David Zdrilic’s A-League Round 26 Preview: City Looking To Avoid Seeing Red Against Adelaide

Melbourne City v Adelaide United | Friday, April 7, 7.50pm (AEDT), AAMI Park

Convincingly beaten 3-0 by Sydney FC over the weekend and 3-1 by the Wanderers a fortnight ago, City will be concerned about their form heading into the finals.

They’ve slipped to fourth on the ladder and could drop even further if they slip-up against the in-form Reds.

Adelaide’s late season surge won’t help them make the finals, but they can use the positive turnaround in form to boost their chances in the remaining ACL games.

To do that, they need to keep the momentum building. Unbeaten in five matches and finally playing some good football, they will be eager to hit City while they’re in good form. 

KEY BATTLE: Bruno Fornaroli v Riley McGree

City need their captain to fire to help them out of their recent slump.

With 17 goals this season, he's one behind Berisha and Maclaren, so has the golden boot in sight as well.

McGree (pictured above) was excellent against Perth, which comes off the back of his recent call up to the Socceroos.  

The Verdict 

Both matches between these two sides ended in a 2-1 win for the home side.

With the Reds in-form and City desperate to avoid slipping further down the ladder, this match will end in a draw.

Unibet Odds: Melbourne City 1.62 Draw 4.25 Adelaide United 5.35

Tip: Draw 

Correct score: 1-1 

Wellington v Sydney FC | Saturday, April 8, 5.35pm (AEDT), Westpac Stadium

Phoenix have been impressive over the last two weeks with wins over the Jets and Victory.

Despite having seven players missing on international duty, they were able to smash the Jets 5-0 and back it up on Saturday with a 3-0 win over Victory.

Sydney FC are chasing an A-League points record, aiming to beat Brisbane Roar’s total of 65 points in a season.

With the way they’ve continued to blow away opponents, including a clinical 3-0 win over City on Saturday, you wouldn’t bet against them.

However, Sky Blues will be without the suspended Brillante and O’Neill, which will mean they have to reshuffle their team.

This will give the likes of David Carney, Milos Dimitrijevic and Bernie Ibini a shot at more game time, which again highlights the depth in Arnie’s squad.

KEY BATTLE: Roly Bonevacia v Alex Brosque

Bonevacia has scored three goals in two games and was man-of-the-match against Victory.

Brosque (pictured above) is having an outstanding season and has led Sydney superbly as captain.

The Verdict

Sydney FC have won both games against Phoenix this season and will make it a clean sweep despite Wellington’s recent form.

Unibet Odds: Wellington 3.80 Draw 4.00 Sydney FC 1.90

Tip: Sydney FC 

Correct score: Sydney FC 2-1 

Western Sydney v Melbourne Victory | Saturday, April 8, 7.50pm (AEDT), ANZ Stadium

The Wanderers continued their good form with a 3-0 win over the Jets which was even more impressive as it was done without their top scorer Santalab.

Western Sydney have jumped up to fifth position and can finish as high as third if they win their last two games and other results go their way.

It was a poor performance from Victory against Wellington, which may have to do with the fact they have nothing to play for.

They’re sitting safely in second spot and can’t move up or down.

This could be a dangerous situation for Melbourne as it’s crucial that teams in the finals are in good form to give themselves the best chance.

But with the pressure off, players can lower their intensity, which is hard to reverse.

KEY BATTLE: Kearyn Baccus v Besart Berisha

Baccus has forced his way into the side and has been in excellent form.

Berisha (pictured above) is tied at the top of the scoring charts and will want to jump ahead of Jamie Maclaren this week.

The Verdict 

Victory have won both games 3-0 this season but the Wanderers will feel they should’ve got more out of both matches.

Unibet Odds: Western Sydney 2.38 Draw 3.65 Melbourne Victory 2.90

Tip: Western Sydney 

Correct score: 2-1 

Perth v Brisbane | Saturday, April 8, 10pm (AEDT), NIB Stadium

Glory managed a draw with Adelaide after suffering two heavy losses in their previous rounds but they’ve now dropped to sixth position and can mathematically still drop out of the finals.

However, they’ll still be concerned at how many goals and chances they’re conceding.

At 48 goals against, they have clearly let in the most out of the top six sides.

A superb hat trick from Jamie Maclaren sealed a 5-1 win over the Mariners.

The striker has hit top form at the right time and helped his side jump into third spot with two games remaining.

Not only that, Maclaren is level with Berisha at the top of the golden boot stand-ins, so he has a personal goal to strive for as well.

KEY BATTLE: Andy Keogh v Jamie Maclaren

Keogh hasn’t scored in three weeks, so he’ll be looking to add to his 10 goals while Maclaren (pictured above) has the golden boot in his sights.

Games between these two have been close and this will be no different.

Unibet Odds: Perth 2.38 Draw 3.85 Brisbane 2.78

Tip: Draw 

Correct score: 2-2

Central Coast v Newcastle | Sunday, April 9, 5pm (AEDT), Central Coast Stadium

The Mariners are coming off a heavy defeat to the Roar and desperately need to win here if they are to avoid the wooden spoon.

With the Jets sitting just two points above them, a victory would see them leapfrog their nearest rivals.

Newcastle aren’t travelling well either and their defence has fallen to pieces.

It was just a few weeks ago when the Jets were in the driving seat and looking to secure a top six spot.

But how things change and now Mark Jones is hoping to avoid a last-placed finish.

KEY BATTLE: Roy O'Donovan v Andrew Nabbout

O’Donovan has 11 goals and Nabbout (pictured above) eight, so it will be up to them to help save their sides from the wooden spoon.

The Verdict

Both matches between these two have ended in a 1-1 draw and this game will be the same.

Unibet Odds: Central Coast 2.45 Draw 3.70 Newcastle 2.75

Tip: Draw 

Correct score: 1-1

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