After a long, long break, the A-League will be kicking off again on October 10, so we thought we’d get in early with our predictions about how the upcoming season will pan out.
The slick-passing Brisbane Roar dominated 2013-14 virtually from go to whoa, but can they hold off the chasing pack this time around and make it four titles in five years?
The powerful Western Sydney Wanderers will have another year’s experience behind them, Sydney FC have lost Alessandro Del Piero but gained heavyweight coach Graham Arnold, and the renamed Melbourne City have flexed their financial muscle to build an imposing squad.
Giants Melbourne Victory and perennial over-achievers Central Coast Mariners will also be pressing for another tilt at the title, while Adelaide United showed signs last season that they can be fearsome when they click as a unit.
Here are some long-term predictions for the A-League season for 2014-15.
Champions: Melbourne City
Last season we saw that, Brisbane Roar aside, every team in the competition was closely matched. Just when certain sides looked down and out, the slightest of changes in personnel, manager or tactics resulted in a momentum swing and a surge up the ladder. With the numerous additions Melbourne City have made to their roster, they may have moved the goalposts just enough to give themselves an advantage over the rest of the competition. As we saw with their mother club, Manchester City, it doesn’t take long before an influx of funds bears significant results on the pitch, and in an egalitarian A-League, those results could come right away.
- Melbourne City: A squad packed with quality will see City surge ahead of the pack.
- Brisbane Roar: Expect Brisbane to be brilliant once more, but the loss of Besart Berisha will see them lose a little of their edge.
- Sydney FC: Graham Arnold will bring a winning mentality to the Sky Blues.
- Western Sydney Wanderers: Tony Popovic’s charges should be tough to beat again, but may get overtaken by a couple of other sides.
- Melbourne Victory: Berisha should settle in well, but Victory will again struggle for consistency under Kevin Muscat.
- Adelaide United: The entertaining Reds should hit the ground running, but could have trouble keeping up their intensity in the latter part of the season.
Wooden Spoon: Perth Glory
The boys from the West endured a tough campaign last time around, and this season will be no easier. They should concentrate on building for the future, and hope their fans maintain the faith.
Top Scorer: Henrique
The Roar signed Mensur Kurtišhi to replace Berisha, but Brazilian Henrique could be the one who uses the departure of the Albanian to really flourish. For the first time in a long time, Henrique is starting the campaign at full fitness, and his pre-season form has been sensational. This may be the year in which he really hits his peak and bags a truckload of goals.
Revelation: Mitchell Duke
He’s hardly an unknown, yet Mitchell Duke has so far failed to live up to his potential as a top shelf No.9. But 2014-15 could be the season where he reaches his maturity as a striker and starts to bang in the goals. He has all the attributes of a fine target man, so if he can get his tail up, there could be no stopping him.
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