Wed, Nov 30, 11:24am by Jake Equid
As we head into Round Nine of the A-League season, the top of the table looks closer than it has for much of the opening two months of the season. Sydney’s second straight draw saw gave both Melbourne clubs the opportunity to close the gap on the Sky Blues, a chance they both took.
The Sydneysiders’ lead at the summit is now just four points ahead of Melbourne City and a further three back to Victory, who have a game in hand.
Speaking of both Sydney FC and Melbourne City, they met in the FFA Cup final on Wednesday night in what was a history making night with Tim Cahill heading home the winner in the 53rd minute to give City their first ever piece of silverware.
Round Nine kicks off at the same venue that hosted that final (AAMI Park) on Friday night when the Victory look to make it four home wins in a row against Perth.
The following day, the Wanderers are $2 favourites when they head to Gosford to play the Mariners ($3.30). The Mariners look like they are over the odds in this one to me, coming off their best performance of the season, a 2-0 win over Perth.
The last fixture of the round sees the bottom two teams in the league face off when Adelaide host the Phoenix. The Champions are $1.82 favourites to finally get a win against Wellington who are $3.80.
WATCH: Our Preview of Week 9 of the A-League
Here’s the best three bets for ninth round of the A-League season:
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Friday December 2, 7:50pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory head into Friday night’s match as the shortest-priced favourites of the round against Perth Glory who have a poor away record, although they did get a win last time they played in Melbourne, in round three against City.
If the Glory are to achieve an upset here, their star striker Andy Keogh will need to continue his good form, he’s scored six goals already this campaign, just one behind City’s Bruno Fornaroli.
In third place in the Golden Boot standings is Victory’s Marco Rojas with five goals, which considering he’s missed three games is a brilliant effort. He scored a second-half double to ensure his club got the three points last week against the Jets.
That win moved Victory into third position with a game in hand. They’ve won their last three home games and I’m backing them to make it four in a row here. Glory on the other hand are having real trouble away from Perth, having lost three straight games on the road.
BEST BET: Victory to win: $1.60
Melbourne City v Brisbane Roar, AAMI Park, Melbourne, Saturday December 3, 7:50pm AEDT
Second plays fourth in the match of the round when Melbourne City host the Roar in Melbourne on Saturday night. City have not lost for a month, but guess who was the last team to beat them?
The home side will start as favourites at $1.95 but I think they may be a bit short when you consider Brisbane’s solid away form this season. The Roar are $3.45 for their second away win of the season but the draw is what interests me at $3.50.
Brisbane’s away form consists of a win and two draws from their four games away from Suncorp Stadium – the only blemish was the aberration against the Mariners in round two.
The home side will still be on a high after winning the FFA Cup on Wednesday night which was without doubt the biggest moment in the club’s history since it was founded in 2009.
City coach John van’t Schip kept regulars Tim Cahill, Bruce Kamau and Nicolas Calazo on the bench last week in a bid to keep them fresh for Wednesday’s decider which ultimately led to their first ever trophy. The FFA Cup win came at a cost though with Cahill coming off just before the hour mark after Josh Brillante crashed into his left knee from behind.
Cahill is expected to be out for several weeks but the club hasn’t confirmed this as yet. All Cup finals are energy sapping affairs I have my doubts as to whether City can back up for this one.
The visitors have now managed three draws in their past three matches and I’m backing that run to continue to four here. They’ve showed on many occasions this season that they are well organised in defence and proved that in this fixture at the beginning of November when they frustrated City, winning 1-0.
BEST BET: Draw: $3.50
Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, Sunday December 4, 5:00pm AEDT
After two straight draws, the Sky Blues head up the F3 to the Hunter Valley to take on the Jets, who’ve hit a real rough patch, both in the medical room and on the pitch.
The hosts are now winless in six league matches, stretching back to their 4-0 home win over the Roar way back in round two. Sydney FC are coming off their worst performance of the season, where they only managed a single shot on goal in their 0-0 draw with the Champions, Adelaide.
Despite this, they are still four points clear on top of the table and will go in as heavy favourites ($1.65) to get back into the winners’ circle. The Jets are not given much hope at $4.65 with the draw at $3.70.
Last week, Newcastle’s understrength defence allowed the Victory to record a season-high 20 shots on goal with two of them ending up in the back of the net.
In fairness to the Novacastrians though, they have been decimated by injury with Nigel Boogaard (knee), Daniel Mullen (knee) and Lachlan Jackson (ankle) all sidelined. Goalkeeper Ben Kennedy (Achilles) also missed last week.
Sydney FC had a huge penalty shout turned down in the 91st minute of Wednesday’s FFA Cup final but ultimately came up short. I’m backing them to bounce back against the injury-plagued Jets.
BEST BET: Sydney FC to win: $1.65
MULTI OF THE WEEK: Combining the below for $9.24 at William Hill
Victory to win: $1.60
City v Roar – Draw: $3.50
Sydney FC to win: $1.65
A-League Round Nine odds:
Melbourne Victory $1.60 v Perth Glory $4.65 Draw $4
Central Coast Mariners $3.30 v Western Sydney $2 Draw $3.50
Melbourne City $1.95 v Brisbane Roar $3.45 Draw $3.50
Newcastle Jets $4.65 v Sydney FC $1.65 Draw $3.70
Adelaide United $1.82 v Wellington Phoenix $3.80 Draw $3.60
Odds supplied by William Hill and were correct at the time of publishing*
All times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT)*
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