By Thomas Flewker-Barker
Sydney FC vs Newcastle Jets
KO: 7:30pm AEDT, Friday 1 November 2019
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Sydney FC will be hoping to bounce back from derby-day disappointment as they face Newcastle Jets later today.
Sydney will be boosted by the long-awaited return of Trent Buhagiar after he was announced in their extended squad for the round 4 fixture. Buhagiar suffered a major ACL injury at the beginning of last season and has spent the past year on the sidelines.
The Sky Blues produced a good performance against the Wanderers on Saturday evening, but lacked killer instinct. Adam Le Fondre will be key for Sydney to rediscover their scoring touch.
Newcastle centre-backs Nigel Boogaard and Nikolai Topor-Stanley will need to be at the top of their game if they are to prevent Sydney’s forward line from influencing the game.
Abdiel Arroyo scored his maiden A-League goal in round 3, and the Jets will be hoping that both he and Dimi Petratos produce the goods in attack.
Will Newcastle upset the odds at Leichhardt Oval tonight? Ernie Merrick will certainly hope so.
Players to watch: Adam Le Fondre (Sydney FC), Nigel Boogaard (Newcastle Jets)
Score Prediction: Sydney FC 2-0 Newcastle Jets
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Brisbane Roar
KO: 5:00pm AEDT, Saturday 2 November 2019
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
The Wanderers – rejuvenated off the back of their first derby win since February 2017 – are looking to extend their winning streak to four consecutive games.
Mitchell Duke and Daniel Georgievski have earned plaudits for their performances in the opening three rounds of the 2019/20 campaign.
The pair – who both signed for the Wanderers this year – combined to score the winner against Sydney in front of a sold out Bankwest Stadium.
Markus Babbel yesterday told the media that Nicolai Muller will be on the bench for the clash. Tarek Elrich returns to the squad after missing two weeks through injury.
Alternatively, Brisbane succumb to a 1-0 loss at the hands of Melbourne Victory in round 3. Roy O’Donovan will be hoping to redeem himself after blazing a clear cut effort over the bar in the second half.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway made a big impression of the bench against Perth and Victory – will the big Welshman earn himself a start against the Wanderers?
Manager Robbie Fowler has announced the same squad for the trip south as his side hunt for their first victory.
Fowler named an unchanged side last weekend and it will be intriguing to see if the boss will reshuffle the pack or keep confidence in his players.
The Wanderers well and truly feel back! Can Brisbane prevent their winning run from extending? We find out on Saturday…
Players to watch: Mitchell Duke (Western Sydney Wanderers), Aaron Amadi-Holloway (Brisbane Roar)
Score Prediction: Western Sydney Wanderers 2-1 Brisbane Roar
Melbourne Victory vs Western United
KO: 7:30pm AEDT, Saturday 2 November 2019
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Melbourne Victory come into the fixture on a high after claiming their first win of the A-League season last Friday.
Last weeks goalscorer – Andrew Nabbout – will face a spell on the sidelines after being substituted in the 35th minute against Brisbane. This adds another name to Victory’s extensive injury list.
Brendan White, announced as an injury replacement for Matt Acton this week, may take a seat on the bench, and Anthony Lesiotis returns to the squad after missing out in round 3 through illness.
Emotions will run high for Besart Berisha as he returns to the club for which he scored 68 times. The A-League’s all-time top scorer admitted earlier this week that he “didn’t expect to play them so early” in the campaign.
Berisha has started in fine form this season with two goals already to his name.
Will Berisha celebrate in front of the Northern Terrace? For the sake of Western United fans, hopefully we will find out.
Players to watch: Migjen Basha (Melbourne Victory), Besart Berisha (Western United)
Score Prediction: Melbourne Victory 1-2 Western United
Melbourne City FC vs Wellington Phoenix
KO: 4:00pm AEDT, Sunday 3 November 2019
Venue: AAMI Park
Melbourne City will be without star striker Jamie Maclaren for the next month. Maclaren bagged a brace against Western United last weekend and has been Melbourne City’s sole scorer in the league this season.
City only have one other recognised centre forward in their squad – Moudi Najjar – who has only a handful of substitute appearances for the club. Lachlan Wales, who played up front for City in the derby, and Adrian Luna, who could play as a false-nine, seem to be the only other options available to Erick Mombaerts.
Ramy Najjarine comes back into the squad to face the Nix, while Harrison Delbridge misses out with a suspension.
Wellington Phoenix are yet to pick up a point from their opening three games of the season and will be desperate to take three points back to New Zealand. The Phoenix will be optimistic of suppressing City’s attack which is hindered by the absence of Maclaren.
Gary Hooper will be looking to bag his first A-League goal since joining the club and Ulises Davila will be eager to continue his impressive form after scoring two goals in his last two outings.
Liberato Cacace will one again miss the trip due to suspension.
Players to watch: Moudi Najjar (Melbourne City FC), Ulises Davila (Wellington Phoenix)
Score Prediction: Melbourne City FC 1-1 Wellington Phoenix
Perth Glory vs Central Coast Mariners
KO: 6:00pm AEDT, Sunday 3 November 2019
Venue: HBF Park
Amidst the speculation of Zlatan Ibrahimovic potentially joining Perth Glory, Tony Popovic will have to refocus his players onto Sunday’s encounter with the Central Coast Mariners.
Perth showed flair and exuberance going forward against Wellington, and deservedly picked up their first three points of the season. Diego Castro was back to his best as he played an instrumental role in Glory’s 2-1 win.
Bruno Fornaroli netted his first A-League goal since 2018, and the chemistry of attacking trio Fornaroli, Castro and Ikonomidis has been gaining momentum over the opening three rounds.
Central Coast Mariners return to action after their bye in round 3. With one draw and one loss on their 2019/20 record, the Mariners will be desperate to pick up their first three points on the road.
Midfielder Milan Duric has scored in both of the Mariners games so far this season, and provides Central Coast with attacking drive from midfield.
However, there are doubts whether the Mariners backline consisting of Gordon, Fox, Rowles and Clisby will be able to prevent a star-studded Glory attack from grabbing a hatful of goals.
John Roberts is unavailable (international duty), while Jacob Melling and Joshua Nisbet are in Central Coast’s extended squad.
Players to watch: Diego Castro (Perth Glory), Milan Duric (Central Coast Mariners)
Score Prediction: Perth Glory 3-1 Central Coast Mariners
BYE – Adelaide United