Wellington Phoenix vs. Western United – A-League, May 22, 2021
Wellington and Western United may be locked on 28 points on the A-League ladder, but there is absolutely no doubt about which team is happier at the moment.
The Nix welcome Western to Sky Stadium on Saturday, May 22, having strung together a seven-match unbeaten streak over the past month. On the flip side, Mark Rudan’s team heads to New Zealand on the back of four consecutive defeats.
Still, both sides remain in contention for a top-six finish, giving Saturday’s showdown an extra edge.
Before we get to my Wellington Phoenix vs. Western United prediction and betting pick, let’s take a look at the odds for the match and assess the teams’ recent form.
Wellington vs. Western United Odds
This matchup brings together two sides in contrasting form – and the bookmakers’ odds reflect that. All the leading online sportsbooks view Wellington as the favorite to win on Saturday, leaving Western as the underdog.
In fact, the price for the home win is pretty generous in my eyes, especially when you consider both teams’ recent results. But can Western spring a surprise and upset the A-League odds this weekend?
Let’s find out.
Will the Nix Go Eight Games Unbeaten?
Not many teams have been able to prevent Melbourne City from winning this season. However, in-form Wellington managed to hold the soon-to-be A-League premiers to a 2-2 draw last time out.
Tomer Hemed scored twice to earn his side a precious point at AAMI Park. The Israeli striker has now bagged seven goals and two assists in 17 appearances during his maiden campaign Down Under.
Granted, Wellington’s seven-match unbeaten streak comprises four draws. But Ufuk Talay’s men have faced some tough opponents in recent weeks. As well as beating Western, they have claimed victories over Perth and Adelaide – scoring eight goals across those three wins.
At the other end of the field, the Kiwis’ defensive efforts have improved, too. Having prevented Brisbane and Adelaide from scoring, they head into Saturday’s clash on the back of two clean sheets in three outings.
The Nix have already taken four points from a possible six against Western this season. If their recent form is anything to go by, they could easily take more points off Rudan’s side this weekend.
Can Western Avoid Five Straight Losses?
Not so long ago, a run of just two defeats in nine games saw Western shoot up the standings. But a lot has changed since then.
Following a goalless draw with Adelaide, Rudan’s men have suffered four successive defeats. They now find themselves all the way down in tenth place – three points outside the top six.
They have also conceded a whopping ten goals along the way, having suffered heavy losses to Western Sydney (5-0) and Perth (3-0).
Alessandro Diamanti may have contributed eight assists this season, but he has failed to register a single goal. It is also worth noting that Besart Berisha hasn’t found the back of the net in each of his last seven appearances.
With Western’s experienced duo underperforming, the team’s displays aren’t likely to improve anytime soon.
Wellington vs. Western United Betting Pick
At the end of the day, I just can’t see Western losing five games in a row. We all know that Rudan’s men have recorded a series of below-par results recently, but I’m confident they have what it takes to get out of trouble.
Having picked up seven draws, only one team has drawn more games than Wellington this year. The Nix have also drawn four of their previous seven matches, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the points are shared on Saturday.