The Offside Trap – Round 5

Well, it’s that time of the week when A-League football rolls around after we’ve discussed and dissected the previous weeks football and look ahead to more fun, more controversy and most likely another yellow card for Matt Simon.

Melbourne city vs Central Coast Mariners – Friday night

Melbourne City are coming off the short week, which most AFL sides would complain about, having played Sunday against a plucky Wellington outfit. Thankfully for City, there was no travel this week with back to back games at AAMI Park.

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The architect of City’s third goal last weekend

City fans were worried that their attack would be hamstrung with out the presence of Jamie MacLaren but any worry soon dissipated thanks to goals from Connor Metcalfe, Scott Galloway and Terrible Officiating helped the Sky Blue side of Melbourne to a 3-2 win which, on balance was probably deserved.

They say gold is usually used to symbolise winning but for the Central Coast Mariners last Sunday they were quite happy to have Da Silva and Silver-a as the two helped push the Gosford outfit passed last season’s Premier’s in Sunday’s late game.

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Neil Kilkenny is in shock at seeing a decent footballer

The Mariners have started the season a lot better than most, including myself, had predicted. They are playing attractive football and will always push for a result in their favour. Sammy Silvera brings a bundle of enthusiasm to the squad, Milan Duric brings a touch of class and a killer shot and Da Silva is starting to show what he is capable of.

Friday night’s game will go the way of the Mariners 3-2 to continue their good run of form. Although City deserved to beat Wellington, they weren’t anything to write home about and the Mariners should give them a good run.

Newcastle Jets vs Perth Glory – Saturday Evening

Well, we thought we were in for a decent game of football last Friday night when Matt Millar rose above everyone else in the box and placed his header to level the scoreline at one goal a piece but then Newcastle collapsed faster than my neighbour’s Arbonne career. A 4-1 thumping showed that Newcastle have a lot of work to do to salvage anything this season.

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Here we see a fleet of damaged and grounded Jets

Like my first Tinder date four years ago, the tone for the evening was set within the first 17 seconds when Nigel Boogaard softly headed back to his keeper and Adam Le Fondre pounced but couldn’t score. From there it was an uphill battle all night but Sydney FC were just too good after their shock derby loss the week prior.

Speaking of sides that will need to bounce back from shock defeats, Perth got rolled by the Mariners on Sunday at home in a result few expected. Perth have had a stuttering start to the season with only the one win in four but two draws and of course last weekend’s loss. They will be looking to their Holy Trinity to fire into gear this week against the Jets.

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Perth are getting decent crowds this season. Is it because they are a good side or is there nothing to do in Perth on a Sunday?

The talk of the A-League last weekend was that Perth Glory had apparently made an offer to Zlatan for a six game guest stint in January. It would be a much needed boost to a competition that feels that it’s on life support for most of the year and it would be good for Zlatan. He would play alongside big names like Neil Kilkenny, Chris Harold and Dino Djulbic.

Anyway, back to Saturday’s clash. Perth will get the three points against the Jets with a 3-0 thumping Bruno Fall-and-rolly finding his range and scoring two out of the three Perth goals with assists from Diego Castro.

Western United vs Western Sydney – Saturday night

It seems that every game that Western United have played so far this season has been some for of Derby. Round 1 vs Wellington – The Coach Derby, Round 3 vs Melbourne City – The Irrelevant Melbourne Team Derby, Round 4 vs Victory – The New Derby and now Round 5 vs Western Sydney – The Western Derby.

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Tatts my ball and I’m going home!

For a new side to the competition this season, Western United showed some real character last week in defeating Melbourne Victory. Two goals down within 7 minutes would be alarm bells at any club but to the credit of Western United, they fought back one goal at a time and eventually hit the front in the second half and then managed to hold out a fast finishing Victory to secure a famous win. Now, I reckon that Diamanti and Kone are taking the piss in the A-League. They have shown in the first 4 rounds that they are a class above and bring some beautiful skill and class to the Western United side.

