Two sides that have dipped in their form engage in a critical encounter at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, New South Wales, Australia. Tony Walmsley‘s Central Coast Mariners are 2-3-10 (nine points, 10th) and are staring at being eliminated from the A-League Finals Series. Meanwhile, Tony Popovic‘s Western Sydney Wanderers (7-6-2, 27 points, 2nd) are making a nasty habit of conceding late goals and will need to turn it around this weekend on the road.
All eyes will be on 37-year-old Spanish winger Luis Garcia and whether or not he will be able to save Central Coast from being eliminated from the postseason. The Mariners need to win out the rest of their games to stay in the hunt, but they will need some help from other sides, and fast.
“I am delighted to be joining a club like the Central Coast Mariners. This is an exciting challenge for me to play in the Hyundai A-League and with such a progressive club like the Mariners,” Garcia said. “I am really looking forward to being on the Coast, meeting my fellow players, meeting the fans and to entertain them with my style of play.
“One of the things that attracted me to the Club was the opportunity to share my experience with a young playing group. I am also looking forward to playing football in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”
“This is a huge opportunity for not only the Central Coast Mariners and the Central Coast region but also for football in Australia,” Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp said. “It continues our journey towards becoming the most entertaining, innovative and community minded sports brand in Australia.
“I also want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to Mike Charlesworth and Peter Storrie for their leadership and commitment to help take this Club to where we all want it go.”
Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 at 12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. AEDT. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for this weekend’s match between Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers.
- Luis Garcia will score for Central Coast Mariners.
- Andrew Redmayne will make at least four saves.
- Alistair Bray will make at least three saves.
- At least 35 fouls will be whistled.
- At least four cards will be issued.
- A goal will be scored in the last 15 minutes and stoppage time.
- Mark Bridge will score for Western Sydney Wanderers.
- Mitch Nichols will score for Western Sydney Wanderers.
- Dario Vidosic will score for Western Sydney Wanderers.
- Central Coast Stadium will be filled to at least half-capacity.
Luis Garcia arrived at Central Coast a few months too late. The Barcelona product will get ample playing time with the Mariners but he will not be able to save the club from being eliminated from A-League Finals Series contention. Western Sydney will snap out of their two-game winless streak and finish on top.
Western Sydney Wanderers 3, Central Coast Mariners 1