Almanac Soccer – A-League 1,000: The Picks Edition

@hamishneal

1,000-ish words, thoughts and musings on Round 4 of the A-League which starts with the champs Adelaide playing in the Victorian capital and concludes with a Melbourne Cup eve fixture also in Melbourne.

Melbourne Sheep Cow Whale Ships v Adelaide United, Friday – AAMI Park
Despite their FFA Cup semi-final triumph, and as evidenced by their defeat to Perth last Friday, Melbourne City do have flaws. John van’t Schip’s side will continue to miss Nicolas Colazo this week but Adelaide still have injury issues and they won’t have Henrique available here, or for the next six weeks. Even allowing for their threadbare squad they need to marshal better in defence when ahead.

Big game for: Adelaide’s Danny Choi provided spark when he came on and the former Blacktown City FC player has no pressure on him given he isn’t a focal point of the opposition’s planning compared to say Isaias.

The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Parental responsibility. If parents of children who live in Sydney are letting those kids choose football teams in Melbourne to support is all hope lost? Those parents need a talking to.

Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC, Saturday – McDonald Jones Stadium
The form both sides are in could see a repeat of the great semi-finals these teams have played in the past. Okay perhaps this is hyperbolic but both coaches, Graham Arnold and Mark Jones, will arrive at the fixture with confidence given their sides are unbeaten. Andrew Hoole will be key to the home side’s hopes here and his play from free kicks could be crucial again. That said Sydney have a fair exponent in the dead ball scenario with Brandon O’Neill.

Big game for: Bernie Ibini’s goal-scoring has resumed after his return from a long-term injury and a former Mariner scoring in Newcastle to win would be something to upset the locals.

The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Jets recruit Aleksandr Kokko’s return coincides with the absence of Andrew Nabbout who will be missing for Newcastle for up to three weeks.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners, Saturday – Spotless Stadium
Western Sydney will be looking to make hay and keep the Mariners winless for the season but will be ruing they aren’t coming to this game on the back of two successive wins after their draw against Newcastle. Mariners mentor Paul Okon is still tinkering with his best starting options in several key positions. Tony Popovic will need to ensure his side maintain intensity throughout the game as the Mariners have proven once this campaign they can rally when behind.

Big game for: Goalkeepers. Andrew Redmayne had an evening to forget as Newcastle scrambled a point on Sunday and Paul Izzo was shaky in his season debut for the Mariners as they lost by a goal.

The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Another failure for the Australian Under 19 side (this time they didn’t progress out of a weak group) means they won’t be in the knockout stages of the AFC U19 championships in Bahrain, or at the Under 20 World Cup in South Korea next year, but it means the return of Liam Rose for the Mariners.

Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory, Saturday – Beer Sauce Burger Stadium
Having two games at home to start the season meant the draw would mean two games away from home in succession and it comes here for Perth as they venture to Queensland following their win in Melbourne. Andy Keogh’s goals were crucial for the Glory but his tactic to hound the opposition when they were trying to play the ball out of their defensive third could prove troublesome for Brisbane.

Big game for: Andrew Ord. A non-league player who emigrated to Perth a decade ago, assistant coach Ord will be the main coach on the sideline with coach Kenny Lowe banned for three weeks. Ord, 37, started working with the WA National Training Centre and joined the Glory in 2010 before moving from the youth side to add the senior assistant coaching role in 2013/14.

The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Brisbane, as we mentioned last week, still don’t have their full quota of overseas signings. To attract players to your team winning helps so they need to start going on a bit of a run after their one-goal win in Gosford.

Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix, Monday – Southern Cross Station Arena
Kiwi Marco Rojas was influential again for the Victory as Kevin Muscat’s side struck their first win of the league campaign in Adelaide on Friday but after their FFA Cup exit Kevin Muscat’s side could be deflated. Wellington are still in search of their first win of this season as their boss Ernie Merrick returns to the city where he twice delivered domestic grand final glory. Wellington’s dominance in possession, which included not allowing Sydney a meaningful shot at goal until half an hour gone, means they are playing well but they need to trust how they are playing.

Big game for: Goal scoring stats. It’s not all doom and gloom for Nix fans with no goals in the opening three games of the season. As pointed out by the Yellow Fever’s Patrick Barnes last year one A-League team took until Round 5 to score a goal that wasn’t an own goal. The side in question was Adelaide.

The ‘I’m really looking forward to’ bit: Better headers from Leigh Broxham. The Victory midfielder drifted in unmarked to meet a Rojas free kick early in the FFA Cup semi-final tie only to provide a lame header with all the power of a state league six player.

The betting bit – One serious one not
We hope you have been backing wonder-mare Winx recently as this part of the column hasn’t started brightly. Adelaide were unlucky last week and now we switch back to Wellington ($5.00) because soon the goals will start to go in () into a Yoshi and Tim Tifo on Friday night from the Yarraville faithful.

Record: 0/3
Profit: -30 (ten units per investment)

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About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

Comments

  1. Hi Hamish,

    Are Yoshi’s family from Sydney? I reckon his both parents are Japanese. Then his parents would not mind if he choose Melbourne City?? Even his friends would not like…

    I have watched him meeting Phoenix boys on the club Facebook page. I wanted him to choose the mighty Phoenix.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  2. Hey Yoshi, I believe other Yoshi’s parents, and him, live in Sydney. However you make a reasonable point that if they are not from their they may not feel a natural extension to support either of the local sides. Phoenix were his second choice, so it was close!

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