark, however, as Adelaide levelled the scores through Johan Absalonsen. That was how it remained, with neither side showing anything to suggest they might push the big boys.
Do we need to say much more about this one? It would be an absolute shock if Sydney failed to secure all three points here.
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