Sydney is the Australian A-League minor premier-elect and the Sky Blues have handed out a couple of hammerings to Perth this season but they may be vulnerable to a shock reverse against the Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday.
Australia’s national team is in FIFA World Cup qualifying action this week but Football Federation Australia has not called a halt to its Australian A-League, which means that five of the competition’s 10 sides will have to line up without Socceroos stars. Sydney and Perth are two of the five Australian A-League teams that are missing players because of Socceroos commitments but the Sky Blues are worse off than the Glory. Australia coach Ange Postecoglou called up two influential members of Sydney’s defensive structure, goalkeeper Danny Vukovic and defender Rhyan Grant, whereas from Perth he selected only bit-part player Rhys Williams.
Sydney and Perth have clashed three times across various tournaments this term and the Sky Blues have had the upper hand over the Glory. Sydney required extra time to defeat Perth 2-0 in the Football Federation Australia Cup, Milos Ninkovic and Alex Brosque scoring in the 98th minute and the 113th minute respectively to fire the Sky Blues to victory in a tie that took place at a community stadium in Western Australia. In the A-League, Sydney has pummelled Perth 4-1 at home and away, with Sky Blues veteran Brosque having the distinction of having scored in those big wins as well.
Normally one would not even think about betting against a team blessed with Sydney’s head-to-head data but there are grounds for believing that the Sky Blues may come unstuck versus Perth this weekend and the odds that one can get – +240 with Marathonbet – are sufficiently attractive.
Vukovic and Grant are significant absentees for Sydney and Sky Blues boss Graham Arnold will almost certainly have to promote Andrew Redmayne to his side’s starting goalkeeper. Redmayne is on his fifth Australian A-League team because he has failed to make the grade at Central Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne City and Western Sydney. Every Australian A-League player knows that Redmayne is damaged goods and one expects that Perth will take every opportunity to pepper him with shots, making attempts from longer distances than usual.
Also, Sydney can afford to be complacent. There are just four Australian A-League rounds remaining, Sydney is 11 points clear at the top of the ladder and, if goes down to the wire, the Sky Blues will host lowly Newcastle in the final batch of games during the regular season. Indeed, unless Melbourne Victory wins at Brisbane on Saturday, Sydney will be the Australian A-League minor premier 24 hours before the Sky Blues tackle Perth on the road.
Perth has plenty for which to play. Third place on the Australian A-League ladder is a possibility for Perth in light of its remaining fixtures and the Glory have been the division’s second best performer over the last 10 rounds. No Australian A-League side has conceded more goals than Perth but the Glory boast the competition’s third best attack and Sydney’s heavily weakened rearguard may not be able to hold out the likes of Diego Castro, Andy Keogh and Adam Taggart. Castro represented Malaga, Gijon and Getafe in the Spanish Primera Division before moving to Perth in 2015 and earning the Johnny Warren Medal awarded to the Australian A-League’s top player for his performances in Glory purple last term.
One thinks that Perth is overpriced at odds of +240 to get the better of Sydney and one would not be at all surprised if Sunday’s Australian A-League match kicked off with the Glory as the favourite if Melbourne Victory fails to keep alive the title race by accounting for Brisbane.
Perth to beat Sydney
Sunday 26th March, 09:00 GMT