6pm NZDT Sunday, October 13 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Wellington Phoenix – $3 at Bet365
Draw – $3.40
Western United – $2.37
Western United make their highly anticipated A-League debut this weekend with a tricky away date against the Wellington Phoenix.
With several high-profile players on their books, there is a strong expectation that Australia’s newest expansion club will hit the ground running.
Perhaps the most exciting acquisitions are Alessandro Diamanti and Besart Berisha, the latter of whom is the A-League’s all-time leading scorer with 116 goals.
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Former Socceroos striker Scott McDonald rounds out a star-studded attack, while the likes of Ersan Gulum, Panagiotis Kone, Dario Jertec and Josh Risdon offer plenty of experience across the park.
The home fans will have plenty to say about Max Burgess, Andrew Durante and Filip Kurto, all of whom followed coach Mark Rudan to United after he broke contract with Wellington earlier this year.
The Phoenix’s bid for a second successive finals run have been further hurt by the departure of start striker Roy Krishna, meaning there will be immediate pressure on the incoming duo of David Ball and Ulises Davila to perform.
Ufuk Talay’s squad is loaded with untried youngsters, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in the early rounds.
Wellington Phoenix vs Western United betting trends
- Only four of the 14 teams that have played in the A-League have won their inaugural match
- The Phoenix have won their last three home games – their best streak since January 2012
- Each of Wellington’s last eight A-League games have produced three goals or more
Wellington Phoenix vs Western United predictions
Both teams to score – $1.57 at Sportsbet
With so many unknowns on both sides, we might see a cagey start to the game. However, both will want to make an impact on the opening weekend, so the keepers should be busy.
Besart Berisha anytime goalscorer – $2.75 at Bet365
This guy knows how to score goals in Australia. United have plenty of quality in the forward third, but Besart is the clear standout to mark his club debut with a goal.
Western United to win/over 1.5 goals – $2.88 at Sportsbet
Remarkably, it’s the new boys who come into this clash with the more recognisable squad. The big names of Berisha, Diamanti and McDonald up front will be too much for the Nix.
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