Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Australian A-League clash between Central Coast Mariners and Perth Glory, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The league leaders will go in search of a third consecutive league win in this game, while Perth Glory will be looking to bounce back from two straight defeats, most recently suffering a 3-0 thrashing away at Wellington Phoenix.
Central Coast Mariners come into this game with a six-point lead over second-placed Melbourne City, although they have played a game more than the side in pursuit of the top spot.
That could not be more different to their campaign last season, when Alen Stajcic‘s side finished bottom, having picked up just 18 points from 26 top-flight games.
Their position at the summit of the division is down to a strong combination of defence and attack, with no side netting more than their 20 goals, while only Sydney FC have shipped fewer than the 11 that The Yellow and Navy have conceded.
Before that recent victory, the Mariners travelled to take on Perth Glory, defeating Sunday’s opponents 2-1 thanks to another Simon goal alongside a Marco Urena finish.
Stajcic will be hoping to repeat that outcome here, as they take on the Glory for the second time in quick succession, and aim to stretch their lead at the top of the table to nine points with a win on Sunday.
However, the side from Perth will be desperate for a win of their own, having lost their last two games, seeing them drop to eighth spot.
Before that, Bruno Fornaroli‘s goal was not enough to salvage a point in the 2-1 defeat to Sunday’s opponents in Perth.
That defeat to Central Coast Mariners put an end to a run of three consecutive victories in the top flight, beating Melbourne City, Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar.
Richard Garcia‘s side will be looking to reignite that run of form in this game, in the hope of moving back towards the top end of the A-League table.
Central Coast Mariners Australian A-League form:
Perth Glory Australian A-League form:
Centre-back Lewis Miller could remain out for Central Coast Mariners, after he missed the win over Macarthur with an illness.
Midfielder Gianni Stensness could also remain out of action, having missed the last three games through injury.
Captain Matt Simon will be looking to extend his good run of form in front of goal, having found the net five times in his last six appearances.
Alou Kuol will be pushing for a starting spot on Sunday, with the 19-year-old registering six goals and two assists from 11 league games this season, with only four starts.
Perth Glory could remain without centre-back Mason Tatafu, who missed the last match with an ankle injury after playing the full game against Central Coast Mariners.
Richard Garcia could look to make changes to the side which was comfortably beaten by Wellington Phoenix, with the likes of Nicholas D’Agostino, Nick Sullivan and Carlo Armiento potentially returning to the starting lineup.
Central Coast Mariners possible starting lineup:
Birighitti; Nigro, Tongyik, Rowles, Clisby; Bouman, Bozanic, Nisbet, De Silva; Kuol, Simon
Perth Glory possible starting lineup:
Velaphi; Sullivan, Lachman, Aspropotamitis, Ingham; Wilson, Kilkenny; Castro, D’Agostino; Fornaroli, Armiento
We say: Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Perth Glory
With the way they have started this season, it is hard to look past another Central Coast Mariners victory here, with the hosts gunning for a third consecutive league win on Sunday.
While the side from Perth will be desperate for a much-needed win to change their fortunes, Stajcic’s side should have too much for them in this encounter.
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