Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix – A-League, January 31, 2021
Following a hugely successful – and somewhat unexpected – start to the 2020/21 A-League season, the Mariners find themselves sitting pretty at the top of the table.
At the other end of the standings, the Nix are struggling, having taken just a single point from their opening three games.
After assessing the betting odds, I share my Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix prediction and pick.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix Odds
The top online betting sites don’t seem to have taken recent form into consideration when pricing up this matchup.
Despite leading the way, the Mariners (3.05) are the outsiders. Wellington (2.10) heads into Sunday’s clash as the favorite, but the odds for the away win are notably high here.
Let’s take a closer look at the teams.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix Preview
After beating Newcastle Jets and Macarthur FC in their opening two games this term, it felt like normal service was resumed when the Mariners lost to Western Sydney Wanderers.
However, Alen Stajcic’s men stunned everyone by beating Sydney FC 2-0 last time out.
The Mariners finished rock bottom of the table last season, while the Sky Blues won the title. But two second-half goals saw the Yellow & Navy secure a famous win over the defending champions.
Not only have Stajcic’s men won three of their four games this season, but they have also kept three clean sheets in the process. Given that Central Coast conceded 55 goals in 26 matches last term, that is a remarkable turnaround.
At the other end of the pitch, 19-year-old Alou Kuol has netted two goals in three starts, while fellow youngsters Daniel De Silva and Jordan Smylie have also gotten on the scoresheet.
After registering their highest-ever A-League finish last season, Wellington has started the new campaign in a disappointing fashion.
Following defeats to Sydney FC and Newcastle, along with a draw against Macarthur, the New Zealanders only have one point to show for their efforts so far, leaving them at the bottom end of the standings.
Ufuk Talay’s men enjoyed 65% possession against the Jets last weekend, as well as recording 23 shots. By contrast, Newcastle only managed to register three attempts on target, yet Craig Deans’ side eventually won 2-1.
It goes without saying that Wellington must start turning their chances into goals. The Kiwis have created countless goalscoring opportunities this term, but they clearly lack a cutting edge in attack.
On a brighter note, Ulises Davila opened his account last time out. The Mexican was the Nix’s top scorer last season, so his side will be hoping that he can continue to add to his tally.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Wellington Phoenix Prediction and Pick
In all honesty, it is difficult to foresee the outcome of this matchup. We all know that Talay’s men are far better than their recent results suggest, while the Mariners are arguably overachieving at the moment.
With that in mind, I think the draw is the best bet for this game. Central Coast is understandably full of confidence right now, but I’m expecting Wellington to come away with a point on Sunday.