Fuck Uni I’m going to do my A-League post. I am definitely no expert in the A-League, the Toon is my team but I’ll try my best. I just find it hard to get more excited about players like Kantarovski, Wheelhouse and Jesic over Taylor, Carroll and Barton. Sorry. If I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about, it may because I’m still learning about this League.
Sweet, well from my viewpoint this is going to be the best A-League season yet. Although the A-League has always been fairly unpredictable you could always rely on teams such as Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC to be in the top six come the end of the season. Not this year though, I believe that the format of the A-League allows any team to make a push for the finals and it’s going to be an exciting season.
Adelaide United had a shocker last season, though a solid Asian Champions League campaign softened the blow, until Aurelio Vidmar (one of the most exciting young Australian managers in the game) left for the Ollyroos. Van Dijk is a huge capture, and his goals could see them finish in the top-six. In his absence on the weekend youngsters Leckie and Ramsay impressed with their pace and enthusiasm which should also bode well for Adelaide. The victory against Melbourne Heart also came with 4 first team players out injured.
Brisbane Roar have lost three exciting talents in the off season (Zullo, Oar and Sarota) yet the loss of van Dijk is probably more significant. They’re tipped for a bottom-three finish, yet like the other written off teams they have made an impressive start to the season, including a win over Champions Sydney. Can’t really see them sustaining a worthy finals challenge however.
Central Coast Mariners fuck them. Graham Arnold is in charge now and he’s a prick. Wooden spoon, get fucked. New signing Patricio Perez is key, having played with the likes of Messi and Tevez in his youth. If he becomes a success Mariners might go ok. But it’s Graham Arnold…so no.
Gold Coast United still seem to lack the depth required to challenge for a finals spot. They have a solid starting 11 with Culina and Porter creating attacking threat alongside Shane Smeltz who pulled out of a move to China. They could make a finals challenge however a finishing spot around 7th is more likely. Their poor crowds mean they don’t deserve any better as well.
Melbourne Heart are the new franchise and have recruited very well, in terms of playing and management staff, yet they lack depth and still need time to get to know their best formation and playing style. One thing for sure is that they will play (or attempt to play) attacking, fluid football, which can only be a good thing for the A-League. We finally saw Wormy do something of note on the weekend. Whether they can get it together and make the top-six or even a top-two finish is unpredictable.
Melbourne Victory, one of the A-League’s power horses is set for a disappointing season in my eyes. With Archie Thompson out of action until November, the Victory could struggle with goals. It also remains to be seen whether Muscat can once again produce a solid season as he continues to defy his increasing age. Hernandez also needs to find consistency and chip in with his fair share of goals. A lot rests on the recent signing of Brazilian striker Ricardinho. If he can produce the form his background suggests is possible then Victory may make top-four, though it’s more likely they’ll end 5th or 6th.
Newcastle Jets are in for a brilliant season. I’m not bias, I think they have a very good, strong squad and have Australia’s best manager in charge. They play fluid football, which is all I want. I’ll take that any day. The key is for Bridges to stay fit, while Jesic hopefully does the same and has a breakthrough season. Meanwhile the partnership of Topor-Stanley and Milicevic is key in order to shore up a defence that at times was a joke in the A-League. Combined with the emerging talents of Kantarovski and Abbas and the Jets should push the top-four in my opinion. The performances of Chinese striker Zhang Shuo will be a major turning point in the Jets’ season and don’t forget the Italian as well. He will have to fill Thompson’s boots, which is a massive loss.
North Queensland Fury had been tipped for the wooden spoon during pre-season, but they have put in some solid displays and currently sit a healthy second behind Perth. Frank Straka has turned up from Czech Rep. and had to form a whole new team from scratch as the Fury went close to bust. He seems to have formed a strong dressing room though, as draws against Perth and Melbourne (with 9-men) have earned them a great start to the season. Isaka Cernak has impressed as well and if he keeps performing the Fury could escape the early prediction of pundits. Whether their form lasts to make finals is questionable.
Perth Glory are the new team to follow. They have quality players, are the dormant A-League team with amazing following and a have a strong history from the NSL days. They have recruited Robbie Fowler who will combine with Mile Sterjovski to deliver the goals, while Jacob Burns will hope to dominate the midfield area. Expect a top-2 finish. Hopefully they can win it.
Sydney FC are still a strong force and will most likely challenge for the title, however they have lost key players such as Corica, Aloisi and Simon Colosimo. The additions of Nicky Carle and Liam Reddy should ease some of their problems but they are still in need of a target man, especially with Bridge and Brosque struggling with injury. They should be top-two, however it depends just as much on whether other teams can mount a serious run of form rather then Sydney’s dominance. A run in the Asian Champions League could also prove a distraction
Wellington Phoenix should look to push for a top-four finish after the euphoria surrounding New Zealand’s World Cup campaign. With New Zealand manager Ricky Herbert as well as 3 starters from the side, hopefully crowds will increase and the team will push on from their strong finish last season. Paul Ifill will again lead the line, and judging from his goal on the weekend, he’s going to produce the goods again this year. They need to create a fortress at Westpac Stadium and the signing of Jade North is also a massive coup. Danny Macallister will be looking to re-start his career after a move from the Mariners.
So this is my prediction, though not well informed. The unpredictability of the A-League could throw up numerous other endings.
1) Perth – hopefully they can do it, their fans deserve it and it would be nice to see Sydney fail
2)Melbourne Heart – I’m hoping they can play the football we know they want to play as well as grind out the results. A lack of depth but a quality starting 11 should see them through if they avoid serious injuries.
3)Wellington – With Ifill in the ranks and the ability to make their home stadium a fortress the Phoenix should ride the World Cup wave to the finals
4)Newcastle Jets – I want to say they’ll win it, but I’ll settle for 4th. That might be even be optimistic, though I think they have a strong team. With a brilliant manager and a team full of exciting players, if the goals follow the chances they should make finals
5)Sydney – probably don’t have enough to win it, though if other teams fail to find form they are the strongest looking team despite a poor start.
6)Adelaide – I’m being optimistic and putting Adelaide ahead of the Victory, van Dijk has the goals to push them through and I’ve been impressed with their early season form.
7)Melbourne Victory – Still have the class available to make a top-four challenge but I don’t see it happening. I think major change is needed at Victory though that said Ricardinho could light up the A-League and combined with Thompson returning in November they could yet make a challenge
8) Gold Coast – Still lacking the depth, while the long transfer saga surrounding Shane Smeltz could have hurt them. That said if Culina and Smeltz hit top form Gold Coast could perform well
9)North Queensland – Strong start though major change at the club in off-season should be too much. Surely a strong morale and tight dressing room can’t get them into the finals? Possible though..
10)Brisbane – Have started strongly but I can’t see it continuing. Losing van Dijk and their exciting young three talents is surely too much of a setback.
11)Central Coast – yea, piss off.
That is all.