The A-League is back in action with a set of important fixtures this week as Central Coast Mariners take on Western Sydney Wanderers in what is set to be a high-energy match at the Central Coast Stadium on Tuesday.
The two teams have had contrasting fortunes so far this season and will both be looking to add to their points tally as they head into round four of the A-League season.
Central Coast Mariners are the last remaining A-League team with a perfect record in 2020-21 and last year's wooden spooners will aim to put on a show once more against Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday.
After finishing bottom of the pile for three straight years, Alen Stajcic's side have come out blazing in the new campaign, securing a 1-0 win over rivals, the Newcastle Jets, before crashing the party of competition newcomers Macarthur FC, winning 2-0 in the Bulls' inaugural home game.
In fact, Central Coast Mariners are undefeated in their last five A-League matches - the last time they enjoyed a longer unbeaten run was a nine-match span from March to November 2013.
Central Coast sit second in the table, one point behind newcomers Macarthur, but with two games in hand. Should they take maximum points from those games, they will surely take a comfortable lead at the top of the table.
The Wanderers have claimed four points from their three matches this season, which has been a mixed start for the Sydney side.
Their only win arrived in a 2-1 triumph away from home to the Jets, where ex-Mariner Ziggy Gordon scored his first A-League goal following his departure from Gosford in the off-season.
Carl Robinson's team seek to build on their 1-1 draw in the Sydney derby against Harbour City rivals Sydney FC on Saturday and will also be looking to improve on their record against Central Coast, where they have lost only one of their last nine A-League matches.
The previous meeting between the two teams took place in July last year and ended in a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Both teams were below their best on that day, but we expect a much higher calibre performance in this matchup.
Central Coast Mariners Australian A-League form: WW
Western Sydney Wanderers Australian A-League form: LWD
Marco Urena has completed his quarantine period and will be available for selection in this game.
Otherwise, Central Coast Mariners have a fully-fit squad and will be confident ahead of this match, boosted by their first-choice marksman's return.
Robinson will be without Vedran Janjetovic, who is currently recuperating from a long-term injury and will be unavailable for this fixture.
Aside from Janjetovic, and much like his opposing manager Stajcic, Robinson will have a full squad to choose from.
Central Coast Mariners possible starting lineup:
Birighitti; Clisby, Rowles, Tongyik, Nigro; Nisbet, Stensness, Bozanic, Silvera; Simon, Urena
Western Sydney Wanderers possible starting lineup:
Margush; McGowan, Mourdoukoutas, Gordon; Georgievski, Dorrans, Baccus, Russell; Troisi, Ibini-Isei, Cox
We say: Central Coast Mariners 2-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Despite the Wanderers' strong record against Central Coast, we are backing the home side to make it three wins from three and should results go their way, climb to the top of the A-League.
Top betting tip
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