The A League is back for season no 11 and here is our run down on what to expect, we bring you a club by club run down in best Miss World fashion we review them in reverse order of chances of winning the league.
New coach former Fulham staffer Scott Miller has replaced Phil Stubbins, new owners are in and amongst other new signings we also have a new skipper in the form of Nigel Boogaard. New ideas and personnel can carry you only so far and fresh attackers Brazillian Leonardo Santiago and Serbian Milos Trifunovic will carry a heavy burden of expectation, the Jets season will reflect how well they carry that load.
Central Coast Mariners
Ex Cork City man Roy O’Donovan has come in from Indonesian football to lead the line for the Mariners. On the plus side for Mariners they have a solid experienced spine to the team with Liam Reddy in goal, Eddy Bosnar in defence, Nick Montgomery in the midfield and O’Donovan up front. How that ageing quartet handle the workload of the season will go a long way to deciding how they go this season.
The financial problems at Roar have led to them playing a game of cat and mouse all close season with demands for unpaid wages and debts only being paid at the last moment if at all. Into this unenvious task has stepped Aussie legend John Aloisi as coach. Star midfielder Luke Brattan may be signing for Man City if the rumours are correct so Spanish midfielder Corona will be a much needed replacement. Last season’s Perth Glory super sub Jamie McLaren is in to add goals so if the players can get paid on a regular enough basis to keep their minds on the pitch and off their bank balance it might not be too bad a season after all for the Queenslanders.
Financial scandal ruined last season and has led to a host of players departing, new strikers Spaniard Diego Costa and Dutchman Guyon Fernandez will soften the blow of losing Jamie McLaren and Andy Keogh. The best route to goal for Glory may be from set pieces which their English coach Kenny Lowe has them well drilled for.
Last season’s surprise package have lost their Talismanic striker Nathan Burns to the J League so will need to hope that Jeffery Sarpong can step into his shoes. Roly Bonevacia, Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey are all still at the club and will be looking to continue from where they left off last season, where they produced some of the most entertaining football in the competition.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Tony Popovic will be looking to make a far better fist of this season than last where the rigours of playing in the Asian Champions League proved to be their downfall in the domestic league. The squad has been largely overhauled so may need a little while to knit together, once they do learn each other’s names they will be fancied to be playing finals football at the seasons conclusion.
John Van’t Schip has a large squad to work with after a close season of decent quality arrivals at Melbournes junior club, he has experienced campaigners at practically every position to select from. Defensively they should be strong with Thomas Sorensen taking up duties between the sticks, Paddy Kisnorbo and Adrian Hughes in defence, sitting in front of them will be the combative part time Viking Erik Paartalu. Aaron Mooy will again be providing goals and attacking threat from midfield maybe the only question mark hanging over City will be can Mooys team mates score enough goals to push them on from pretenders to contenders?
Highly popular coach Josep Gombau has gone to be replaced by Guilermo Amor a man also steeped in Barca ways, if ever there was a case of the king is dead, long live the king this is it. The squad is settled with the notable exception of departed Nigel Boogaard so maybe the only question mark over them is how will they miss his leadership from the back?
Coach Graham Arnold will be burning with desire to go one better this season after coming off second best to Victory last time out. The main attacking threats from last year Marc Janko and Bernie Ibini have been replaced by Slovak Filip Holosko and Serbian Milos Ninkovic so if they are to win the title this year they will need them to settle quickly and fire consistently.
It is very difficult to look elsewhere when you look for the favourite team to claim the title this year. Victory won the grand finale at a canter after topping the league so will be very confident of retaining their crown. Mark Milligan has departed but other than that they look just as strong as last year for what it’s worth my communion money is going on this gang to be celebrating at the end of the season.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory
Central Coast Mariners v Perth Glory
Sydney FC v Melbourne City
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets