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Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney FC
When: Saturday, April 24 – 17:00 AEST
Where: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, New South Wales, Australia
Weather: Sunny, 19°C
Referee: Chris Beath
History has taught us that Sydney FC are the stronger of the two sides, winning 13 out of the past 18 clashes with Mariners. That, however, doesn’t mean much after Mariners trashed Sydney 2-0 in Kogarah last time out.
Will Sydney FC find a response to that shock loss, or will they prove to be no match for Mariners, who have not lost a single match at home since February?
Regardless of what the answer to that question might be, the outcome of this clash will have a huge say in how the 2021 A-League premiership race will play out.
FC Sydney’s Slow Start of the Season
FC Sydney struggled to impress early into the season. The reigning champions managed only three wins in their opening eight matches – with two draws and three defeats to go along with it.
After that underwhelming stretch, Steve Corica’s men turned on their jets and lost only one of their last nine. That run includes four wins and four draws.
Across their last four, Sydney managed two wins against Melbourne Victory (3-0) and Perth Glory (1-0), and two back-to-back draws against Melbourne City (1-1) and Adelaide United (2-2) on Sunday.
Like Sydney, their best scorer Kosta Barbarouses struggled to impress early into the season. He has scored only three in his first 11 appearances this term but has netted three across the last four.
Although the team has improved, it’s hard to be overly excited about their performance against Adelaide. There they blew a 2-0 lead and dropped two crucial points that would get them one step closer to their third consecutive A-League title.
Mariners Counting on Home Ground Advantage
Central Coast Mariners won the reverse fixture against Sydney 2-0 and will be eager to repeat that success on Saturday. Although the Mariners received some help from Ben Warland, who scored an OG last time out, there were the better team that day.
Beating the back-to-back champions was not only a huge morale boost for Mariners, but it also left a strong message that they mean business.
Mariners have since that clash played 13 fixtures and have put together a 6-3-4 record, They’re currently second on 30 points with a 9-3-5 record, which should be good enough for a top-six finish this season.
Perhaps even more impressive is Mariners’ home record, where they haven’t been beaten in their last six. That run includes draws against Perth Glory (2-2), Melbourne Victory (1-1), and four wins against Melbourne City (3-2), Western United (3-2), Macarthur FC (2-0), and Adelaide United (2-1).
As seen in these results, Mariners aren’t too effective when it comes to protecting their goal. They’ve conceded at least once in 8/9 home fixtures this season and at least twice in 4/9.
On a more positive note, the Mariners have scored 15 goals at home in 2021. That is largely thanks to Alou Kuol and Matt Simon as the team’s best scorers with seven goals apiece.
Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney FC Betting Picks
Both Mariners and Sydney FC can play the best football in A-League on their day, so we wouldn’t take much from their iffy showings last round. So the question really is: which side will show up on Saturday?
Mariners have beaten Sydney FC before, so there is no doubt they can do it again. Especially at what should be a packed Central Coast Stadium, where Mariners’ chances to succeed will be much greater.
That said, we wouldn’t underestimate Sydney FC. That is largely because this team knows how to score (23 goals in 17 games), which could be a problem if Mariners don’t improve in the back.
Both teams have in-form strikers, so we should be in for an exciting night of football with plenty of goals on display. It’s unclear whether Mariners will manage to repeat their success from January, but we can be sure this will be a hotly contested match that won’t disappoint any goal-hungry soccer fan.
Prediction: Over 2.75 Goals