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Round 11 A-League preview panel

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 By Justin Chadwick

Preview of A-League Round 11 matches (all times AEDT):

FRIDAY, Dec 16

Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium 7.50pm

Head to head: Jets 10 Adelaide 14 drawn 11

Last clash: Round 1 2016-2017 - Jets 1 drew Adelaide 1 at McDonald Jones Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Jets $2.60 Adelaide $2.45 Draw $3.50

The Jets are seeking consecutive wins after a gutsy away victory in Perth last start - and Adelaide are ripe for the picking. The Reds, bottom with just one win, were hammered 4-0 by Brisbane last Sunday and their leaky defence compounds a struggling attack - they have scored just nine goals this season. If Newcastle can dim the influence of Adelaide's midfield linchpins Marcelo Carrusca and Isaias, who returns from suspension, they may find themselves in the top six come the final whistle.

Key: Can Adelaide frontman Sergi Guardiola find the net? The Spaniard's class is obvious but he appears unsettled by the overtly-physical attention he's copping from rivals.

Tip: Draw

SATURDAY, Dec 17

Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers at Mt Smart Stadium 5.35pm

Head to head: Phoenix 5 Western Sydney 5 drawn 2

Last clash: Round 27 2015-2016 - Western Sydney 2 bt Phoenix 0 at Westpac Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Phoenix $2.60 Western Sydney $2.50 Draw $3.50

Wellington have won a game more than Western Sydney yet sit two spots lower on the table, in part due to having played one less fixture. Ernie Merrick's resignation appeared to spur a mini Phoenix revival as the previously stagnating side beat Central Coast 3-0. The Wanderers were on the other end of the same scoreline against Melbourne Victory and need three points to kick-start a frustrating campaign and ensure they're not spat out of the top six. Kerem Bulut is back in the squad but with no guarantees coach Tony Popovic will keep him there.

Key: Whether Brendon Santalab has his eye in this week after missing a series of chances against Victory.

Tip: Draw

Melbourne City v Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park 7.50pm

Head to head: Melbourne City 7 Melbourne Victory 8 drawn 5

Last clash: Round 2 2016-2017 - Melbourne City 4 bt Melbourne Victory 1 at Etihad Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Melbourne City $2.15 Melbourne Victory $3.10 Draw $3.50

Simmering animosities, super talents and two teams in red-hot form: the third edition of the Melbourne derby this season already has the makings of yet another belter. In all matches City are unbeaten in five, Victory in four, but John van 't Schip must think he has the measure of their rivals after 4-1 and 2-0 defeats in the last two months. Will Tim Cahill start? Unlikely but City have enough attacking firepower without him. Kevin Muscat has a few options available to him in the front third as well, not least Besart Berisha, who will tie the all-time A-League scorer's list with a goal in the AAMI Park Christmas classic.

Key: Marco Rojas. The player of the month has been irrepressible this season and much could depend on how fit he is after missing last week with a hamstring issue.

Tip: Draw

Perth Glory v Sydney FC at nib Stadium 10.00pm

Head to head: Glory 8 Sydney 17 drawn 9

Last clash: Round 6 2016-2017 - Sydney 4 bt Glory 1 at Allianz Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Glory $3.25 Sydney $2.05 Draw $3.50

Glory players were booed off the pitch by their own fans during last week's shock 2-1 loss to Newcastle. It was by far Glory's worst display at home this season, and they can't afford to put in another dire effort against an unbeaten Sydney outfit that is brimming with confidence. The continual absence of playmaker Diego Castro has hurt Glory, but they've still got enough talent to turn their season around. The Sky Blues are cruising six points clear at the top of the table. The absence of suspended duo Josh Brillante and Matt Simon could test Sydney's depth this week, but they'll still fancy their chances of snaring all three points in Perth.

Key: Attacking firepower. Glory have leaked goals this season. Can they score enough at the other end to make up for their defensive frailties?

Tip: Sydney

SUNDAY, Dec 18

Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar at Central Coast Stadium 5.00pm

Head to head: Mariners 7 Brisbane 24 drawn 10

Last clash: Round 3 2016-2017 - Brisbane 1 bt Mariners 0 at Central Coast Stadium

Tab Sportsbet: Mariners $4.25 Brisbane $1.70 Draw $4.00

After four frustrating draws in a row, Brisbane roared back into form with a 4-0 shellacking of struggling Adelaide last week - a performance that should have the Mariners worried. The experienced Nick Montgomery and Jacques Faty return, but Michael Tavares is still sidelined, meaning Central Coast's young midfield brigade has a huge task on their hands to dull the influence of Roar import Thomas Kristensen, skipper Matt McKay and playmaker Dimi Petratos. Goalkeeper Michael Theo is back for Brisbane after a week off through injury.

Key: Faty needs to take command of his backline against a Roar side with an increasingly lethal counter-attacking game.

Tip: Brisbane

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