Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners – A-League, May 22, 2021
Despite being held to a draw by Wellington last weekend, Melbourne City became the first team to book their spot in the 2021 A-League Finals Series.
The Mariners will aim to move one step closer to securing a top-six finish when they face the soon-to-be A-League premiers at AAMI Park on Saturday, May 22.
After looking at the odds for Saturday’s showdown, I will share my Melbourne City vs. Central Coast Mariners prediction and betting pick.
Melbourne City vs. Mariners Odds
It’s been a while since Melbourne City headed into an A-League game as the underdog, hasn’t it?
As you would expect, all the top online sportsbooks view Patrick Kisnorbo’s side as the out-and-out favorite to claim all three points this weekend, leaving Central Coast as the clear outsider.
Of course, the Mariners are enjoying an excellent campaign of their own. But let’s face it – City has been on a completely different level to every other A-League team this season.
Melbourne City Team News and Analysis
Following four straight victories over Newcastle, Perth, Brisbane, and Adelaide, Melbourne City’s winning streak was finally brought to an end by Wellington last time out.
The hosts came from behind to lead 2-1 against the Nix, with Jamie Maclaren (who else?) scoring what appeared to be the winning goal. However, Tomer Hemed netted a late equalizer to prevent City from picking up all three points.
Still, Kisnorbo’s men extended their unbeaten streak to nine games last weekend.
The champions-elect are the A-League’s highest scorers by a considerable margin this season, thanks largely to the exploits of Maclaren. The prolific forward has bagged 25 goals in 22 outings this term, along with five assists.
If Kisnorbo’s men can avoid defeat on Saturday, they will edge closer to clinching their first-ever Premiers’ Plate.
Assessing Central Coast’s Recent Form
The Mariners won eight of their opening 11 games this year before enduring a run of just one victory in ten matches – recording six draws and three defeats during that period.
With multiple teams in the hunt for a top-six finish, Alen Stajcic’s men were looking over the shoulders. But thanks to a hard-fought victory over Newcastle last weekend, Central Coast will feel mightily relieved.
Saturday’s win against the Jets was by no means a glamorous display, but the Mariners did enough to get the job done. Matt Simon converted a 54th-minute penalty, while Mark Birighitti made several key saves.
Simon now has ten goals in 22 games this season, meaning he sits joint-third in the scoring charts. At the other end of the pitch, Birighitti has kept seven clean sheets.
It goes without saying that Central Coast’s top performers will need to be at their very best if they are to prevent City from winning this weekend.
My Melbourne City vs. Mariners Prediction
Melbourne City to Win1.42
Given that Stajcic’s men are enjoying a hugely promising season, I would love to make a case for the Mariners upsetting the odds against City – especially as the prices for the draw and the away win are so high.
Unfortunately, I just can’t see Kisnorobo’s men dropping more points on Saturday. They will be eager to return to winning ways after last weekend’s draw with Wellington, which doesn’t bode well for Central Coast.