Ruthless Melbourne can do it again
Western United v Melbourne City
There was only one word to describe Melbourne City’s latest performance. Ruthless.
After going a goal down, it somehow took 12 minutes for Craig Noone, the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder, to equalise. I say ‘somehow’ purely because the home side were far better than Wanderers in every department. Quite frankly, it was a miracle Wanderers were able to hold on until half-time still level.
City’s manager, Patrick Kisnorbo, only had to ask for more of the same in his half-time team talk. Whatever was said, clearly worked, as his side were 3-1 up inside ten minutes of the restart. It was almost four just shy of the hour mark if it wasn’t for VAR to rule out Luna’s effort.
The onslaught didn’t stop there, and Jamie Maclaren put the cherry on top of a phenomenal performance in the 92d minute.
29 shots, 17 corners and the only thing Tom Glover had to do was pick the ball out of his net once.
Title winning performance
But this isn’t the first team we’ve seen total dominance from Melbourne City, and there’s a reason why they have won six on the bounce, as they look to leapfrog both Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners in the league.
The Sky Blues have scored 17 goals and conceded just three in those six matches as well, which isn’t good news for Western United.
Western United have had mixed results of late. They currently occupy 10th position, winning just four games out of their 11 so far.
They’ve shipped in as many as they have scored (18), although to be fair, they’ve only lost once at home this season. That was to WS Wanderers – the team Melbourne City obliterated last week.
A similar story to the one we saw last Friday played out when these two sides met earlier in the season. Melbourne conceded first after a sluggish start, before a constant onslaught saw Noone and Maclaren on the scoresheet once again to claim all three points.
It’ll be quite the surprise if neither Maclaren or Noone fail to make the scoresheet on Thursday.
Maclaren is the league’s top goalscorer with 12, but the home side have two capable goalscorers in their ranks too, with both Besart Berisha and Dylan Pierias sitting on five goals each. Both are fit and available, which hasn’t been the case for all games this season, which is a reason as to why they are nearer the bottom of the table, rather than the top.
Looking at the fixture, it’s difficult to get away from another Melbourne City win considering their form. However, at just 1.674/6, it’s a little on the short side, and there’s more than one reason as to why goals are also a safe option.
With Western United struggling defensively, adding over 2.5 goals to the Melbourne City to win bumps the odds up to 2.35/4 which is a very fair price.
Adelaide to halt Mariners progress
Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
It’s safe to say no one expected Central Coast Mariners to be at the top of the table at any stage of the season, and so for them still to be there after 14 games is quite the achievement. But this may be the last weekend we see them hold onto that position.
Melbourne City can leapfrog the Mariners with a victory over Western United, who will then still have played a game less than the current leaders.
But it isn’t City the Mariners should be concerned about. Visitors Adelaide United, currently occupy second spot after also winning six on the bounce.
The Mariners have shown their inability to carry on their winning streak of late. Having not won in three, this includes a 1-1 draw to Melbourne Victory last time. Victory have only picked up eight points this season but very much deserved their point against the Mariners, who looked out of ideas for most of the match.
It really isn’t an ideal time for the Mariners to be facing another title rival in Adelaide United.
United have gone about their business and have kind of snuck under the radar. Three convincing victories over Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets (twice), was followed by an excellent 1-0 victory over league favourites Sydney.
The pricing on this game doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not sure how the Mariners come into this as the firm favourite, and with Adelaide United winning and scoring for fun of late, Adelaide United Draw No Bet at 5/4 looks a fantastic bet to be on.