After Round 21 dragged on across nine days, we are back to five game across three days for Round 22 of the A-League.
Sydney and the Victory are pulling double duty now with both sides coming back from away trips in the Asian Champions League.
As it so happens those two are locked in a batter for second spot behind Perth and Sydney currently holds the upper hand with a four point lead going into this weekend.
Check out our previews and predictions for every A-League match this weekend.
Adelaide United Vs Perth Glory
Friday 15 March, 7:50pm, Coopers Stadium
Perth’s magic number for its maiden A-League trophy sits at 4.
They can reduce that number with another win here against an Adelaide side they have not conceded to so far this season.
Firing blanks is nothing new for the Reds having been held scoreless in their last two games and having onle scored more than one goal once in their last seven.
On top of that, there is the intangible factor behind Perth right now with the side seemingly incapable of losing, and any time you can get the league leaders at over even money, you have to back that.
Back Perth to Win @ $2.30
Newcastle Jets Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 16 March, 5:35pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
It was a funny little joke a month ago but as it so happens, the Jets are in the finals mix thanks to a five game unbeaten run.
They still need to close a four point gap on Melbourne City but playing the Mariners this weekend is about as close to a guaranteed three points you can get.
The Jets have won the last five F3 derbies and the Mariners are reeling from an embarrassment last weekend.
An 8-2 loss saw Mike Mulvey sacked and former Matildas coach Alen Stajic brought in as caretaker.
Newcastle’s last three wins have all been by two or more goals and with the mismatch in confidence between these sides that run should be extended here.
Back Newcastle to Win -1 Goal @ $1.85
Melbourne Victory Vs Brisbane Roar
Saturday 16 March, 7:50pm, Marvel Stadium
This could be the week where Brisbane Roar are officially eliminated from A-League Finals contention… although their current chances are minute at best.
Instead the rest of their season will be focused on playing spoiler and they can put a dent in Melbourne Victory’s hopes of a top two finish here.
That being said this is still a huge mismatch, even if the Victory opt to rotate their squad after a midweek Asian Champions League match.
The Roar are struggling to find healthy defenders and are shipping goals at an alarming rate with 13 goals in their last three games.
The first two meetings this season have gone the way of Victory by a combined aggregate of 9-2 and the value play here is backing the home side with a -1 handicap.
Back Victory to Win -1 Goal @ $2.00
Wellington Phoenix Vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday 17 March, 5:00pm, Westpac Stadium
The Wanderers are not going away just yet and with ten points from their last four games, they have managed to double their season total in that time.
A finals berth is still an outside chance with a ten point gap to sixth place and with the teams above them likely to drop points, they could catapult themselves into the race with a win here.
Of course you have to remember that Wellington put together the most ruthless display of the season crushing an abject Mariners side 8-2 last weekend.
Looking back at the history of this fixture, there have been plenty of goals with the winner scoring three or more in six of the last seven meetings, so if you want a bit of extra value look into the total goals market.
That being said, with Wellington at or around even money in the head to head market, that’s more than enough to back in with confidence.
Back Wellington to Win @ $2.00
Sydney FC Vs Melbourne City
Sunday 17 March, 7:00pm, Leichardt Oval
The third and final light blue derby of the season and Sydney will likely rotate some of their players out after travelling back from Japan.
With the Premiers Plate still an outside chance for the Sky Blues, they will want to be careful changing too much, for fear of disrupting what has been a winning formula against the City Blues.
It’s been a rough run for Melbourne City losing its last seven A-League games against Sydney and the side has not won an A-League match since January 22.
New signing Jamie Maclaren has scored all five of City’s goals since his arrival but he could be in for a rough afternoon against a Sydney side that has kept back to back clean sheets.
Perhaps it’s over simplification but Sydney is the better team here and should win this game.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $1.91
A second split round in three weeks marks Round 22 of the A-League as Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC prepare for another round of Asian Champions League fixtures.
