Welcome to another season of A-League tips and predictions on The Roar.
Despite the rather jittery lead in and a 2020 that each and every one of us would probably prefer to forget, domestic football will be back on our screens this Monday night.
It will be a season like no other, with a decreased salary cap, reduced crowd capacities still likely and a brand new naming rights sponsor in the form of everyone’s favourite destination for a snag on Saturday mornings, Bunnings Warehouse.
Due to some persistent COVID-19 cases in New South Wales, just three matches will be played this week. The grand final replay has been postponed and Wellington Phoenix will have to bide its time before kicking a ball in anger next week.
The big spending Wanderers host new comers Macarthur FC next Wednesday in what should become a fiery derby in years to come.
Mark Rudan’s Western United begins its second campaign against Adelaide after a successful first season in the league.
On Tuesday, my favourite team to tip Brisbane Roar, face the powerful Melbourne City at Dolphin Stadium.
Good luck with your tips this week and be sure to enter them into the sheet below to have a say as the ever important voice of the crowd. Yours truly reigned supreme in 2019-20, eventually claiming the title by a solid margin.
I am confident of a repeat, always fearful of the voice of the crowd, yet not intimidated one iota by the three other members of the panel.
United, Brisbane, Macarthur
So near, yet so far for Western United last season. Home to arguably the most exciting talent in the league in Alessandro Diamanti, they nevertheless won the majority of their fixtures by stifling opponents out of the game.
That’s a tactic that might get found out this time around, but Geelong remains a difficult place to come and play and Adelaide head into this fixture with a few question marks hanging over their squad. I’m backing the home team.
Another club with plenty of question marks hanging over their heads is Brisbane Roar. They looked a much more free-flowing outfit under Warren Moon towards the back end of last season and in scheming veteran Scott McDonald, they’ve got one of the most underrated players in the league.
Their secret weapon, however, is Dolphin Stadium. Now that the northern end has been enclosed, expect the Roar to turn Redcliffe into a veritable home fortress.
Western Sydney Wanderers will make the finals this season, of that I’m fairly certain, while Macarthur FC are an unknown quantity heading into their first A-League game.
The Wanderers and their new manager Carl Robinson have made some astute signings over the off-season, not least experienced Scottish midfielder Graham Dorrans, but I’m expecting the visitors to be equally fired up in this one. I’m tipping Macarthur to nick all three points in a tight one.
United, City, Macarthur
Let’s not kid ourselves, tipping winners at the start of an A-League season is usually near impossible. However, this time it looks relatively simple.
Western United proved to everyone last season that they were a polished football team. They should be just as impressive this time around. The Reds will be sniffing around the fringes of the six early on but still start with a loss at GMHBA Stadium.
Let the romantic sonata continue between my thoughts on the Brisbane Roar and the hex I appear to have over them.
Much improved last season, Brisbane should contend once again, yet their opponents in the opening week will likely claim the championship in six months’ time. City to win by three clear goals.
The Wanderers will probably take a few months to gel, with some players still arriving as we speak so late was their signing, and the loss of Daniel Lopar in goal cannot be underestimated. Macarthur has recruited well, will be fired up and Ante Milicic should get the new club off to a fairy take start at Bankwest Stadium.
Draw, City, Western Sydney
I’m looking forward to the start of the new season. It’s a chance to recycle our old gags and put-downs from previous years.
Western United finished last season in style. Although their arrivals may not have matched their departures, Alessandro Diamante and Besart Berisha are still there and that’s all that matters.
Adelaide have a good mix of youth and experience and if coach Carl Veart can get them to fire they might challenge for silverware.
I’ll sit on the fence and go for the draw.
The Redcliffe Roar will want to prove a point at their new home ground but Melbourne City should have their measure. City by 2-1.
What happened to the once urbane coach of the Western Sydney Wanderers? By pinching Bernie Ibini, Carl Robinson has turned into the Beelzebub of Australian football, slowly roasting the soul of the Newcastle Jets over hot coals.
Not content with that he has stuck his claws into the flesh of Adelaide United, tearing out the still beating heart of their midfield in James Troisi.
Robinson’s approach to forming a team of hard-bitten misfits and tough hombres has brought the hate back. And that’s a good thing for the league.
The Wanderers have been too nice for too long.
Wanderers by two.
United, Brisbane, Draw
Western United will rely on their guile and cunning to pick off a sprightly Adelaide team.
It will be an even contest between two very different styles of play, but the superior goal power and some Diamante genius from the home team will see them through. All eyes will now be on this one thanks to the latest reschedule and the additional sense of occasion will guide Western United to a narrow but convincing victory.
Brisbane will prove to be a different proposition to the Wellington Phoenix that Melbourne City were due to play.
City will have a hangover from last season, the expectation on their team of stars will be too much and Roar will discover that playing at this home away from home venue is a massive advantage. A high scoring thriller to go Brisbane’s way.
An early affiliation between Bulls and Sydney FC fans will be formed, with the Sky Blues in W-League action in the double header beforehand.
With the extra support, and the cowbells ringing, Macarthur will come out firing.
They’ll go ahead, but the Wanderers will persist until they jag a late equaliser. A draw.
|Week 1||Mike||Stuart||Paul||Texi||The Crowd|
|WUN vs ADL||WUN||WUN||Draw||WUN||WUN|
|BRI vs MCY||BRI||MCY||MCY||BRI||?|
|WSW vs MAC||MAC||MAC||WSW||Draw||?|