The Knee-jerk – Round 21

Western Sydney v Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory eased past a feebly lethargic Wanderers team on Friday, but the headlines were rightfully dominated by the performance of Fahid Ben Khalfallah. The Victory’s off-season recruit has had a superb debut season for Kevin Muscat’s team, and this was yet another explosive return from the Tunisian, who accumulated nineteen points. I noted last week that for all of Gui Finkler’s consistency and reliability, Victory have become less reliant on the Brazilian. He seems an inferior Fantasy option to Khalfallah’s explosive capability.

Although Khalfallah has only two more double-figure returns this season (four-two in favour of Khalfallah), at the moment it doesn’t look as if Finkler can replicate the kind of nineteen point haul that Khalfalah produced against the Wanderers. The hefty 85k price difference between the pair may be the deciding factor for Finkler owners considering a move.

Fantasy managers have been mulling over dumping an indifferent Besart Berisha for a few weeks, but those who kept the faith were duly rewarded for their patience. In a popular week for forwards, managers who still favour the popular Berisha – Janko – Krishna front three will be grinning from ear to ear with a combined fifty one points.

Although many, myself included, may have predicted the forward template to shift with Roy Krishna’s consecutive two-pointers, Berisha’s lack of form and the prospect of Andy Keogh returning to full height, it seems we are back to square one.

Match notes:

– Ben Khalfallah’s three assists and maximum bonus points highlighted his importance to Victory’s attack – and to the Fantasy game. He’s now third in the overall midfield standings.
– After a barren spell, Besart Berisha netted a brace, perhaps just in time to convince managers he’s worth keeping around. He has Adelaide away and the Mariners at home in his next two.
– Kosta Barbarouses missed this one with a hamstring injury. He and his owners will likely be coming down after the high of three double figure scores in a row.
– Can we finally draw the curtains on the Wanderers Fantasy season? I think so. They’ve run out of gas and with no signs of their horrendous schedule easing, there’s nothing appealing about any of their prospects anymore – not even with another double gameweek on the horizon. There are simply better options everywhere.


Melbourne City v Newcastle

Melbourne City bounced back into form after a terrible double gameweek, with man of the match Harry Novillo scoring his first goal for City. After showing flashes of quality against the Wanderers last week, Novillo produced a very impressive display. The forward is certainly not afraid to shoot – six came in this game after five against the Wanderers. With Joshua Kennedy dropping fast as a genuine option, Novillo is guaranteed to fly under the radar in the coming weeks and is valued at just $150k. He’s already made a far greater impact than what his price indicates.

City have made their home ground a bit of a fortress this season- losing just two, back in November, but unfortunately play just two of their last six at home. They need to eradicate the kind of frustrating performances as evidenced last week to have a hope of going anywhere for the remainder of the season.

In a similar fashion to the Wanderers, the Jets are running out of reasons we should continue to invest any attention into their evaporating Fantasy assets. The Novocastrians looked like they might be able to hold it together for a couple of weeks, but I think there’s a strong possibility of more 4-0 defeats to come (but not next week – they face the Wanderers). Managers with Ben Kennedy in their teams may want to switch to the conveniently priced Tando Velaphi.

Match notes:

– Aaron Mooy, Robert Koren, and Kew Jaliens all scored above ten points in their win against Newcastle. Obviously, of these three, Mooy is the only player worth having around.
– Joshua Kennedy, Damien Duff, David Williams, Mate Dugandzic – through either injury or past experiences, Melbourne City’s forwards are not helping out the team as much as they should. For this reason, Harry Novillo, who seems destined to carry goal scoring responsibility, is a good, cheap bet to continue his impressive start to Melbourne life.


Sydney v Brisbane

Sydney closed out the A-League round with a highly entertaining 5-4 win over Brisbane. Unsurprisingly, it was Marc Janko who grabbed the headlines with a hat trick.

As a result of Janko’s imperious form, which is constantly reiterated every week, Sydney’s Fantasy options are limited – as I have previously discussed. Alex Brosque played well on this occasion and scored twelve points but a transfer for him would be very unwise. The only other talking point from a Sydney FC perspective is their woeful defending – perhaps the idea of starting Alex Gersbach every week should be put to rest for now.

Although Brisbane will consider themselves unlucky for failing to get anything from a game in which they scored four goals, they will acknowledge how poorly they defended at times. Additionally, it is a concern for Brisbane that of their four goals scored, Thomas Broich was not involved in any of them in a Fantasy sense. Not great signs leading up to a double gameweek many are surely considering giving him the armband for.

Brisbane face the Phoenix and the Wanderers at home – a promising double gameweek on paper, yet no Roar players outside Broich have done enough this season to make a real case for heavy selection. For those chasing points, a punt on a Roar forward might reap rewards – if this is an avenue you want to take, Henrique or Solorzano are the options.

Match notes:

– Marc Janko scored in seven consecutive games – a new A-League record. This weekend Sydney are at home to Melbourne City – who’s to say he won’t extend his run to eight?
– The Roar have a got a double gameweek imminent – but there are no real stand out selections, especially on the captains front.
– After two goals in two, Brandon Borello was benched for this game, but came on and provided an assist. The young forward is making a habit of chipping in with points returns whenever he is called upon.


Other matches:

– Perth Glory continued their winless run, falling to an understrength Phoenix side, who now top the table. Roy Krishna did the trick for Wellington, his brace consigning any previous fears speculated by me about his playing time. The Nix now remain in Australia to face Brisbane, then play four of their last five at home. There is plenty to like about Wellington and their many Fantasy prospects, which will no doubt be discussed in great detail in the coming weeks.
Unfortunately, Perth’s form is bordering on crisis – considering how much they were leading the league beforehand. They certainly have forced a Fantasy crisis on managers who have kept the faith throughout – those with Nebojsa Marinkovic should probably look to move him on. Andy Keogh broke his drought against Victory but didn’t seem to have the revitalizing effect on the Irishman his owners would have hoped for. Finally, congratulations to those managers who forecasted a Ruben Zadkovich goal.

– Adelaide eventually found their way past a resilient Mariners outfit, with Marcelo Carrusca returning to the scoresheet. After losing his way during the Reds’ form slump, Carrusca has work to do to get back up amongst the top midfielder standings. Adelaide have the derby against Victory before travelling to Newcastle – ample opportunity for Carrusca to further build on this performance.
Incredibly, Fabio Ferreira couldn’t find a goal against his former employers, but has another chance to return a double figure score at home to Perth this weekend.

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