[close]

A-League round 18 preview panel

A preview of round 18 A-League clashes.

A-League round 18 preview panel

A preview of round 18 A-League clashes.

DIMITRI PETRATOS of the Jets in action during the A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Australia.
DIMITRI PETRATOS of the Jets in action during the A-League match between the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Australia. Picture:Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images

PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND-18 MATCHES (all times AEDT):

THURSDAY, Feb 7:


Newcastle v Wellington at McDonald Jones Stadium, 7:50pm

Head to Head: Phoenix 19 Jets 11 Drawn 5

Last clash: Round 1 2018-19 - Phoenix 2 - Jets 1 at Westpac Stadium

Newcastle are sweating on the fitness of chief playmaker Dimi Petratos as they prepare for a clash that will shape their season. Eight points adrift of sixth-placed Wellington, Ernie Merrick's men need the points if they are to stay within touching distance of a finals berth. Petratos is battling lower back soreness but will be given until game-day to prove his fitness. The Phoenix have won just two of their past 14 A-League games on the road, but did have success on their last visit to McDonald Jones Stadium.

Key: Dimi Petratos. If he starts, he'll be a handful for the visitors, boasting two goals from his past three games against the Phoenix and more shot attempts than any other player this season.

Tip: Jets

FRIDAY, Feb 8:

Brisbane v Sydney FC at Suncorp Stadium, 7:50pm

Head to Head: Roar 19 Sydney 13 Drawn 13

Last clash: Round 10 2018-19 - Sydney 2 - Roar 1 at Jubilee Oval

The Roar haven't won an A-League game in 11 attempts, losing 4-3 last weekend after jumping to a 3-0 lead. One point behind second-placed Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC have plenty to play for at Suncorp Stadium, where the hosts haven't won since November. Former Iranian striker Reza 'Gucci' Ghoochannejhad will debut for the Sky Blues, who will also be bolstered by the return of return of skipper Alex Brosque (foot) and Michael Zullo (suspension). Brisbane will be without suspended custodian Jamie Young after the in-form goalkeeper's red card last weekend.

Key: The Roar need a fast start. Brisbane haven't scored in the first 15 minutes of a game this season and have conceded seven - three more than any other side - in the same period.

Tip: Sydney

SATURDAY, Feb 9:

Western Sydney v Central Coast at Spotless Stadium, 5:35pm

Head to Head: Wanderers 10 Mariners 5 Drawn 6

Last clash: Round 2 2018/19 Wanderers 2 - Mariners 0 at Spotless Stadium

With just three wins between them from 34 games this season, a win for either team would be some welcome respite. That's especially the case for the Wanderers and coach Markus Babbel, who has come under fire since his side's most-recent 5-1 loss to the Jets. There are still 10 games remaining before finals, giving the newcomer plenty of time to show his worth and the Mariners a chance to turn their promising performances into points.

Key: Andrew Hoole. The Mariner has scored all three goals for his club in the past two games, with two coming from set pieces.

Tip: Wanderers

Melbourne City v Adelaide United at AAMI Park, 7:50pm

Head to Head: City 10 Reds 10 Drawn 6

Last clash: Round 8 2018/19 - City 2 - Reds 0 at Coopers Stadium

Melbourne can jump into the top four and ahead of United, who haven't beaten them in their past four clashes. United haven't managed a goal in those games, but City aren't exactly prolific at the moment, going goalless in their past two fixtures. Star Uruguayan striker Bruno Fornaroli continues to twiddle his thumbs in the stands, as Socceroos marksman and former Roar striker Jamie Maclaren prepares for his A-League return.

Key: Jamie Maclaren. Can the former Roar striker make an immediate impact for City or can Craig Goodwin send another statement after his Asian Cup omission?

Tip: City

SUNDAY, Feb 10:

Melbourne Victory v Perth at AAMI Park, 5:00pm

Head to Head: Glory 16 Victory 15 Drawn 10

Last clash: Round 2 2018/19 - Glory 3 - Victory 2 at AAMI Park.

A Victory win at home would take them within one point of the ladder-leading Glory. Melbourne have lost just one of their past 13 matches at home but the Glory did prevail 3-2 when they last met at AAMI Park in October. Injuries have stretched Victory in recent times, however the injection of NPL standout Elvis Kamsoba in last weekend's comeback defeat of the Mariners is an example of their depth.

Key: Chris Ikonomidis. A conversion rate of 85.7 per cent of his "big chances" this season proves he's likely to make Victory pay if presented with an opportunity.

Tip: Victory

AAP


AAP




Latest Stories