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A-League: City look to bounce back against Sky Blues

Melbourne City will entertain Sydney FC in the big game on Saturday while Newcastle Jets will face Western United and Western Sydney Wanderers take on Macarthur.

Matchday 18 got underway on Friday night with second-placed Central Coast Mariners being held to a 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix. The Mariners looked set for a big three points until the Phoenix grabbed the equaliser four minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game.

It means that Melbourne City can extend their lead over them if they can pick up the win against a Sydney FC side who have found some top form. Western Sydney could also go level on points with Central Coast if they pick up the win over Macarthur so Mark Rudan’s men should be well fired up for that game.

Sandwiched in between Newcastle Jets will be out to keep their unbeaten run going with a victory over struggling Western. A win would boost the Jets chances of making finals while Western are desperately searching for three points to try and avoid the wooden spoon.

It looks like being a gripping day of action so let’s take a closer look at each game.

What:Melbourne City v Sydney FC
Where:AAMI Park
When:17:00 (AEST) Saturday 25th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Melbourne 1.75, Draw 4.00, Sydney 4.20

Melbourne City suffered just their second defeat of the season when losing the derby to Melbourne Victory last week and will be keen to bounce back.

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Takeaways Matchday 17

Plenty at stake for Reds and Wanderers

They still have a healthy lead and games in hand at the top of the ladder. However their pride will still have been dented and they will be out to bounce back in style. That can only be a bad thing for Sydney FC who will be looking to extend their recent revival and a four-match unbeaten streak.

Steve Corica’s men had won three on the spin before being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw with Brisbane last weekend. City have been handed a big boost as Curtis Good returns from injury but that has been offset by the news Scott Jamieson is out with a hamstring.

Sydney FC are boosted as Jack Rodwell makes his long-awaited return from injury, while Jaiden Kucharski is also back from injury. There should be goals in this one and over 2.5 in the game can be backed at 1.66.

What:Newcastle Jets v Western United
Where:McDonald Jones Stadium
When:17:00 (AEST) Saturday 25th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Jets 2.30, Draw 3.40, Western 3.10

The Jets are on a roll and if they carry on in such form they should book their place in the top six and play finals football at the end of the regular season.

They are unbeaten in six games and have won the last two over Melbourne Victory and Macarthur. They also crushed Brisbane Roar 4-0 recently so should be full of confidence going into the game.

Home soil will also be crucial as Western United do not travel well. Indeed John Aloisi’s side have won just one game away from home this season. United also concede way too many goals and over 2.5 goals in the game can be backed at 1.72.

The Jets have been handed a big boost with the news that Brandon O’Neill is back fit and available for selection but Reno Piscopo and Noah James are still missing.

Western welcome back Ben Garuccio from injury. However they will be without Josh Risdon and Sebastian Pasquali for the trip to the Hunter.

What:Western Sydney Wanderers v Macarthur
Where:CommBank Stadium
When:19:45 (AEST) Saturday 25th February 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Wanderers 1.75, Draw 3.80, Macarthur 4.50

The Wanderers were involved in an eight-goal thriller last weekend when fighting out a 4-4 draw with Adelaide United. Mark Rudan’s side scored two goals in stoppage time to rescue a point and the coach will be hoping that will give them the boost they need to kick on.

They have won just once in the last five games and their chances of finishing in the top two look slim. Indeed if things carry on they will soon be looking over their shoulder at the teams below.

Finishing in the top six is a must for the Wanderers and so is three points against a struggling Macarthur side on Saturday. The Bulls have won just one game out of six and suffered a 1-0 defeat against the Jets last week.

They are almost in the last-chance saloon as far as making the top six is concerned. Western’s chances of getting a result have been boosted by Tomislav Uskok returning from suspension while Daniel Arzani also comes back in. There are no fresh selection worries for Rudan who is likely to stick with the side that drew with Adelaide.

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