All 12 clubs have now commenced their seasons, giving us all a glimpse of how each will fare in the upcoming 2020-21 A-League season.
Here’s a prediction of how each team will go in the upcoming season.
12th: Newcastle Jets
It was always going to be a matter of when not if the chaos happening behind closed doors at the club was going to lead to poor performances on the pitch. After their opening game it was obvious to see that the wheels are slowly falling off for the Jets, losing 1-0 to rivals and whipping boys from past seasons of the A-League, the Mariners. Key players and the manager Carl Robinson departed before the season opener, and now the current owners have had their A-League licenses stripped over financial mismanagement. It will be a tough slog for the club, which should see them finish bottom of the league.
11th: Central Coast Mariners
Going into the season it looked to be a certainty that the Mariners would finish lowly. Though for the moment things are looking up for the Gosford-based side, having won their two opening games against the Jets and Macarthur. However it seems inevitable their form will fade and be towards the bottom once again. However in this campaign the Mariners will be competitive in comparison to past seasons.
10th: Brisbane Roar
The Roar have started their season by losing to Melbourne City and winning against Melbourne Victory. Their early inconsistency foreshadows how they will fare for the rest of the season. The club will be fielding one of their weaker sides in recent memory due to the departures of nine players including key midfielder Aiden O’Neill and bright youngsters Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Mirza Muratovic. Expect the Roar to struggle for consistency in the upcoming season, resulting in a lowly finish.
9th: Adelaide United
United will be pleased that their horrid run of form towards the end of last year has not followed them into the new campaign. Hopes are high as the side went undefeated in their opening two clashes against Western United (0-0) and Melbourne City (2-0). However, like most clubs this season, United have fallen victim to the departures of key players. Both creative attacking and midfield options James Troisi, Kristian Opseth and Riley McGree have left, which will leave holes in the side that will eventually get exposed during the season. Former Socceroos international Tomi Juric has been brought across for firepower, but if he fails to find the back of the net, it will be a rough season.
8th: Perth Glory
Due to the current climate of COVID-19 in Australia resulting in border closures, the Glory won’t play their first game of the season until January 16. Commencing their season three weeks after opposition clubs begin to find their groove will prove to be difficult for the Glory as they find their feet collectively as a unit. Additionally the Glory will be fielding a weak side as a lot of players departed at the end of last season. Fortunately for the Glory they still have Bruno Fornaroli, Chris Ikonomidis and Diego Castro, who should give the side some fire power. But collectively the club doesn’t have the quality to make a run for the finals.
7th: Melbourne Victory
The Victory have looked to rebuild their side over the off-season and improve on a largely disappointing season last year. Since the appointment of Grant Brebner as manager last season, the Victory play an attacking style of football, which is at times exciting. But it ultimately will have them exposed on the counterattack, as shown in their 3-1 losing effort to the Roar. Older heads such as Callum McManaman, Jacob Butterfield, Rudy Gestede and Ryan Shotton will need to stand up and show the way if Victory are going to make a push for the top six.
6th: Wellington Phoenix
Coming off their best season in club history, the Phoenix should be making the finals once again this season. Despite the departures of standout players from last season Callum McCowatt, Gary Hooper, Liberato Cacace and Steven Taylor, the side will drop down a couple of rungs down the ladder this campaign. However, the side is brimming with young talent such as Alex Rufer, Mirza Muratovic and Reno Piscopo. David Ball and Ulises Davila should perform once again this season alongside new signing Tomer Hemed. All of this should place the side in the top six.
5th: Western Sydney Wanderers
This season will be the campaign in which the Wanderers finally get it together and make the finals, having unperformed in previous seasons. Under new manager Carl Robinson, the Wanderers have assembled a squad that is strong enough to make finals. Whereas most A-League clubs will be fielding a largely different first team from last season, the Wanderers have been able to keep the bulk of their team together from last season, which consists of quality players from last season such as Daniel Georgievski, Keanu Baccus and Nicolai Muller. Despite the departure of Mitchell Duke, the Wanderers have added Graham Dorrans and James Troisi to the squad to help fill the void and guide the side to the finals. Despite losing 1-0 against Macarthur in their opening game, the side still showed enough early glimpses that a finals appearance is on the horizon.
4th: Macarthur FC
The Bulls have built a strong squad for their inaugural A-League season. The team contains a good mixture of young talent such as Denis Genreau and Moudi Najjar and experienced heads such as Adam Federici and Mark Milligan. Additionally the Spanish duo of Beñat Etxebarria and Markel Susaeta should add class and flare to the squad and be difference makers in the side. In their opening two games the side have shown enough to suggest that they will be contender, having won 1-0 against the Wanderers and impressing in their second outing against the Mariners despite going down 2-0. Expect this side to make strides in their first A-League campaign.
3rd: Western United
United were brilliant in their first season, being the best Victorian team in the competition at times. The side were able to keep all of their stars from their first campaign such as Alessandro Diamanti, Besart Berisha and Connor Pain. Additions to the new squad such as Lachlan Wales and Victor Sanchez bolster the squad, as United will once again compete for the A-League title. Playing out a goalless draw with Adelaide in their opening game, United will only pick up from here until the end of the season.
2nd: Melbourne City
Having overtaken the Victory as the number one team in Melbourne last season, this season will bring about more misery for Victory fans, because City are going to do it again. The side boasts one of the strongest squads in the competition, with Jamie Maclaren going around again and the additions of Andrew Nabbout and Aiden O’Neill. City would be expected to compete with Sydney FC once again for the A-League title. Having won their opener against the Roar and losing their next game to Adelaide, City will build on their early form and make one of the top two spots on the ladder come season’s end.
1st: Sydney FC
It wasn’t going to be anyone else, was it? Still the best team in the A-League competition, Sydney FC should be once again the favourites for the A-League title as they look to make it a three-peat and win their fifth championship. Despite the loss of Adam Le Fondre, the side is still loaded with enough attacking talent such as Kosta Barbarouses, Trent Buhagiar and the returning Bobo, who was prolific in his first stint for the club. Having won their opening game against the Phoenix, expect Sydney to build on that form.