The emptyless stadium season continues in the Hyundai Australia A-League on Monday with two games on the schedule. First, the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City FC will tangle at the Newcastle International Sports Centre. A couple of hours later, the Perth Glory and Western United will get things going at nib Stadium. It’s obviously an unusual situation, but sports leagues are trying to make the best of it. The Australia A-League has done a solid job reorganizing the schedule to try and the brunt of their regular season in, along with holding the finals. It’s going to make for a bizarre finals without fans in attendance, but at least they’re going to provide something for fans back at home who are isolated from the world.
Australia isn’t seeing the exponential growth of COVID-19 like several countries in Europe, so they’re taking extra precautions and keeping sport playing in the country. That also includes the NRL and AFL, which we will be providing picks for throughout their seasons. Hopefully we can find some winners and build a bankroll up while waiting the pandemic out. While the future of the NHL and NBA season is in doubt, MLB should be able to salvage part of their season and hold the postseason in October.
Don’t expect to have access to stadiums initially, though. The Chinese Basketball Association is planning on re-starting soon in front of empty seats, so you have to think something similar with the North American leagues when the tide starts to shift as well. Dana White seems hellbent on getting UFC 249 in, whether that means going to another country to hold it, the UFC is going to do their best to find a way to fight regardless of the situation. As far as the A-League is concerned, there’s only five weeks remaining after these two games are completed on Monday. Round 25 will begin next Friday, with the conclusion of the regular season on April 26.
Melbourne City are coming off a superior effort over the Central Coast Mariners on Friday. It was a wild start to the game, with 3 goals in the first ten minutes. Central Coast got out to a quick lead with a Jordan Murray strike at 2’ minutes, though Melbourne City responded with goals from Jamie Maclaren and Markel Susaeta. Maclaren netted the hat-trick at the 74’ mark to put Melbourne City ahead by 2 goals.
That was ultimately the final score, with Melbourne City earning 3 huge points. They advanced to 12-4-6 with the win and likely won’t catch Sydney FC, but are giving them something to think about. Melbourne City will be seeking their fourth-straight win in Newcastle in this one. Meanwhile, Newcastle slipped to 5-6-10 in their most recent fixture against the Brisbane Roar. The offence has struggled often this season, and had nothing to show for their appearance in a 1-0 loss Friday. Head below for our free Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne City pick in the Australia A-League on March 23, 2020.
Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne City FC Betting Odds:
Newcastle Jets vs. Melbourne City FC Prediction:
Newcastle had their chances against Brisbane on Friday, though couldn’t finish or even put a ball on net. The Jets had 10 shots, all of which sailed wide and didn’t connect with the netminder or in the net. That’s good for a 0% shot percentage. Despite winning the possession battle by a significant margin, Newcastle failed to put a shot on net. Newcastle controlled the ball for 61% of the game and couldn’t do anything with it. Credit the Brisbane Roar defence for playing a sharp game and preventing Newcastle from finding too much room to operate, but at the end of the day, the Jets have to find a way to hit the net.
Scott McDonald made the most of his opportunity, as he struck at the 16’ minute mark, which held for a 1-0 win. This isn’t anything new for the Jets. They’ve struggled to consistently generate offence throughout the season. Newcastle has netted only 1.14 goals per match and scored 24 goals in the 2019-20 season. The Jets are tied for last in the league with only 24 goals scored.
As a comparison, Melbourne City and Sydney FC have both scored 41 goals on the season in a tie for 1st in the A-League. Having said that, the Jets have been effective at home in Newcastle defensively. They’ve allowed 1.50 goals per match, which is likely going to have to be their path to a win Monday. Depending on the offence is a lost cause.
There have been 3 or less total goals in nine out of the last ten fixtures for Newcastle. Five of those games resulted in only 2 goals a fixture. Melbourne City played in a high-scoring 4-2 contest on Friday, but after the first ten minutes which saw 3 goals, both defences settled in and the game progressed a little more normally.
In their most recent meeting, Melbourne City were winners by a score of 2-0. I’m expecting a better effort from Newcastle after a sloppy showing against Brisbane, but if they can’t hit the net, a familiar story for the Jets, it’s not going to matter on the scoresheet. This looks like a 2-0 or 1-1 final score, with a total of 3 giving us some insurance for a push.