They had their fingers burnt in their chase of Lucas Neill, so can Melbourne Heart help their finals chances by gaining retribution against Sydney FC and the Australia captain?
|By PAUL GOUGH
Melbourne Heart are out to take revenge on Socceroos' captain Lucas Neill for snubbing the club in favour of Sydney FC when the two finals contenders clash in the stand-out game of Week 22 in the A-League on Sunday.
This game was already an important one given the Heart are in eighth place on the table with six rounds remaining, trailing the fifth-placed Sky Blues by just three points.
A win on Sunday would see John Aloisi's team jump above Sydney on the table on goal difference and the Heart are favourites to do just that at odds of $2.38 at Betfair and $2.35 at the TAB, with Sydney FC priced at $2.98 and $2.75 respectively.
The draw is paying $3.35 at the TAB and again better odds at $3.55 with Betfair.
But all eyes will be on Neill, who decided to join the Sky Blues for the rest of the season after being dumped by his United Arab Emirates club Al Wasl.
Melbourne Heart officials were confident the 34-year-old had agreed to play for them, before Neill then decided to sign with his hometown club.
Sydney FC's away from remains a worry, with the Sky Blues winless in their past five away games.
Meanwhile, the Heart have won their past four home games and will simply relish the thought of knocking off Sydney and Neill on Sunday.
|Western Sydney to win v Perth Glory at $1.51 at Betfair
||Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar to draw at $3.45 at Betfair|
The other big clash this weekend is top-placed Central Coast at home to Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
Victory dropped to third on the table following last Saturday home loss to Western Sydney, with the Wanderers moving past Melbourne into second spot and into $3.70 second-favourites to win the A-League title Betfair, behind the Mariners at $3.50.
Victory are at $3.85.
With star striker Victory striker Archie Thompson to miss again with a hamstring injury, the Mariners are warm favourites for this one at $1.75 at Betfair and $1.85 at the TAB.
The round begins on Friday with sixth-placed Newcastle hosting seventh-placed Brisbane, with a win for the Roar meaning they replace the Jets in the top six.
But with the Jets unbeaten in their past five games at home, they are the narrow $2.50 favourites at the TAB with Brisbane at $2.60, while both teams are equal favourites at Eskander's Betstar paying $2.60.
However both teams are better value at Betfair, where the Jets are the $2.68 favourites ahead of the Roar paying $2.74, with the draw good value at odds of $3.45 in what shapes as a great betting match.
Elsewhere, the in-form Wanderers should win at home at odds of $1.51 at Betfair against Perth at $7.60, while on Sunday, bottom-placed Wellington simply must win against out-of-form Adelaide to keep their slim finals hopes alive.
But with Adelaide losing four of their past five games and winless in their past six away games, the Phoenix look good value to win this one at odds of $2.40 at the TAB and $2.42 with Betfair.
The Reds are priced at $2.70 at the TAB, $3.10 at Eskander's Betstar and $3.15 with Betfair.
* Note prices subject to change