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Australian Football: Melbourne City closing in on silverware

Melbourne City could wrap up the A-League minor premiership this weekend with a victory over the Central Coast Mariners in Sydney.

City have been the dominant side again in the 2022/23 campaign and, despite a small wobble a few weeks ago, they are now close to wrapping up the first bit of silverware.

They sit seven points clear at the top of the ladder and with just three games of the regular season remaining, a win against the Mariners will get the job done.

A draw or defeat could even be enough depending on how Adelaide United in second place go on against Western United on Sunday.

Elsewhere, the race to make it into the top six is hotter than ever and two sides still in the mix, Newcastle Jets and Macarthur FC, clash in the opening game of the round on Friday evening.

The second game on Saturday sees Western Sydney Wanderers take on a Melbourne Victory side that must win to keep their slim top-six hopes alive.

Goals expected in must-win showdown

WhatNewcastle Jets v Macarthur FC
WhereMcDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
When19:45 (AEST), Friday 14th April
How to watchParamount+
OddsNewcastle Jets 1.83, Draw 4.00, Macarthur FC 3.75

The Newcastle Jets and Macarthur FC are two of the most out-of-form sides in the A-League at this moment, but somehow still find themselves in with a chance of making the top six.

Both teams are on 26 points, with Newcastle in ninth and Macarthur in 11th. They are three points behind Sydney FC in sixth, so this game is huge.

The winner will keep themselves in the mix, while the loser will see their finals hopes pretty much come to an end.

It is hard to pick a winner though as Newcastle have not won in five, Macarthur in four, so it probably has draw written all over it, a result that would help neither team.

Both teams have been involved in high-scoring games in recent weeks and over 2.5 goals in this match can be backed at 1.53.

Newcastle welcome back striker Beka Mikeltadze, but will be missing Jack Duncan and Archie Goodwin through illness and injury respectively.

Macarthur have no fresh injury or suspension issues and the addition of Bachana Arabuli is the only change to their squad.

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Goals on the cards in Sydney

WhatCentral Coast Mariners v Melbourne City
WhereCentral Coast Stadium, Gosford
When17:00 (AEST), Saturday 15th April
How to watchParamount+
OddsCentral Coast Mariners 2.90, Draw 3.60, Melbourne City 2.30

There is a big game at the top of the ladder to get the action on Saturday underway, when table-topping Melbourne City take on the third-placed Central Coast Mariners.

City will be determined to wrap up the minor premiership so they can start to focus on finals, while there is still plenty at stake for the home side.

Central Coast are still in with a chance of catching Adelaide United in second, which would make a huge difference when it comes to their finals campaign.

The Mariners are in decent form as well, winning their last two games against Brisbane Roar and Western United, scoring seven goals in the process.

City are starting to peak at the right time and are unbeaten in five, winning three of them. Again we could be in for a high-scoring affair, with over 2.5 goals available at 1.50.

The A-League’s two hottest strikers also go head-to-head in the game. Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren has bagged 20 goals this season, while Mariners ace Jason Cummings is on 16 for the season.

Maclaren can be backed at 1.66 to score anytime, Cummings is 2.10 and both players are sure to be a threat all game.

Victory simply have to win

WhatWestern Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory
WhereCommBank Stadium, Sydney
When19:45 (AEST), Saturday 15th April
How to watchParamount+
OddsWestern Sydney Wanderers 2.15, Draw 3.40, Melbourne Victory 3.40

Western Sydney Wanderers are assured of a place in the top six and, with the top two out of reach, their remaining games are all about peaking for finals.

They have won just once in the last four games, so they will be desperate to get on track, starting against Melbourne Victory on Saturday evening.

The visitors have to win to keep alive any faint hopes they have of making the top six.

They may be bottom of the ladder but are only four points off sixth. Surely nothing other than three wins will do if they are to leapfrog above six teams and play finals.

Wanderers are again without the suspended Marcelo, while Tony Popovic looks set to stick with the side who drew 0-0 with Perth Glory last week.

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