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Round 10 A-League preview panel

AAP logoAAP 8/12/2016

Preview of A-League Round 10 matches (all times AEDT):

FRIDAY, Dec 9

Sydney FC v Melbourne City at ANZ Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Sydney 4 Melbourne City 6 drawn 8

Last clash: Round 22 2015-2016 - Melbourne City 3 bt Sydney 0 at AAMI Park

Tab Sportsbet: Sydney $2.10 Melbourne City $3.30 Draw $3.40

It doesn't get much bigger than this - the A-League's two best teams, at full strength, locking horns for the second time in two weeks. Melbourne City might have got the edge in last week's FFA Cup final, but this time the Sky Blues are at home and that could be crucial. Graham Arnold's men cruised to an easy win over Newcastle last week and will be ready to go again, while City fought out an epic 1-1 draw with Brisbane. If Sydney win, they will extend their lead on the ladder - if City win, the title race gets very interesting, very quickly.

Key: Bruno Fornaroli is in ripping form, and if Sydney are to have any chance, Alex Wilkinson and Matt Jurman need to keep him on a tight leash.

Tip: Sydney

SATURDAY, Dec 10

Wellington Phoenix v Central Coast Mariners at Waikato Stadium 5.35pm

Head to Head: Phoenix 9 Mariners 13 drawn 6

Last clash: Round 6 2016-2017 - Phoenix 2 bt Mariners 0 at GIO Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Phoenix $1.60 Mariners $5.50 Draw $3.75

How will Wellington respond to the shock resignation of Ernie Merrick? Now bottom of the league after last week's loss to Adelaide, the Phoenix are at a crossroads. But their next three games are winnable, presenting interim co-coaches Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham with the chance to get things back on track. While much better than last season, Central Coast are still a long way from the finished product, and will be without Mickael Tavares (ankle) and Jacques Faty (knee) this week. With Westpac Stadium being resurfaced, this one's being played in Hamilton.

Key: Mariners skipper Nick Montgomery returns from injury and with Tavares and Faty out, his leadership will be vital.

Tip: Phoenix

Western Sydney Wanderers v Melbourne Victory at ANZ Stadium 7.50pm

Head to Head: Western Sydney 4 Melbourne Victory 7 drawn 2

Last clash: Round 6 2016-2017 - Melbourne Victory 3 bt Western Sydney 0 at Etihad Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Western Sydney $2.50 Melbourne Victory $2.60 Draw $3.50

Both these teams have shown glimpses of brilliance this season but are yet to put it together against a top quality opponent. The Wanderers were impressive in their 4-1 win over the Mariners last week, but producing the goods against a rival like Victory is another matter. In a huge blow for Melbourne, the in-form Marco Rojas (hamstring) is out through injury, which could mean a maiden start for German import Max Beister. Western Sydney will have Andrew Redmayne back in goal, with Jerrad Tyson suspended after his red card last week.

Key: With Rojas sidelined, it'll be on James Troisi to provide the spark for Melbourne Victory in attack.

Tip: Western Sydney

Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets at nib Stadium 10pm

Head to Head: Glory 21 Jets 6 drawn 6

Last clash: Round 25 2015-2016 - Glory 2 bt Jets 1 at McDonald Jones Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Glory $1.70 Jets $4.50 Draw $3.75

The injury-plagued Newcastle Jets should get a few players back this week, but it's unlikely to be enough to shatter the A-League's strongest hoodoo. Andrew Nabbout, Daniel Mullen and skipper Nigel Boogaard are all back in the squad and in contention to play - but the Jets haven't won in Perth for 11 long years, and have suffered nine straight defeats to the Glory. Rhys Williams and Josh Risdon return from suspension and injury respectively for Perth.

Key: Andrew Nabbout has at times looked Newcastle's only threatening attacking player and his return is a welcome one for the Jets.

Tip: Glory

SUNDAY, Dec 11

Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United at Suncorp Stadium 5.00pm

Head to Head: Brisbane 14 Adelaide 14 drawn 9

Last clash: Round 6 2016-2017 - Adelaide 1 drew Brisbane 1 at Coopers Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Brisbane $2.00 Adelaide $3.50 Draw $3.50

Just like last season, Adelaide finally broke through for their first win in round nine. Will it lead to another march to the title? Only time will tell, but we'll at least get an insight at Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane Roar are coming off four consecutive draws and will be anxious to keep up with the likes of Sydney and Melbourne City, who are threatening to break away on the ladder. The subplot is Henrique's return to Brisbane. Roar fans loved him in an orange shirt. Will they still love him in a red one? And does he have more stunners in his locker like his two long-distance goals last week?

Key: With Isaias out suspended, the midfield becomes a key battleground for Adelaide and for the Spaniard's likely replacement, George Mells.

Tip: Brisbane

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