Week 8 of the A-League gets underway in Sydney on Thursday night when the Sky Blues host Wellington Phoenix at Allianz Stadium.
Brisbane were lucky to escape with a draw last weekend and will have to beat Newcastle away if they are to remain at the top of the table, while Melbourne Victory will keep the pressure on the Roar with a win over Adelaide United.
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Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix
Sydney FC are winless since week 4 and have slipped to fourth position overall after a particularly hot 90 minutes in Perth on Saturday afternoon. The Sky Blues have undoubtedly one of the league’s best rosters and will realistically work their way out of this slight form slump, it is simply a matter of when. Wellington began the season competitively enough but have certainly dropped off the radar through recent weeks, with the exception of a healthy win over the lowly Adelaide in Week 6. Sydney FC is a tough prospect for any time and they are deserving favourites heading into Thursday night’s fixture.
Melbourne City vs Perth Glory
Melbourne City have continued to steadily build in condition through recent weeks and were very unlucky not to take a win away from league-leaders Brisbane Roar last Friday; leaking a goal late in the piece to draw 1-1. Perth have been nothing short of terrible for the majority of the first seven weeks of competition, but did enough to hold Sydney FC to a goalless draw most recently. City are another team that, on paper, should beat just about every team in the league but are still yet to hit peak condition. Regardless, in Melbourne and against a misfiring opponent they should have no issue in returning to winning form on Friday night with reasonable ease.
Newcastle Jets vs Brisbane Roar
Newcastle only managed a draw away to Adelaide in Week 7 but undoubtedly remain the league’s surprise packets in season 2015/16; sitting fifth overall on eleven competition points and more than within striking distance from top spot. A number of players have stood up for the Jets this season but perhaps none more than veteran David Carney who continues to wind back the clock with his impressive, goal scoring form. Not a lot was expected from Brisbane in their first season under the guidance of John Aloisi but they have quickly adapted to a new style, which has clearly paid dividends. The Roar will have to muster a better effort than what they did at home to Melbourne City last weekend to beat Newcastle away, but they certainly have the class on the right day.
Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United
Old foes Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United lock horns at the home ground of the former on Saturday night. A fierce rivalry has developed between these two teams ever since the Victory delivered Adelaide a 6-0 thrashing in season 2 of the A-League, and fixtures are always well contested despite the form of both clubs at the time of meeting. Melbourne Victory have continued to go from strength to strength over the last 12 months and currently hold all three major trophies in Australian football, while Adelaide are amidst one of their worst starts to a season and are anchored to the bottom of the ladder. The game is sure to be a thriller but it’s hard to tip against the Victory in current form and at home.
Central Coast Mariners vs Western Sydney Wanderers
In what could be one of the more well-contested matches in Week 8 of the A-League, the Mariners return home to face the in-form Wanderers on Sunday afternoon. Central Coast are yet to do much this year but have produced a number of competitive performances and were unlucky not to take anything away from their Week 7 match with the Victory, away from home. Western Sydney took a few matches to find their feet this time but are now amidst a four match winning streak and are charging up the table. In Parramatta the Wanderers would be the obvious tip but on the Central Coast the outcome is substantially hazier. A draw at current $3.50 odds offers great value for money.