Opposing Western Sydney in the Australian A-League paid off handsomely for followers of last week’s article and one sees no reason not to oppose the Wanderers again given that bookmakers are listing them at silly odds to beat Newcastle on Saturday.
Actually, silly is an insufficiently strong word to describe what one thinks of Western Sydney’s odds – absurd is more like it. The Pirtek Stadium match will go a long way to determining the destiny of the Australian A-League wooden spoon since Western Sydney and Newcastle are locked together on 11 points with the Wanderers having seven games to go, one more than the Jets. Central Coast is eight points clear of Western Sydney and Newcastle so the Australian A-League wooden spoon is a race between the Wanderers and the Jets.
One tipped Western Sydney to lose by more than two goals to the Australian A-League’s premier side, Melbourne Victory, at Pirtek Stadium last time out. Even though Melbourne Victory was well off its fluid best – and it was without two of its regulars – Kevin Muscat’s team won 3-0 and missed a host of opportunities to boost its goal difference yet more. Western Sydney boss Tony Popovic made wholesale changes for the umpteenth Wanderers match in a row and one is confident that Popovic will play musical chairs again because of his side’s punishing schedule that shows no sign of relenting.
Western Sydney’s Australian A-League home loss to Melbourne Victory was its seventh match in 20 days, a workload that the sides from the great southern land find hard too handle because their squads are thin and their travel schedules are tough. Western Sydney’s AFC Champions League defence meant that it played Seoul in Korea on Wednesday so the Wanderers will be lining up for their ninth game in 28 days when they tackle Newcastle in the Australian A-League on Saturday.
One is not going to gild the lily about Newcastle: the Jets are bottom of the Australian A-League for a reason, and that reason is that they are poor. Newcastle coach Phil Stubbins has made a habit of bizarre tactical decisions and the Jets squad has undergone major surgery during the course of the Australian A-League season, primarily because a number of senior players were shown the door midway through it.
However, Western Sydney and Newcastle have met twice in the Australian A-League and both meetings resulted in 1-1 draws in which there was little to choose between the teams on the balance of play. As bad as Newcastle was in its 0-4 loss to the Australian A-League’s most inconsistent side, Melbourne City, on Sunday it should not be trading at odds of +400 with BetVictor to beat a Western Sydney team that is living out of a suitcase.
Backing Newcastle early is the sensible course of action because one can only see the Jets shortening as the week progresses. Astute punters backed Melbourne Victory off the boards last week and it is difficult to envisage a scenario in which Popovic does not name a below-strength Western Sydney side. Of course, Western Sydney does not want to win the Australian A-League wooden spoon but the AFC Champions League has to be its priority as it attempts to salvage its reputation by performing well on the international stage.
Newcastle Jets to beat Western Sydney
21st March 06:00 GMT
Where to Bet: BetVictor
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