IT took 20 rounds, but the mighty undefeated run of Sydney FC is finally over.
The Western Sydney Wanderers stunned their cross-town rivals last week to break the invincible’s dream, and now the Premier’s Plate looks in jeopardy for the first time in two months.
The Victory sit eight points back – which seems like a long way – but given the Sky Blues face a tough run home, compounded by Melbourne’s comparatively easier conclusion to the season, could see them leapfrog their bitter rivals.
There are worse futures bets right now than the +1100 on offer at Sportsbet.com.au for Kevin Muscat’s men to win the Premier’s Plate.
Outside the top-two, no team positioned inside the top-six is truly assured of finals football, which makes round 21 fascinating.
We cannot wait.
All odds for the 21st week of the A-League season were provided by Sportsbet.com.au, which is offering punters a fantastic inducement for those yet to sign up.
New customers can get their first bet at Sportsbet matched up to the value of $501.
Selections for the Round 21 A-League multi:
Brisbane Roar to beat Wellington Phoenix ($1.70)
Melbourne Victory to defeat Adelaide United ($1.42)
Perth Glory to beat Western Sydney Wanderers ($2.20)
Newcastle Jets to win against the Central Coast Mariners ($1.72)
Brisbane Roar vs. Wellington Phoenix
Saturday, February 25 from 5.35 pm AEDST Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
The Brisbane Roar and Wellington Phoenix meet on Saturday afternoon in the first leg of our A-League multi.
The Roar are looking to extend their unbeaten run in the A-League to six games. Despite drawing their last three games Brisbane currently sits in third position, locked on 30 points alongside Melbourne City.
After a promising mid-season period the Phoenix are in free fall. The Kiwis have not won in five matches and have only secured one point in that period. Anything short of a win here would rule them out of finals football.
Unfortunately for the ‘nix they have only secured one win in 14 visits to Suncorp Stadium.
This one looks clear cut on paper. The Roar should be far too strong for a team they have not lost to in their last three meetings.
Brisbane Roar to win – $1.70
Melbourne Victory vs. Adelaide United
Saturday, February 25 from 7.50 pm AEDST, AAMI Park, Melbourne
The ‘Original Rivalry’ of the A-League takes place on Saturday night as the Victory host the Reds at AAMI Park.
The Victory are looking to extend their winning run against the Reds to three-straight games, which would be their best streak against the reigning premiers since 2010.
Adelaide recorded a fantastic 1-0 win over the in-form Newcastle Jets last week, but still remain anchored to the bottom of the A-League table. To compound their woes the Reds were hammered mid-week in the Asian Champions League and have to front up just three days later against their fiercest rivals.
Melbourne put their disappointing scoreless draw alongside Newcastle behind them last week by smashing the Central Coast 3-0 away from home. Berart Berisha scored a brace in the win and firmed further in the Golden Boot market.
Berisha (16 goals scored) is now three goals clear of the second placed Bruno Fornaroli, and is at $1.36 via Sportsbet.com.au to be the A-League’s top scorer this season.
It is hard to see how this game goes any way other than a comfortable Melbourne win. Adelaide are just treading water in what is arguably the worst title defence in the competition’s history.
Melbourne Victory to win – $1.45
Perth Glory vs. Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, February 25 from 10 pm AEDST, NIB Stadium, Perth
The most important game of the round takes place in the west as the Glory host the Wanderers at NIB Stadium.
The teams are separated by just four points on the ladder which means a win is pivotal for both sides if they are to maintain their position inside the top-six.
Western Sydney’s win last week against Sydney FC was enormous for a multitude of reasons. The Wanderers snapped their horrendous Sydney Derby form, ended their cross-town rivals’ invincibles conquest as well as entrenching themselves in the finals race.
Not a bad weekend on the pitch for WSW.
The Glory will be looking to bounce back after recording a 2-2 draw alongside the Roar. A win on Saturday night would ensure they play finals football this season.
We are backing the home side here. The Wanderers had a mid-week ACL match, and when compounded by the longest roadtrip they could possibly face, we are expecting a leg-weary Western Sydney.
Perth Glory to win – $2.20
Newcastle Jets vs. Central Coast Mariners
Sunday, February 26 from 10 pm AEDST, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
The F3 Derby rounds out our A-League multi as the Mariners travel the highway to face the Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Newcastle is looking to continue their push towards the A-League finals while Central Coast needs a miracle to make it.
Both teams are looking to bounce back after disappointing losses last week. Nothing short of a win will work for either side going forward.
The Jets are looking to maintain their strong record against the Mariners. Newcastle has not lost to the Mariners in their last six meetings and the Novocastrians have won two of the last three against their Sunday opponents.
We are expecting the Jets to round out our multi in winning fashion. If all goes according to plan for Newcastle they will be within one point of the sixth placed Western Sydney by the end of the round.
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