Mark Rudan must have been a driving instructor in another life. The bus parking job he did once United got in front was a wonderful and denied Victory, in the words of Cyndi Lauper, time after time.

Wanderers must have watched the first 2019/20 City-Victory derby prior to walking out on to Bankwest Stadium last Saturday afternoon. Their nil-all draw was up there with one of the more boring games so far this season. I can see why they call it a stalemate, everything about the Wanderers match was stale.

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Dylan McGowan couldn’t bear to watch any more

The boys in red and black were second best all afternoon and were very lucky to keep a clean sheet and walk away with a point. The defence was pushed all afternoon by the Roar attack and at times it was more a case of when the Roar would score, not if. It will sound harsh but if the Wanderers hadn’t signed Daniel Lopar and still had Vedran in goals then this game could have easily finished 3-0 to the Roar.

Western United will be too good for the Wanderers on Saturday night and will record win number 3 for the year 2-0.

Melbourne Victory vs Wellington Phoenix – Sunday Arvo

Sunday’s action gets underway with Melbourne Victory hosting Wellington Phoenix for the Gui Finkler Plate at AAMI Park.

Victory fans will be saying “Lucky we’re at AAMI” after opening the season with three games at the ironically named Marvel Stadium. Last Saturday night, Victory were like a kid on Christmas Day, up bright and early but wore out very quick then got a second wind but ran out of time. Ola Toivonen and Kristian Dobras got on the score sheet early and Victory finally looked like they were playing the football that fans had come to expect of them but by half time it had all come undone and by the 55th minute, the two goal lead they had enjoyed inside the first 10 mins was now a one goal deficit.

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Melbourne Victory suffered from premature celebration last Saturday night.

Wellington are asking themselves “What do we have to do to get a win in the A-League?”. They have been desperately unlucky so far this season and much like me on dates, they’ve been in with a shot about halfway through and then just fall away or run out of time. To Wellington’s credit, they are not playing bad football at all and should have had a point against Melbourne City last Sunday if it wasn’t for everyone’s favourite, Video Assistant Referee or VAR. Louis Fenton described it best in his post match interview with Archie Thompson when he said “It’s fucked” and he’s not wrong, VAR has become a blight on the game, whether it is getting the decision wrong or having too much influence over the referring.

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Ref, this is a hand. Not my chest!

Anyway, back to Wellington. It was good so see Super Gary Hooper get his first A-League goal on the weekend before Ben Waine (no relation to Bruce Wayne) buried an injury time goal to give the Nix a sniff but it wasn’t to be for them. Like an ashtray on a motorcycle, Wellington are currently pointless and rooted to the bottom of the table.

At AAMI on Sunday I can see Victory getting a 2-1 win over the Nix to make it five games, zero points for Wellington.

Adelaide United vs Brisbane Roar – Sunday Evening

Adelaide had the bye last weekend after travelling to Newcastle and needing a week of recovery after their FFA Cup win. Yeah, seems like that happened ages ago now. So, as we’ve discussed before here, Riley McGree is showing to potential that landed him a move to Europe a few years ago. He cannot stop scoring and dobbed another two against Newcastle a fortnight ago.

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That Riley McGree isn’t too bad hey lads?

Al Hassan Toure and McGree are proving to be a great attack like Crouch and Defoe in their Stoke days and Adelaide are just sneaking along under the radar which is just how they like it.

Brisbane were desperately unlucky against the Wanderers last weekend and deserved more than a point. The Brisbane defence managed to snuff out the attacking options of Meier, Duke and Yeboah while creating chances down the other end for Roy O’Donovan. How they didn’t score in the second half when Macaulay Gillesphey‘s header was cleared off the line by Alex Meier and then O’Donovan’s rebound was saved by Daniel Lopar. Other than that heart-stopping moment, there wasn’t much else worth talking about a what can only be describe as a boring match.

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The Roar gave up playing football last week and decided to give rugby a shot

Robbie Fowler has assembled what appears to be quite a decent sqaud, they just need to start finding some goals and they will be back on track. Adelaide will get the win on Sunday 2-1 with McGree and Toure popping up to score for the Reds.