Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne City – 21st Jan 2024

I’m back blogging and the A-League is also back in action this weekend. We’ve got one of the most anticipated matches this weekend. We’re talking about the clash between Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City.

Both teams are in the top four of the table, but have different forms and expectations. The Mariners are the surprise leaders, having won seven of their 11 games so far. They have a solid defence and a balanced attack, led by the veteran Matt Simon. Melbourne City, on the other hand, are the reigning champions and have the best goal difference in the league. They have a star-studded squad, featuring Jamie Maclaren, Craig Noone and Andrew Nabbout. However, they have also been inconsistent and have lost three games already.

TLDR: Melbourne are sitting above the Mariners on the table but that doesn’t mean Central Coast won’t bring the fight. Melbourne has only one more win on the table than Central Coast so this game will be one to watch!

Why I think the Mariners will get up

This is a crucial A-League game on Saturday. The Mariners are currently fourth on the table, only six points behind City, and a win would put them closer to the top. Here’s why I think the Mariners will get up:

  • The Mariners have been in great form lately, winning four of their last five games. Who could forget the 4-0 thrashing of Western United last week.
  • The Mariners have a strong defence, led by captain Oliver Bozanic and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, who have kept six clean sheets this season.
  • The Mariners feature a balanced attack in Matt Simon, Daniel De Silva and Alou Kuol. They’ve all put contributing goals and assists on the board.
  • The Mariners have the home advantage of playing at Industree Group Stadium, where they have won six of their eight games this season.
  • The Mariners have a psychological edge, having beaten City 3-2 in their previous encounter in January, thanks to a late goal by Kuol.

The Mariners have the guts to beat City and claim back a few positions on the ladder. They are a confident, cohesive and consistent team that can overcome any challenge. I predict a 2-1 win for the Mariners.

TLDR: Sydney FC are close favourites to win according to the bookies, but Brisbane Roar have a strong chance to pull off an upset with the home town advantage and attacking flair.

Why I think Sydney will win

Sydney FC are the reigning champion of the A-League and boast a strong record against Brisbane Roar. Having won four of their last five head-to-heads,  they feature a more balanced and experienced squad. There’s players like Adam Le Fondre, Milos Ninkovic and Rhyan Grant leading the way.

  • Sydney has a far better attack than Brisbane. They have scored 28 goals in 14 games, while Brisbane has only 16 goals in 13 games. Sydney also has more options upfront, with Le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses, Trent Buhagiar and Bobo all capable of finding the net.
  • Sydney has a stronger defence than Brisbane. They have only let in 11 goals in 14 games, while Brisbane has let in a whopping 18 goals in 13 games. Sydney also features a more solid backline, with Grant, Alex Wilkinson, Ben Warland and Joel King forming a reliable unit.
  • Sydney is brimming with more confidence and momentum at the moment than Brisbane. They’re on a six-game unbeaten run, while Brisbane has lost three of their last four games. Sydney also has a psychological edge over Brisbane, having beaten them 3-0 in their last encounter.

Sydney are in with a good chance to win the game with their superior attack, defence and form over Brisbane. Among that, they’re the favourites to lift the trophy again and I don’t see Brisbane stopping them any time soon.

Matt Simon

Who to watch: Matt Simon

Position: Forward

Jersey #: 19

The veteran captain of the Mariners is still going strong at 37 years old. He has scored six goals in 12 games this season, leading his team to fifth place in the table. He is a physical and passionate player who never gives up on any ball. He has a history of scoring against Melbourne City, including a brace in a 3-2 win last season. Watch out for his powerful headers and leadership skills on the pitch.

Why I think Melbourne City will get up

Like it or not, Melbourne City is the clear favourite to win the game against Central Coast. The team has been in excellent form this season, scoring 35 goals and conceding only 12 in 14 games. They have also won their last five matches, including a 4-0 thrashing of Western Sydney Wanderers. Here why I think Melbourne City could get up:

  • They have a strong attack led by Jamie Maclaren, who has scored a ton of goals and assisted four more. He is one of the league’s top scorers and a constant threat to any defence.
  • They have a solid defence anchored by Curtis Good and Nuno Reis, who have formed a reliable partnership at the back. They have kept seven clean sheets and allowed the fewest shots on target in the league.
  • They also have a balanced midfield that controls the tempo and creates chances. Aiden O’Neill, Connor Metcalfe and Florin Berenguer are all versatile players who can defend, pass and shoot.

Melbourne City might get up due to their quality, confidence and consistency. The Mariners have done well to be fourth on the table, but they have also been lucky with some results and have struggled against the top teams. I won’t be surprised if Melbourne City dominate the game and secure another three points.

Raphael Borges Rodrigues

Who to watch: Raphael Borges Rodrigues

Position: Midfielder

Jersey #: 8

The Brazilian youngster is one of the most exciting prospects in the A-League Men this season. He joined Melbourne City from Western Sydney Wanderers, where he made five appearances last season. He has already impressed in the FFA Cup, scoring a goal and providing an assist in the 3-1 win over South Melbourne. He is a versatile and creative player, who can play as a winger, an attacking midfielder or a second striker. He has excellent dribbling skills, vision and flair, and he can also deliver accurate crosses and set-pieces. He will be looking to cement his place in the starting line-up and help City defend their title.

What do the bookies say?

Both teams are in the top six of the standings and have shown incredible form lately. However, the bookies seem to favour Melbourne City, who have won their last four matches against the Mariners, including a 3-2 victory in February.

Bookmaker Central Coast Mariners Draw Melbourne City
Bet365 3.50 3.40 2.00
SportsBet 3.60 3.30 1.95
Ladbrokes 3.40 3.50 2.10
Betfair 3.55 3.45 2.05

As you can see, Melbourne City are the clear favourites across all bookmakers, with odds ranging from 1.95 to 2.10. Central Coast Mariners are the underdogs, with odds between 3.40 and 3.60. A draw is also a possible outcome, with odds around 3.40.

But, anything can happen in football. The Mariners have shown some impressive form this season and have the home advantage.

he Bottom Line

The Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne City are both in good form and have a chance to win the A-League title this season. The bookies favour Melbourne City, who have a stronger squad and more experience, but the Mariners have shown resilience and determination throughout the campaign. A draw is also a possible outcome, as both teams will be cautious not to lose ground in the race for the top spot.

Will the Mariners pull off another upset, or will City exact their revenge? We will find out on Saturday night.

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John Power
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