The Melbourne Derby on Friday night highlights this round with a double feature of Wanderers action as their Round 23 game against Perth is brought forward to the first half of this split round.
Read on for our A-League match previews and recommended plays with the second half to come next week.
Melbourne City Vs Melbourne Victory
Friday 2 March, 7:50pm, AAMI Park
Following on from the spectacle of Sunday’s Sydney Derby, this split round gets underway with the third and final Melbourne Derby of the season.
It was a wild finish to the pre-Christmas meeting as the Victory stole the game thanks to a late penalty converted by the departed Mark Milligan.
Both sides enter this game with top four aspirations and City could put a dent in Victory’s hopes with a win here.
Neither side comes into this game in great form however the emotion and atmosphere of the night should bring out the best in some players.
I expect City to come into this game with a much better plan than what they had in December and it will be decided by a moment of magic from Daniel Arzani.
Back Melbourne City to Win @ $2.30
Newcastle Jets Vs Sydney FC
Saturday 3 March, 5:35pm, McDonald Jones Stadium
If there is one compliment you can give Graham Arnold’s all conquering side, it’s that they continue to produce week in and week out with professional performances.
They absorbed some early pressure from the Wanderers in last week’s derby before fighting back to claim what was a comfortable win in the end.
Newcastle have shown a willingness to attack and cause some headaches for Sydney, as evidenced by their 2-2 draw against the Sky Blues last month.
Even with their attacking lineup getting healthier as the season progresses, it is still too hard to see them finding a way to stop Sydney.
Back Sydney FC to Win @ $2.10
Brisbane Roar Vs Adelaide United
Saturday 3 March, 7:50pm, Suncorp Stadium
After an ill-timed loss to the Jets last week, it is approaching desperation time for the Brisbane Roar.
To ensure they are able to keep pace with the top six they need to start winning games and this is a great opportunity to pull one back against an Adelaide side they have played well against this season.
During their last meeting the Roar produced a phenomenal rearguard action and overcame the sending off of skipper Matt McKay late in the first half.
Adelaide will remember their round two win at Suncorp fondly and look to replicate that late show.
With neither side really in a position to afford a loss this has the makings of a cagey match as both sides try to protect their own goal.
Back the Draw @ $3.50
RESCHEDULED ROUND 23 MATCH
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Perth Glory
Sunday 4 March, 5:00pm, Spotless Stadium
Looking to rebound from last week’s wet and wild derby, the Wanderers host Perth in a game that the Glory desperately need to win.
With just seven points away from home this season it will be a big ask to overcome the Wanderers however much like the Roar, their season depends on finding a way to turn things around.
Western Sydney meanwhile could use as many points as possible to protect themselves from a possible points deduction due to fan behaviour.
One of their strengths this season has been finding ways to pick up points even with the rocky start and before the loss to Sydney, they had done so in their past three games.
In a game like this, take the home side that looks better on paper and that is just what I will do here.
Back Western Sydney Wanderers to Win @ $1.91
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Wellington Phoenix
Saturday 10 March, 7:50pm, Spotless Stadium
Coming off an entertaining game last weekend against Perth, the Wanderers face off against bottom placed Wellington needing three points to help their push for a finals berth.
After losing in their last start, Wellington are now three points adrift at the bottom of the table.
These sides met four weeks prior to this game and the Phoenix were resoundingly beaten 4-0 at ANZ Stadium as the Wanderers found a way to end their second half scoring woes.
Since then, the Wanderers have produced two draws and a loss and with Brisbane closing in on them for sixth spot, the breathing room from three points should motivate the Wanderers to get over the line.
Back Western Sydney Wanderers to Win @ $1.83
Perth Glory Vs Central Coast Mariners
Saturday 10 March, 10:00pm, NiB Stadium
Another side that is approaching zero margin for error territory is Perth after their draw in Western Sydney.
Their recent form is encouraging with wins from their last two games at home.
