A-League Season 8 table predictions
Hands up those who are finding it difficult to do the impossible and place standings for A-League season 8?
With most if not all squads looking at playing pro-active football and some great signings beyond the three high-profile marquees, season 8 of the A-League is shaping as the most impossible one to date to predict the final standings after Round 27.
It’s so difficult that I am giving a range of positions that any team mentioned could finish, but by no means confident that those named outside the top-six will be there come end of the season.
Position 1 to 3
Melbourne Victory – The ‘Ange’ Factor, great signings and a decent pre-season behind them, Victory should make the top three. After refining his philosophy begun at the Roar and having the time to embed in preseason, Ange could go all the way but a cut-throat competition may still see Victory finish top-three.
Can Guilherme Finkler potentially outshine Thomas Broich?
Brisbane Roar – ‘Brand’ Roar with a virtually unchanged squad and back-office, Ange-assistant Rado Vidosic will tweak the Roar but by how much? Enough to keep the other improving A-League clubs at bay?
A winning squad has to count for something and Roar will finish high on the table again.
Central Coast Mariners – Another squad with minor changes from previous season. As the Roar have risen so have the Mariners kept pace for the most part but enough this season to overcome two Ange-influenced teams?
Replacing quality with quality and never easy to beat, the Mariners will be there again.
Position 4 to 6
Newcastle Jets – Season 7 and Season 8 Jets are chalk and cheese. Gary van Egmond’s philosophy was there for all to see last season but with the greatest influx of new players of any existing team all soaking up his ideas without question the Season 7 prediction of fourth should ring true Season 8.
Higher or lower depending on whether the team can deliver on the promise it has shown in pre-season, the Jets are a lot of fans dark horse team this time around.
Sydney FC – We should see a team of the swashbuckling, go-forward type that should have been the Sydney FC of the past couple of seasons. How Alessandro Del Piero fares will pale in comparison to how well his teammates will be on the same wavelength to take advantage of the football mind equivalent to a Chess Grand Master that Del Piero possesses.
Seeing the young talent let loose on rival clubs could see Sydney finish higher.
Wellington Phoenix – For a team that made the top-two for a short while in Season 7, adding goal scoring signings may see them challenge for higher table position for longer.
The ‘Nix will be in finals contention again but with aggressive teams taking their football on the road and hungry for full points at home, the ‘Nix will need to travel well to challenge higher.
Position 7 to 10
Perth Glory, Melbourne Heart, Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United – in no particular order, and by no means a dead certainty for missing out on finals action, these teams will need to be consistent against a constantly improving competition to gain finals contention.
Perth Glory, Adelaide United – Consistency will be key for these teams this season. Good starts with a good run home might get them over the line with an even middle-third season, that or other teams bombing on the run home to the Finals Series.
Western Sydney Wanderers, Melbourne Heart – the Wanderers might be the most likely to finish last given how shiny and new their setup is and the perceived quality of their squad ‘on paper’ but will challenge for top-six, particularly if a parochial crowd grows rapidly at home. The Heart have a very green coach and may not have replaced like-for-like in their squad but any continuation of their club playing philosophy from periods last season could see them go close to a top-six position.
That is my prediction. Tentative and probably very wrong come the end of the season. Cannot wait to see how the season pans out.
Nail your prediction to the comments wall if you dare.