It might be a bit presumptuous, but after nine rounds, it looks like it is Sydney’s competition to lose.
The Sky Blues looked unstoppable tearing apart the Roar last week and now sit five points clear at the top of the table.
At the other end of the table, just three points separate the bottom seven teams with Perth jumping from last to seventh last weekend.
Whoever can solve their inconsistencies out of that group first will be able to create a little bit of breathing space as we hit the middle patch of the competition.
There’s another five games on the cards this weekend with Adelaide on a bye, check out who we are backing here.
Friday 13 December, 7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane 0 – Western United 2
Which Roar side are we going to get on Friday night?
Against the Mariners we saw flashes of great play and then last week in Sydney they spent most of the contest being torn apart by a much more disciplined side.
Western United can certainly take advantage of a subpar Roar team and we know that Besart Berisha loves to score at Suncorp Stadium so we’ll take him to come back and haunt his first A-League club here.
There’s a handful of other plays that also jump out as possible Same Game Multi options as well.
Brisbane’s last four games have seen 18 goals go in so Both Teams to Score ($1.53) and Over 2.5 ($1.67) or 3.5 ($2.55) could be worth a punt, although if you think the Roar will contribute, back them to do it in the second half because they haven’t found the back of the net in the opening 45 minutes yet.
In terms of backing a result you have to shade the visitors here but I’m happy to stay out of it until we get a bit more consistency from both sides.
Back Besart Berisha Anytime Goalscorer @ $2.70
Saturday 14 December, 5:00pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory 0 – Wellington 0
For a side that had title aspirations, just about everything has gone wrong for the Victory in this campaign.
An uninspiring total of eight points from their first nine matches has Marco Kurtz under huge pressure to turn it around.
Perhaps their biggest issue is at the back with an equal league worst 14 goals conceded so far (although playing nine matches to City’s eight would help).
When these sides met five weeks ago it was a 1-1 draw and a similar outcome looks like it might be on the cards here.
Both Teams to Score has hit in the last eight matches between these teams and four of the last five have finished as draws.
With Victory down on confidence, it’s hard to see them finding the key breakthrough here which is not ideal given their pre-Christmas derby is coming up after this.
SGM: Both Teams to Score & Draw @ $4.66
Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 14 December, 7:30pm, Nestrata Jubilee Stadium
Sydney 1 – Central Coast 0
Why mess with a winning formula?
Sydney is cruising at the moment, five straight wins with 16 goals scored in that time, it’s easy to see why they are on top of the table.
Not to mention an impressive eight goals conceded from eight starts as well, their goal difference is better than the goals scored for eight other teams.
You have to think they will make short work of the Mariners who, to their credit, are much more competitive than in previous years, but the gulf between these sides is just too big.
SGM: Sydney Halftime/Fulltime, Over 2.5 Goals, Adam Le Fondre Anytime Goalscorer @ $2.94
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 14 December, 9:45pm, HBF Park
Perth 2 – Western Sydney 0
When things aren’t going your way as a football manager, they seem to pile up and get more difficult with each passing week.
The Wanderers can’t seem to catch a break right now with another controversial decision consigning them to their fourth straight loss with a trip to a Perth side that might have woken up next on the fixture list.
The Glory snapped a four game winless run last week in Melbourne with their Uruguayan striker netting his third of the season and looking like the player we all remembered.
History says this should be a high scoring affair with neither side keeping a clean sheet in the last five meetings and while that win against City might have been a mirage, I have to back against the Wanderers here just because of how their luck is going at the moment.
SGM: Perth to Win, Both Teams to Score, Bruno Fornaroli Anytime Goalscorer @ $5.13
Sunday 15 December, 6:30pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle 0 – Melbourne City 4
You have to ask yourself, was that just a bad night for City or the old Melbourne Heart DNA coming through?
For the first time since Round 1, City were held scoreless as they failed to find a way through a strong Glory defence.
Newcastle have not been easy to break down lately though with Ernie Merrick’s pragmatic approach earning them seven points from their last four, although Adelaide did manage to beat them last week.
If City are legitimate challengers this season, this should be a game they win and win comfortably and with the market overreaction to their loss last week, I’m happy to jump on them at that price.
Back Melbourne City to Win @ $2.36
Get ready for six straight days of A-League football as the January calendar sees a plethora of fixtures coming up.
Some A-League sides will be undermanned for the next month with players away for the upcoming Asian Cup and while the managers will be happy publicly, none of them will want to lose these players for too long.
Read on for our previews of all five Round 10 A-League matches plus the Round 12 match set to take place Wednesday evening.
Friday 28 December, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Melbourne Victory 1 – Wellington 1
All aboard the Mark Rudan hype train!
Wellington has won three in a row and are flying after last week’s thumping of Brisbane Roar.
The Victory will be fuming after having two points stolen from under their noses in the final seconds of last week’s enthralling derby.
Despite the contrasting recent histories of these two sides, history has been split down the middle with four wins each from the last eight matches.
