At the risk of sounding like a broken record, one wants to bet against Western Sydney in the Australian A-League for the third weekend in a row as the Wanderers lurch from one crisis to the next in their domestic season from hell. Last week, and the week before, we banked some nice profit so no need to slow down just yet.
Western Sydney was extremely lucky to win the AFC Champions League and it has been paying the price of that tournament triumph ever since. One tipped Australian A-League title favourite Melbourne Victory to hand out a home hammering to Western Sydney two weeks ago and last week one recommended backing bottom-of-the-ladder Newcastle to beat the weary Wanderers on the road. This week it is time for Western Sydney to rack up some air miles and Tony Popovic’s team will be lining up versus Perth at nib Stadium on Saturday.
The predicament in which Western Sydney finds itself is so bad that even fans of its fierce rival, Sydney, are feeling a bit sorry for the Wanderers. Western Sydney’s Australian A-League match at Perth will be its 11th assignment across various competitions in 36 days, the Wanderers have a long injury list and its most dangerous forward, Tomi Juric, is one of seven locally based players in Australia’s travelling party for its friendly games against Germany and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in European cities. Popovic is furious that Juric, who is carrying a minor knock, has had to make his way halfway around the world given Western Sydney’s numerous problems in the Australian A-League.
Popovic has operated a rotation system throughout his two and a half seasons as Western Sydney boss but he took it to extremes when the Wanderers hosted Newcastle last weekend. A game that would go a long way to deciding the Australian A-League wooden spoon became little more than a training exercise for Newcastle after Western Sydney started the match with a side that was mostly its young team with a sprinkling of second-rate senior players. Newcastle beat Western Sydney 2-1 but the Jets would have won much more emphatically had it not been for several poor refereeing decisions, including the worst offside call in football history. Newcastle striker Edson Montano was six yards onside when assistant referee Sarah Ho raised her flag.
Whereas Western Sydney simply cannot wait for its Australian A-League commitments to end, Perth is challenging for the championship and it will relish the opportunity to improve its goal difference, something that is likely to play a role in determining the title because five points cover the top five sides. Perth’s star player is former Ireland striker Andy Keogh and, therefore, it does not have anyone away on national team duty so it should be close to full strength, whereas Western Sydney is likely to field another weak side.
The aim of this weekly column is to highlight options that have the potential to pay out at big odds and the play that one likes is Perth to defeat Western Sydney by more than two goals, a bet that Boylesports and WilliamHill is offering at odds of +460 .
Perth and Western Sydney have met just once in this season’s Australian A-League so far. Perth beat Western Sydney 2-1 at nib Stadium in November, Dino Dulbic and Scott Jamieson on target for the Glory before Jaushua Sotirio netted a late consolation for the Wanderers. Western Sydney did not put out anything close to its strongest team in that Australian A-League game and one would be amazed if there is not a sustained gamble on the Wanderers losing at Perth in the lead up to Saturday’s match. So back Perth minus two goals early and watch the Glory’s odds shrink before kick off.
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