A-League Round 2 Preview: Cahill's City Heading Into Melbourne Derby Against Victory

Brisbane v Adelaide United | Friday, October 13, 7.50pm (AEDT), Suncorp Stadium

As one of only two teams to be kept scoreless in the opening round, Brisbane will be keen to get on the scoresheet when they entertain Adelaide United

The return of formers Socceroos attacking midfielder Brett Holman (pictured above) is a timely boost with John Aloisi’s men still without French winger and new signing Eric Bautheac who is yet to make his A-League debut due to visa issues.

There were plenty of positive signs for Adelaide, albeit against an undermanned Phoenix outfit in Wellington.

The Reds moved the ball around with gusto and precision and Johan Absalonsen (pictured below) headed in a nice goal, his first league goal since December last year. 

The Verdict

The return of the creative Holman is a significant boost for the Roar and his attacking flair in the midfield sways this one the way of the home side. 

Unibet Odds: Brisbane 2.30 Draw 3.55 Adelaide United 3.10

Tip: Brisbane

Western Sydney v Central Coast | Saturday, October 14, 5.35pm (AEDT), Spotless Stadium

Any fears the sudden departure of Tony Popovic would derail the Wanderers’ campaign were put to rest in an emphatic display in a 2-1 defeat of the Glory.

The Wanderers showed plenty of life in the post-Popovic era executing a free-flowing style of football featuring rapid fire passing and clinical finishing.

The visiting Mariners have major concerns down back after conceding five in an ugly 5-1 defeat to the Jets in the F3 derby.

Paul Okon’s men, however, can take heart in the fact they had 64 percent of the possession.

The Verdict 

Hard seeing anything but a Wanderers victory after the way both teams played in the opening round.

Central Coast may have dominated possession against the Jets but they turned the ball too many times and that will play right in the hands of the Wanderers.

Unibet Odds: Western Sydney 1.40 Draw 5.05 Central Coast 7.75

Tip: Western Sydney 

Melbourne Victory v Melbourne City | Saturday, October 14, 7.50pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium

Socceroos saviour Tim Cahill makes his maiden appearance for Melbourne City in the new campaign after missing last week’s opening round match on Socceroos duty.

After heading home two superlative headers for the Socceroos against the Syrians, Cahill leads a buoyant City against Victory in this season’s first Melbourne derby.

As he showed against Syria, the Socceroos veteran is one of the world’s leading exponents in the air and Victory’s defenders will have their hands full trying to curtail his dominance in the air in front of goal.

After a spicy Grand Final matchup against Sydney FC, Kevin Muscat’s troops face another high stakes match against Cahill’s City.

Muscat employed an aggressive, relentless press against the Sky Blues and it’ll be interesting to see if the Victory replicate that against City.

The Verdict

Victory will feel unlucky not to get a result from last week’s Big Blue and they’ll look to make amends in the always fiercely contested Melbourne derby. 

While the return of Socceroos hero Cahill is a significant boost for City, Victory also regain a trio of internationals in Mark Milligan (pictured above), Kosta Barbarouses and James Troisi, so this will be hard fought to the end. 

Unibet Odds: Melbourne Victory 2.30 Draw 3.65 Melbourne City 3.00

Tip: Draw

Newcastle v Perth | Sunday, October 15, 5pm (AEDT), McDonald Jones Stadium

New Jets signing Roy O’Donovan (pictured above) sits atop of the league’s golden boot standings after netting a hat-trick against the Mariners in a one-sided F3 derby.

The high-flying Jets put five past the Mariners with O’Donovan torching his former side with the A-League’s first hat-trick in the opening round.

Glory came alive in the second half of their 2-1 defeat to the Wanderers but will lament a poor opening half where they looked brittle down back.

They’ll need to rectify those defensive issues against the Jets, who have shown they mean business with ball in hand.

The Verdict

Expect plenty of goals in this one which looks headed for a scoring draw.

Unibet Odds: Newcastle 2.20 Draw 3.85 Perth 3.05

Tip: Draw 

Sydney FC v Wellington | Sunday, October 15, 7pm (AEDT), Allianz Stadium

Sydney FC’s championship defence got off to the perfect start after collecting all three points from their Big Blue stoush with Melbourne Victory in the Big Blue.

The Sky Blues showed great resolve to withstand and absorb Victory’s aggressive ‘press’ and if the Phoenix employ those tactics against the Sky Blues, they’ll be well-equipped to handle it.

Graham Arnold will need manage his players’ playing time this week with this game the second of two games in five days after Wednesday’s FFA Cup semi-final against South Melbourne.

An undermanned Wellington salvaged a point against the Reds but will be bolstered by the return of Michael McGlinchey, Thomas Doyle and Andrew Durante from international duty. 

The Verdict 

Sydney FC’s feared defence delivered another clean sheet and another perfect defensive effort against the Phoenix will see them continue a perfect start to the new campaign. 

Unibet Odds: Sydney FC 1.35 Draw 5.10 Wellington 9.50

Tip: Sydney 

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