The play for this game comes down to the status of Victory marquee Keisuke Honda, having been named in the squad, there are still questions about his availability.
If he plays, he should be able to find a way to unlock a tightly packed Phoenix defence, otherwise, Wellington in an upset suddenly becomes much more appealing.
Back Victory to Win @ $1.45 *If Honda Plays*
Saturday 29 December, 7:50pm, Jubilee Stadium
Sydney FC 2 – Brisbane Roar 1
Flashback to December 2011, Brisbane visits Sydney at Jubilee Stadium, the Roar are on an Australian record 36 game unbeaten run in the middle of back to back championships.
Roar fans would love for those glory days to come back as they are now on the verge of equalling their club worst losing run in the A-League.
If Sydney can win this game it will be Brisbane’s fifth A-League loss in a row matching a run that started in December 2011 with that 2-0 to Sydney at Jubilee Stadium.
What can we learn from all of this?
Sydney come into this game as a much more confident side, especially after a huge win over ladder leaders Perth and should be able to have a field day against a Roar side that has shipped eight goals in the last two weeks.
Back Sydney to Win and Both Teams to Score @ $2.90
Sunday 30 December, 7:00pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle 1 – Adelaide 2
Nothing better for a side’s confidence than a derby win and the Jets did just that last weekend against Central Coast.
Adelaide were one of the few sides to really trouble Newcastle last season but will have an undermanned defence for this one as Jordan Elsey is suspended.
These sides look very tough to split apart and a draw is the play here.
Back the Draw @ $3.20
Central Coast Mariners
Monday 31 December, 7:00pm, AAMI Park
Central Coast 1 – Perth 4
At kickoff, it will have been 311 days since the Mariners last recorded a win, a tough stat no matter what sport you play.
They came very close to stealing a point in Perth when these sides met in November before a late Chris Ikonomidis goal gave the Glory all three points.
Ikonomidis will be absent for this game, much to the delight of Mike Mulvey and the Mariners, but his likely replacement Diego Castro is still more than capable.
In a clash of first against last you can back the side on top of the A-League table to take care of business and pick up all three points here.
Back Perth to Win @ $1.65
Western Sydney Wanderers
Tuesday 1 January, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Western Sydney 0 – Melbourne City 2
For the second year in a row, the Wanderers and Melbourne City will face off on New Years Day with the market picking this as an even contest.
Last year Western Sydney came away with all three points and depending on which City side decides to show up, will either cruise home or be in the fight of their lives.
At some point Oriol Riera is going to have a game where he really takes over and scores a hat-trick with the chances he is getting and this could just be it.
Back the Wanderers to Win @ $2.60
Wednesday 2 January, 7:50pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
Newcastle 2 – Brisbane 2
*ROUND 12 MATCH*
For so long this fixture was dominated by the away side but for the last year and a bit it has been all Newcastle.
Each of the last four meetings has gone the way of the Jets including a clash at the same venue on December 9.
It will be a tough ask for the Jets to back up just three days after a draining defeat at home to Adelaide which has goalkeeper Glen Moss in doubt (at the time of writing).
Things have changed in Brisbane since that game with the side responding to John Aloisi’s departure with an improved effort in their defeat against Sydney.
That being said the Jets are still the better side here and at home, so they should be able to take care of business here.
Back Newcastle to Win @ $1.87
The galaxy far, far away comes to Australia this weekend with A-League Episode 10 Round 10.
The Sydney Derby is the feature match this weekend as the Sky Blues march into ANZ Stadium looking to extend their lead at the top of the A-League table.
Brisbane and Wellington fancy a bit of beach football with their game taking place on the Gold Coast while the Jets have a tough test out west.
Friday 8 December, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
A rivalry that goes back to the days of the Sith Wars before the Republic, or at least season one of the A-League, the two clubs prepare for another battle in their ongoing saga.
The Victory will be pleased to be coming back into this game off a massive comeback in Wellington. Adelaide dominated Sydney FC but were caught out just before the break.
These games tend to pack in plenty of drama and nothing will be able to split these sides.
Back the Draw @ $3.60
Saturday 9 December, 5:35pm, Cbus Super Stadium
Like those from Alderaan, the Roar have to make a home away from home this weekend however their place is just being occupied by a former Beatle and not destroyed by the Death Star.
After a resilient win in conditions reminiscent of the planet Kamino last weekend, the Roar will look for back to back A-League wins for the first time since round 25 last season.
After mounting a spectacular comeback when these sides met in Wellington, the Roar are certainly looking like the more likely side to come away with a win here as Wellington are way down on confidence.
Back Brisbane Roar to Win @ $1.91
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 9 December, 7:50pm, ANZ Stadium
A battle with as much hostility as the Resistance and the First Order, honours were shared in the first contest this season. Sydney FC are in the ascendency after grinding out wins week after week.
The Wanderers may have to call in some Clone Troopers to replace their injured players after two more went down during their clash with the Roar.
