It might be an international window but there’s no break for the Hyundai A-League this weekend with Round 23 fixtures set to test Fantasy Managers’ squad depth.
A host of stars are away with their national teams and as a grueling season begins to take its toll in the injury department it might be time for managers to freshen up their starting XI.
Last weekend saw Wellington extend their lead at the summit at a rain sodden Suncorp Stadium and with a favourable run of games at home to end the season they’ll be hard to catch in the race for the Premiership.
At the other end of the table the Jets managed to leapfrog the Wanderers from the foot of the ladder with a morale boosting win, with the teams now level on points after Western Sydney’s mid-week exploits.
Two clashes in particular catch the eye heading into the weekend with all sides jostling for positions with just five rounds remaining.
City and Brisbane are set to lock horns in the all-important battle for sixth place, meanwhile the Sky Blues will look to keep their unbeaten away record intact against the league leaders.
THE SCOUT'S XI
OUT > Thomas Broich IN > Nebojsa Marinkovic
Roar’s reigning Johnny Warren medalist has been ruled out of this weekend’s must-win City clash through injury so makes way for Glory’s Serbian set-piece specialist who will fancy his chances of again getting on the scoresheet at home to the Wanderers.
OUT > Tarek Elrich IN > Osama Malik
The defender is a victim of his superb form this season which will see him miss Adelaide’s clash against the Jets due to Socceroos selection. With a host of other players from our squad also on international duty we’ve been forced to make a change with his Reds teammate Malik coming in.
Hyundai A-League Round 22 standout performances
Star Man – Nathan Burns ($404,000) The Phoenix frontman was superb in his side’s rain-effected win over the Roar. Burns beat five Brisbane defenders on his way to setting up teammate Michael McGlinchey and as so often has been the case this season was in the right spot at the right time to knock home Wellington’s winner.
Dud of the week – Ante Covic ($135,000) The Wanderers goalkeeper has been down on his lofty standards since being re-installed as the club’s No.1. Covic inexplicably came charging out of his box when his side conceded the opener against the Jets and was beaten at his near post for the second in a disappointing display.
Coach Killer – Marc Janko ($765,000) The Austrian had a fine opportunity to open the scoring and extend his amazing run of goals in the first-half against City. Janko was played in beautifully by teammate Alex Brosque and fashioned a one-on-one chance with the goal gaping but could only hit the near post, which proved a costly miss.
Value Pick – Tando Velaphi ($250,000) The Melbourne City custodian played his part in keeping Janko at bay and was busy throughout the contest against the Sky Blues. Velaphi was called upon to make a string of fine saves as City cemented their place in the top six on the back of the only cleansheet of the round.
Pick of the week – Gui Finkler (373,000) His teammates have stolen the headlines in recent weeks but the Brazilian reminded everyone what he’s capable of on the road against the Reds. Finkler played the final pass in both of Victory’s goals and looked lethal from set-piece duties to help his side move back to second in the league.