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A-League Round 17 preview panel

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/01/2017 Ben McKay

PREVIEW OF A-LEAGUE ROUND 17 MATCHES (all times AEDT):

THURSDAY, Jan 26

Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC at Etihad Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Victory 13 Sydney 9 drawn 17

Last clash: Round 5 2016-17 - Sydney 2 bt Victory 1 at Allianz Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Victory $2.35 Sydney $2.75 Draw $3.50

Back-to-back losses for Melbourne Victory have taken some of the fizz out of this contest, but it's still one against two and the match that most supporters of the league's foundation rivalry have circled for some time. More than 30,000 fans are expected at Etihad Stadium, and Kevin Muscat will hope the partisan crowd help his side do something no team has done this year: beat Sydney FC.

Key: Car Valeri. Victory's metronome man in the middle will be crucial in subduing the many threats of Sydney FC's attack.

Tip: Draw

FRIDAY, Jan 27

Newcastle v Melbourne City at C.ex Coffs International Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Jets 8 City 8 drawn 3

Last clash: Round 6 2016-17 - City 2 bt Jets 1 at AAMI Park

Tab Sportsbet: Jets $4.00 City $1.85 Draw $3.50

Is this the one to end Melbourne City's away-day hoodoo? City have one interstate win since December 2015 - a 1-0 defeat of Adelaide last March. It's a streak that has gone on far too long for a club with title ambitions and coach Michael Valkanis will be out to end it in Coffs Harbour. The Jets suffered a last-out loss to Western Sydney but are right in the finals mix after a mid-season goal surge.

Key: Bruno Fornaroli. The Uruguayan can look lost in City's new Tim Cahill-oriented system but is still the club's go-to man for goals.

Tip: Draw

SATURDAY, Jan 28

Central Coast v Perth at Central Coast Stadium 5.35pm

Head to Head: Mariners 19 Glory 10 drawn 7

Last clash: Round 8 2016-17 - Mariners 2 bt Glory 0 at Central Coast Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Mariners $3.50 Glory $1.95 Draw $3.75

Are the Glory back? A six-game winless run has turned into an unbeaten streak of five, with Kenny Lowe's side delighting in their defeat of Melbourne Victory on Saturday night. Andy Taggart has goals in his past four games and will once again be the man for the Mariners to look out for. Paul Okon will be without key front man Roy O'Donovan who has worn a one-match ban for his red card.

Key: Connor Pain. Without O'Donovan and possibly Fabio Ferreira, the ex-Victory man is a key goal threat.

Tip: Glory

Brisbane v Western Sydney at Suncorp Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Roar 6 Wanderers 7 drawn 4

Last clash: Round 12 2016-17 - Roar 1 drew Wanderers 1 at Suncorp Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Roar $2.15 Wanderers $3.25 Draw $3.40

Having finally won a home game this season, could Tony Popovic's side go on and win two in a row? They'll start underdogs against the Roar, who took three points home last weekend from New Zealand. But how Popovic must wish for a striker of Jamie Maclaren's quality - currently languishing on Brisbane's bench. At least young gun Lachlan Scott found the net last week against the Jets.

Key: Nicolas Martinez. The Argentine dazzles with the ball at feet but needs to hurt opposition teams more often.

Tip: Draw

SUNDAY, Jan 29

Adelaide United v Wellington at Coopers Stadium 5.00pm

Head to Head: Reds 15 Phoenix 8 drawn 7

Last clash: Round 13 2016-17 - Phoenix 0 drew Reds 0 at Westpac Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Reds $2.05 Phoenix $3.40 Draw $3.40

What a week for Wellington: wins over Central Coast and Victory boosted them off the foot of the table and into finals calculations. A loss to Brisbane ended their week on a sour note but the Nix will be delighted with six points that have kick-started their campaign. Another success against topsy-turvy United on Sunday and the boys from the Kiwi capital will be officially up and about.

Key: Roly Bonevacia. The playmaker has been a big part of the Nix form revival and the Reds would do well to subdue him.

Tip: Phoenix

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