With their ability to force choke opponent’s attackers like Darth Vader, Sydney should find a way to strike through in this game.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $2.00
Saturday 9 December, 10:00pm, NIB Stadium
On the other side of the Tatooine desserts comes the final game of Saturday’s trilogy.
The Jets are hotter than the twin suns of that system and have shown their ability to perform away from home.
It will be a big test going across to Perth who have been incredibly hot and cold so far.
The first meeting between these sides finished in a draw and this game has something similar to it.
Back the Draw @ $3.50
Central Coast Mariners
Sunday 10 December, 7:00pm, AAMI Park
The Chosen One has departed Melbourne City and will not be fulfilling the prophecy.
Jedi Knight Paul Okon is guiding his team of apprentices through the season well having them currently sitting in fourth place after a big win on the weekend.
City rebounded with a scrappy win in Newcastle and will hope that the dramas of the past month are behind them.
Take the experience here as Warren Joyce sets out to prove a point.
Back Melbourne City to Win @ $1.80
We are now almost a third into the 2016/2017 A-League season and it has been an intriguing campaign to date.
Sydney FC have been the early pace-setters and they face a tough assignment against Melbourne City on Friday night.
The Western Sydney Wanderers host the Melbourne Victory in what will likely be a spiteful clash on Saturday night before the Perth Glory host the Newcastle Jets.
The round concludes on Sunday when the Brisbane Roar face Adelaide United and you can find our thoughts on all five games below.
Friday 9 December, 6:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Sydney FC 1 - Melbourne City 1
This clash will be played at ANZ Stadium and is a genuine top of the table blockbuster.
Sydney FC returned to winning form with a comfortable victory over Newcastle and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
They have still only won five of their past 10 games as home favourites for a clear loss, but their record at ANZ Stadium is strong.
Melbourne City missed out on three points when they drew with the Brisbane Roar at home on Saturday night, but they have still not lost for over a month.
Their record as away underdogs is a profitable 2-4 and they will take plenty of confidence from the fact that they beat Sydney FC in the FFA Cup Final last weekend.
Melbourne City have the talent to beat Sydney FC and they are over the odds at their current price.
Back Melbourne City To Win @ $3.40
Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 10 December, 4:35pm, FMG Stadium
Wellington Phoenix 3 - Central Coast Mariners 0
Wellington Phoenix will go into this clash with a new manager after Ernie Merrick resigned following their defeat at the hands of Adelaide United.
Wellington have won just two of their past eight games, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Phoenix have won just one of their past four games as home favourites for a clear loss and their record in New Zealand has been particularly poor.
Central Coast were no match for the Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend and they have won just two of their past 14 games as away underdogs for a clear loss.
These are two teams that are very tough to trust from a betting perspective and I am happy to stay out of this clash.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 10 December, 6:50pm, ANZ Stadium
Western Sydney Wanderers 0 - Melbourne Victory 3
This is another massive game and there is very little separating these two teams in betting.
Western Sydney returned to winning form with a fairly dominant effort against the Central Coast Mariners and they will start this clash as narrow favourites.
The Wanderers have won only five of their past 13 games as home favourites for a narrow loss and the draw has been a far more common outcome.
Melbourne dropped two points to the Perth Glory at home last weekend, but will fancy their chances against a Western Sydney outfit that they have beaten in six of their past eight meetings.
The Victory have only won one of their past seven games as away underdogs and winning away from home has proven to be a real struggle over the past 12 months.
Both these teams should take a fairly conservative game plan into this clash and the $3.40 available for a stalemate is well over the odds.
Back The Draw @ $3.40
Saturday 10 December, 9:00pm, NIB Stadium
Perth Glory 1 - Newcastle Jets 2
Perth Glory have won their past eight games against the Newcastle Jets and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
Perth were able to take a point from their clash with the Melbourne Victory, but they have still only won one of their past six games.
In saying that, their record as home favourites is still a positive 5-2 and you can’t deny that they have a clear edge over the Newcastle Jets.
Newcastle have not won a game since they beat the Brisbane Roar almost two months ago and scoring goals has proven to be a real issue.
The Jets have not won any of their past 11 games as away underdogs and it is really tough to see that changing this weekend.
Perth are easily the safest bet of the weekend in the A-League.
Back Perth To Win @ $1.70
Sunday 11 December, 4:00pm, Suncorp Stadium
Brisbane Roar 4 - Adelaide United 0
Adelaide United were finally able to win their first game of the season, but it is the Brisbane Roar that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Brisbane have lost just the one game this season, but their past four games have remarkably ended as 1-1 draws.
Their record at Suncorp Stadium remains outstanding – they have won 11 of their past 14 games as home favourites for a clear profit.
Adelaide got the job done against Wellington, but they obviously face a much tougher challenge against the Brisbane Roar.
They have won three of their past eight games as away underdogs for a clear profit and their at Suncorp Stadium is excellent.
This is a match that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out from a betting perspective.