Australia’s A-League Starts This Friday

A-LeagueAustralia’s professional football league, the A-League, kicks off its new season this Friday 10th October 2014.

Entering into its 10th season, this one promises to be the best so far as the league, and its players, have developed to such a standard that it is now considered to be one of the best in Asia.

Established in 2004 following the demise of the previous semi-professional league, the NSL, the A-League features 10 teams – 9 from Australian and 1 from New Zealand.

Each season the 10 teams play for the title of A-League Premiers, won by the team that finishes at the top of the points ladder at the end of the home and away season, which is then followed by a finals series, with the eventual winner of those games being known as the A-League Champions.

Additional benefits for well performed teams include inclusion into the Asian Champions League competition.

In overall terms of the competition, it’s standard, and the players that play within it, most pundits agree that America’s Major League Soccer competition is a good comparison.

For punters, one of the attractions of the A-League is its location and timezone. Each round of its games are the first professional league games to occur in the world, with Sydney and Melbourne currently being +11.00 GMT.

Following we list each team with a brief description and prediction:

Adelaide United

Finished last season: 6th

Adelaide United will be looking to improve on last season’s 6th placing, and with former Barcelona FC youth coach Josep Gombau having another year to shape the team to his style, a top 4 placing is a possibility.

Predicted finish: 4th

Brisbane Roar

Finished last season: 1st

Reigning premier’s Brisbane Roar should again prove to be very competitive, but have lost a number of their first 11 to other sides inside and outside of Australia. Manager Mike Mulvey will need to get the best possible out of his squad this season if they are to challenge.

Predicted finish: 5th

Central Coast Mariners

Finished last season: 3rd

The Central Coast Mariners are always there or thereabouts, but this season could prove too much for their limited resources, and with manager Graham Arnold defecting to Sydney FC, they will likely slip down the ladder.

Predicted finish:7th

Melbourne City (formerly Melbourne Heart)

Finished last season: 10th

Melbourne City were acquired by the owners of EPL team Manchester City in the off-season, and a benefit of this is the arrival of Spanish International David Villa for a 10 game guest stint. Other acquisitions have been made, but the squad lack the depth to seriously challenge across the length of a season.

Predicted finish: 6th

Melbourne Victory

Finished last season: 4th

One of the biggest, if not the biggest club in the league, Melbourne Victory are ready to add to their trophy cabinet this season. Their already competitive squad has been strengthened even further in the off-season, and they go into this season as one of the title favourites.

Predicted finish: 1st

Newcastle Jets

Finished last season: 7th

It’s looking like more of the same this year for the Jets, with no major notable additions to the squad and last season’s league top scorer, Adam Taggart, moving to English Championship side Fullham. Not helping things either is the matter of the club currently being for sale.

Predicted finish: 9th

Perth Glory

Finished last season: 8th

Perth Glory were one of the powerhouses nearing the end of the former NSL, but they have never really adapted to life in the new A-League. A succession of managerial changes and occasional player unrest suggest not much will change for the Glory this season.

Predicted finish: 8th

Sydney FC

Finished last season: 5th

The undisputed bling club of the competition, Sydney have previously counted famous names such as Alessandro Del Piero, Dwight Yorke and Junino amongst their playing ranks. But perhaps their best piece of recruiting in a long time is newly arrived manager Graham Arnold, considered one of Australia’s best by many pundits.

Predicted finish: 3rd

Wellington Phoenix

Finished last season: 9th

The only New Zealand team in the competition, the Phoenix are always competitive at home but not so much on the road. With no significant signings being made in the off-season, the occasional high profile upset is the best that they can hope for.

Predicted finish: 10th

Western Sydney Wanderers

Finished last season: 2nd

The Wanderers have become one of Australia’s biggest clubs in their short history. Aided by a passionate fan base, manager Tony Popovic has worked wonders with his squad. Extremely consistent in their style of play, they will contest the Asian Champions League final in a few weeks time.

Predicted finish: 2nd

 

If you are interested in placing a wager on an A-League fixture, Bet365 will be covering every match of the upcoming season.