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Australian Football: Adelaide win puts the pressure on

Western Sydney Wanderers take on Central Coast Mariners in a huge game on Saturday, while there are also three other top games to look forward to in the A-League.

Matchday 19 got off to a cracking start on Friday night as Adelaide United pulled off an impressive 4-2 win over ladder-leaders Melbourne City at Coopers Stadium.

The win moves Adelaide up to second place on the ladder, six points behind City, who have played a game less. Now the pressure is on both the Wanderers and Mariners to respond and try and draw level with Adelaide, who will be hoping for a draw. It adds even more importance to what was already a huge game.

The ‘Big Blue’ between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory is back and is another massive game to entertain us on Saturday evening.

Elsewhere in the early kick-off Wellington Phoenix entertain the Newcastle Jets, while Western United are also at home against Perth Glory. It is all set up to be a cracking day of action so let’s take a closer look at each game.

What:Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Where:Sky Stadium
When:13:00 (AEST) Saturday 4th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Phoenix 1.95, Draw 3.75, Jets 3.80

Wellington Phoenix will be out to consolidate their place in the top six against a Newcastle side that are also hoping to play finals but currently sit seventh.

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Takeaways from Matchday 18

Sunday set for The Original Rivalry

The Phoenix are unbeaten in the last two games and drew with Central Coast Mariners last week, while the Jets suffered a big setback when losing 3-1 on home soil to Western United.

The home side will be boosted by the return of Kosta Barbarouses and Callan Elliot from injury and suspension respectively, but Clayton Lewis remains on the sidelines. Newcastle have no fresh injury or suspension issues but may decide to freshen things up after their unbeaten streak ended last week.

What:Western Sydney Wanderers v Central Coast Mariners 
Where:CommBank Stadium
When:17:00 (AEST) Saturday 4th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Wanderers 2.15, Draw 3.75, Mariners 3.20

This game is massive for both sides as the race to finish in second spot hots up. A win for either would also close the gap on Melbourne City to six points.

So there is a lot more than just local rivalry at stake at CommBank Stadium. Central Coast are unbeaten in three games, but have drawn two, and it is three points that are the order of the day not one. Western Sydney are unbeaten in two and should be on a high after thumping Macarthur 4-0 last week.

Wanderers are boosted as both Adama Traore and Yeni Ngbakoto return from suspension, but the Mariners lose two players following recent red cards. Brian Kaltak and Moresche will be missing for the visitors. It has all the makings of a high-scoring game and over 2.5 goals can be backed at 1.66.

What:Western United v Perth Glory
Where:Mars Stadium
When:17:00 (AEST) Saturday 4th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:United 2.25, Draw 3.40, Glory 3.25

This game sees 11th take on 10th with both sides desperate for the points to avoid the wooden spoon. Western have had a season to forget after winning the Grand Final in 2021/22 but they should take confidence from last week’s 3-1 win at Newcastle.

Glory looked like top-six candidates after recovering from a poor start to the season but are on the slide again, have not won in five and are just one point above Western. Last week’s 2-1 loss at Brisbane Roar was a real hammer blow for the side from WA.

It does not look good for Glory on the injury front either as both Darryl Lachman and Ryan Williams are missing. However Western are boosted by the return of three key players – Steven Lustica, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and ace striker Aleksandar Prijovic.

What:Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory
Where:Allianz Stadium
When:19:45 (AEST) Saturday 4th March 2023
How to watch:Paramount+
Odds:Sydney 2.05, Draw 3.50, Victory 3.60

There is no love lost between these two sides and the action on the pitch is always intense to say the very least. Sydney looked to be on the up after three wins on the spin but just one point from the last two games has stopped them in their tracks. However they do remain in sixth spot.

Victory may be bottom but have picked up a draw with Adelaide United and a win over Melbourne City, so they may have turned a corner. Sydney’s dip in form coincides with the loss of star striker Adam Le Fondre to a hamstring injury and he will be missing again. Victory are boosted by the return of Rai Marchan from injury.

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