Central Coast enter this game fresh off a weekend of rest and prior to that, their first win in almost three months.
The home side has won both fixtures this season which should push some interest towards Perth however the week off for Central Coast should negate that somewhat.
With the way both sides have looked lately, it is too hard to split them apart.
Back the Draw @ $3.60
There is now just over a month left in the 2016/2017 A-League season and there are plenty of massive games this weekend.
There is no love lost between Sydney FC and the Melbourne Victory and they will do battle on Friday night in what is easily the match of the round.
Every point matters at this stage of the season and all five games will likely have finals consequences.
Sydney FC Vs Melbourne Victory
Friday 3 March, 6:50pm, Allianz Stadium
Sydney FC returned to winning form with a comfortable victory over Melbourne City and they will go into this clash as clear favourites.
The Sky Blues have now won six of their past 10 games as home favourites and they continue to be a very safe betting proposition.
Melbourne took a while to break their rivals down, but they eventually found the back of the net against Adelaide United.
The Victory have won only two of their past six games as away underdogs for a clear loss and they have already been beaten by Sydney FC twice this season.
Sydney FC just keep on winning and they should get the job done again this weekend.
Back Sydney FC To Win @ $1.95
Wellington Phoenix Vs Perth Glory
Saturday 4 March, 4:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The market suggests that this will be the most even game of the weekend and there is very little between the two sides in betting.
Perth kept their unbeaten run alive with a comfortable victory over the Western Sydney Wanderers and they will go into this clash as narrow favourites.
The Glory have won only one of their four games as away favourites this season, but they have won their past four games against the Wellington Phoenix.
Wellington recorded an upset win over the Brisbane Roar last weekend and they will take some confidence from that performance.
Winning at home has been an issue for Wellington this season and they have won just one of their past eight games as away underdogs.
Perth have more talent across the pitch than Wellington and they are good value to record a win away from home.
Back Perth Glory To Win @ $2.40
Western Sydney Wanderers Vs Adelaide United
Saturday 4 March, 6:50pm, Spotless Stadium
The Western Sydney Wanderers continue to struggle for consistency, but they will still go into this clash with Adelaide United as clear favourites.
Western Sydney have been particularly poor in front of their home fans this season and they have won just two of their past 10 games as home favourites, while they have drawn six games in this scenario.
Adelaide United have lost five of their past eight games and they suffered another defeat at the hands of the Melbourne Victory last week.
The defending champions have won just one of their past nine games as away underdogs for a clear loss, but they have drawn three of their games in this scenario.
Backing draws in Western Sydney games has been a profitable betting play all season long and the $3.80 available for the draw is genuine value.
Back The Draw @ $3.80
Central Coast Mariners Vs Melbourne City
Sunday 5 March, 4:00pm, Central Coast Stadium
The Central Coast Mariners have been in excellent form over the past month, but it is Melbourne City that will start this clash as favourites.
Melbourne City have struggled for consistency this season and their form away from home has been particularly poor – they have won only two of their past seven games as away favourites for a clear loss.
Central Coast earnt a hard-fought draw against the Newcastle Jets last weekend and they have taken at least a point from four of their past five games.
The Mariners have won three of their past 12 games as home underdogs for a very narrow loss and they are genuine value to record an upset victory this weekend.
Back Central Coast To Win @ $3.80
Newcastle Jets Vs Brisbane Roar
Sunday 5 March, 6:00pm, Hunter Stadium
The Brisbane Roar’s form slump went from bad to worse with their loss at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix, but they will still go into this clash as narrow favourites.
The Roar have now won just two of their past eight games and their record against Newcastle is fairly poor.
Brisbane have won only two of their past five games as away favourites and are very tough to trust as a betting proposition in their current form.
Newcastle have not won in a month, but their recent form has been better than it looks on paper.
The Jets have won three of their past nine games as home underdogs for a clear profit and they are great value to account for the Roar this weekend.
Back Newcastle To Win @ $2.90